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Hard rockers more silly than shocking but still entertaining at Midland show

In This Moment, led by charismatic vocalist Maria Brink, topped the bill at Wednesday’s show at Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland.
In This Moment, led by charismatic vocalist Maria Brink, topped the bill at Wednesday’s show at Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland.

Four hard rock bands that place a premium on their visual presentations mesmerized an audience of about 1,500 at a relentlessly ridiculous but consistently amusing concert at the Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland on Wednesday.

In This Moment, Motionless in White, Avatar and Gemini Syndrome relied on a combination of stage props and sex appeal during a thunderous spectacle that lasted more than four hours.

The lurid headlining act In This Moment is a shock-rock band in the tradition of Alice Cooper. The Los Angeles ensemble was founded 12 years ago by charismatic vocalist Maria Brink and guitarist Chris Howarth, a native of Topeka.

When they weren’t changing attire offstage, Brink and two writhing dancers acted out the outrageous lyrics to her band’s songs. The unveiling of each revealing costume was greeted with appreciative catcalls. Yet In This Moment’s appearance was more than a rock ’n’ roll burlesque show.

Prior to delivering “Whore” while wearing a dunce cap emblazoned with the composition’s title, Brink said that “this song is about rising above other people’s perceptions.” She feigned slashing her band mates with a cleaver while singing “Black Widow” and conducted a quasi-black mass ritual while flanked by crosses during the opening selection, “Blood.”

The sacrilege was silly rather than scary. Yet there was nothing funny about one prop briefly employed by Motionless in White. As the band from Pennsylvania played the grinding metal song “Devil’s Night,” a woman onstage briefly trained a realistic-looking semi-automatic gun on the audience.

The questionable stunt aside, Motionless in White’s powerful 40-minute outing indicated that the quintet deserves an audience beyond its core base of Warped Tour devotees. Prior to a rendition of “Dead as F---,” a campy glorification of necrophilia, the band allowed a fan to propose to his girlfriend on the stage. (She said yes.)

Hilarity rather than romance dominated the winning effort from farcical Swedish quintet Avatar. The lascivious tongue waggling of vocalist Johannes Eckerström and the band’s absurd wardrobes caused Avatar to resemble a budget-conscious, carnival-themed update of Kiss.

The Los Angeles melodic metal band Gemini Syndrome is the least theatrical of the four bands. Even so, the long white dreadlocks of vocalist Aaron Nordstrom formed an striking halo as he banged his head.

Nordstrom and the other musicians who performed on Wednesday successfully complied with the insolent formula described in the Motionless in White song “Loud”: “You gotta be loud, you gotta be rude so the world can hear you.”

In This Moment set list

Blood, Black Widow, River of Fire, Adrenalize, Burn, The Fighter, Big Bad Wolf, In Love With the Devil, Sick Like Me, In the Air Tonight. Whore

Motionless in White set list

America, Loud, Devil’s Night, Unstoppable, Death March, Dead As F---, Eternally Yours, Reincarnate