Reviews

Motionless In White Make Apollo X Tour Show Their Own

Concert Review: Apollo X Tour – Fox Theatre (Los Angeles) by Janie McManamon (West Coast Contributer)

POMONA, Calif. — Motionless in White made the Nov. 14 Apollo X Tour show their own.

Yes, the show’s title referred to The Devil Wears Prada’s recent album “Space EP.” But Motionless in White combined scenic effects, acting and fist-pumping music to create the best show possible for the audience, and probably themselves too.

The band had a Halloween theme with a backdrop of a large house ready for Halloween, pumpkin-shaped lights and a television set playing music videos. But the band brought more than props and music. Motionless in White managed to incorporate two actors, one woman who took on numerous roles to fit each song, and another donned in a black robe and a pumpkin head, who made a couple cameos throughout the set.

The band opened with “Death March,” the first song on their album “Reincarnate.” The sound of the sirens seemed to pull the crowd forward in a goth-industrial call to arms, as Chris Motionless, the band’s frontman, marched out, commanding the room with rhythmic fist pumps.

Actress Kylie Devyn waved a giant flag back and forth. She was essentially another member, her participation integral in each song. Where Devyn’s costumes were well thought out and elaborate, the “headless horseman” fell a bit short. If the band were hoping this character would appear cartoonish, then they were successful, but that iconic imagery almost took away from the haunting allure of the rest of the set. That being said, it still added an important component to the show – especially when Motionless pushed the character away from him at the conclusion of “Undead Ahead,” symbolizing his strength over this evil that even stole Devyn off the stage midway through the piece.

Motionless stopped the set for a moment to call attention to the fact everyone present was a part of Motionless in White’s “biggest California show ever.” The band asked everyone to appreciate the people around them. That fun fact meshed with the Halloween theme to set the celebratory mood. Keyboardist Josh “Balz” even got a little solo on his moving platform when he played the “Halloween” theme song, hooded in a billowing cloak.

Motionless in White’s commitment to a full-on show by adding theatrics and performances sets them apart from countless other bands who merely go on stage and play music. While that is what people generally pay for, you’ll get a lot more than that if you attend an MIW show – they’ll make sure of that. And they sure will not keep you waiting too long for their encore, either.

Prefacing Motionless in White was The Devil Wears Prada, who incorporated similar effects to produce a show themed around the idea of exploring space. The crowd’s energy swelled upon the band’s entrance, and people enjoyed jumping, singing along, and crowd-surfing to the band’s engaging energy and songs. There was even a backdrop displaying different space-related images, such as galaxies and spaceships, which allowed for a more fantastical experience, as if the band transported the audience from Pomona into a new dimension. They did well, interacting consistently with the audience during and between songs.

The Color Morale and The Word Alive were wonderful to watch. A special moment came when The Word Alive, during their song Lighthouse, brought attention to enjoying the moment together and singing each song as if it were the last in light of recent terrible events in Paris. The concert was not too long after so many were killed at the Bataclan while Eagles of Death Metal played, and it was nice to see the unity among the crowd during reflection about such a serious matter.

One opening band did not fit the bill, and that band was Upon a Burning Body. Fans still seemed to enjoy the show well enough even though the frontman spit on stage between every line and the entire band walked off stage for two minutes at a time between every song. Homophobic or racist implications aside, the band hailing from Texas seemed to promote a violent atmosphere starting with a blood-covered Texas flag as a backdrop. The blatant disregard for fans’ safety and well-being became astounding as they encourage surfing and moshing even though not all wanted to take part. That happened during “Sin City, which the band called “a little taste of Texas.”

Crowd surfing and moshing are expected at a metal show – but encouraging and cultivating an atmosphere of violence because “that’s metal” is problematic. It’s especially troubling when a band orders women in the room to “pick any guy” and get on his shoulders, and to follow that up with “don’t be afraid.” It is beyond ignorant of the staggering statistics of gender-based violence and even public assault. It made the room seem unsafe for women.

Upon a Burning Body also finished their set with a cover of “Turn Down for What,” something I’ve actually seen them do before when they opened for In This Moment in May. Six months later – they still did the same set, with the same outfits, and the same songs, and the same attitude, and the same command. Virtually nothing changed but the location and the overall lineup. This lack of creativity was disappointing. Don’t they have something they’re more proud of than a metal cover of “Turn Down for What?”

Motionless in White postponed their Beyond the Barricade UK-Ireland tour until next year in light of the terrorist attacks and out of concern for their fans’ safety. That’s an example of a band recognizing the people who support it in a positive way.

Janie McManamon is a transplanted Clevelander. She is a huge Cav’s and heavy metal fan and lucky for us our West Coast contributor.

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