In This Moment-Motionless In White Co-Headline Concert Review Pepsi Amphitheater Flagstaff AZ 07-29-23

Concert Review and Photos By Maxwell Williamson

 The idea of an outdoor concert in Arizona taking place in late July is usually not appealing, due to the extreme heat the state is so well known for. However, the Pepsi Amphitheater in Flagstaff, Arizona is nestled amidst the largest contiguous Ponderosa pine forest in the world at a cool 6,900 feet above sea level, and on this day would play host to The Dark Horizon Tour featuring co-headliners, In This Moment and Motionless In White . The only thing more noticeable than the mass of pine trees was the seemingly endless line of metal fans anxiously waiting for the doors to open up for this awesome event. As I trampled over fallen pine needles, I was equally excited to get inside and see the venue layout. Once inside I walked down the grassy hill towards the stage as most fans raced down to get to their desired viewing area. As I looked around the area, I was honestly questioning as to how this setting was fit for a metal show. A sold out capacity of 3,000, in an entirely General Admission venue this night was gonna get crazy!  Consisting of a small open pit area in front of the stage, then a very small section of seats one step above the pit, followed by  a decent sized lawn area where fans set up lawn chairs and blankets. I couldn’t help but wonder how this was going to work when the mosh pit erupted.

From Ashes To New:

       As show time approached, a sudden cheer could be heard from the fans, I looked around confused, trying to see what all the fuss was about. The normal pre-show playlist suddenly switched over to a 90’s hit smash by none other than the Backstreet Boys. Right about that time I realized members of the opening act, From Ashes To New, could be seen walking down a path backstage as the show was about to kick off!  The 5 band members made their way onto the stage to a loud roar of cheering fans with the band blasting right into their opening track “Nightmare”! The dual vocalists of founding member Matt Brandyberry (Rap and Clean Vocals) and Danny Case (Lead Vocals) engaged in a diverse vocal duel with a notable and interesting mix of hip hop and metalcore. My first impression was, that their vibe had a bit of Linkin Park to it, and that’s a serious compliment in itself! The band played a heartfelt 7 song set featuring songs from 4 different albums, with their latest release Blackout most represented, which coincidentally just dropped the previous night. In between songs they gave some small motivational pep talks to encourage the fans to pursue their dreams and never give up, as well as advocating mental health awareness. From Ashes To New kicked off the show with an electric set that concluded with a fan favorite track,  “Through It All”.

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From Ashes To New Photo Gallery

Fit For A King:

 Next on the bill was metalcore heavy hitters Fit For A King, out of Austin, Texas.  They opened up with their track “Eyes Rolled Back” off their latest album The Hell We Create, released via Solid State Records. Fans of the band were likely quick to notice the usual 5 member ensemble was performing as a 4 piece this evening. Guitarist and backup vocalist Bobby Lynge was absent from the stage.  Although I’m sure his presence was missed it certainly wasn’t all that noticeable as the 4 performing members sounded spectacular. Led by one of the more prominent front-men in metalcore today, Ryan Kirby, the band roared through a 7 song set that was filled with plenty of ground shaking breakdowns and melodic choruses that stick in your head.  Bassist Ryan O’ Leary packed a TON of energy and definitely occupied my attention with his energetic stage presence and very showy bass flips; which is no easy trick! O’ Leary was all over the stage throughout their set and for their last song, he went out into the audience to get up close with the fans. Both O’Leary and guitarist Daniel Galley propped themselves up on the guardrail while playing “God Of Fire” during which O’Leary leaped into the crowd and did a little crowd surfing mid song! All in all, a great performance both visually and musically. I would love to see them on a headline gig in the future.

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Fit For A King Photo Gallery

        Motionless In White:

With the sunset now behind us, a blanket of darkness was covering the venue that erased the view of the surrounding pine trees, blending everything into a veil of darkness. The roadcrew for Motionless In White began getting the stage set behind a large white curtain that was blocking the crowd’s view of the stage which further escalated the anticipation for this band. This Arizona crowd was especially anxious for the arrival of Motionless In White, considering that the band had to pull out of their scheduled Tucson, Arizona appearance last December and hadn’t graced an Arizona stage in fifteen months. Tonight would surely make up for that and these fans were ready for this band to fire up! When the lights went out, the large white curtain brightly illuminated silhouettes of each member as they took the stage, which always looks cool. Vocalist Chris Motionless greeted the crowd by imparting, “This is Scoring The End Of The World” with the band immediately launching into the title track of their latest LP; This is Scoring The End Of The World. One very noticeable mishap that caused a bit of confusion and put a temporary damper on the excitement was when the white curtain shielding the stage failed to drop! The band continued to play while C. Motionless went to the side of the stage and peeking around the curtain he waved out at the crowd, who acknowledged him with an ear piercing ovation. About this time a crew member rushed down and forcefully removed the curtain revealing the band, just in time for C. Motionless to jump into the first verse! A very intensely bright stage with all white equipment bearing Cyberhex and a flashy drum riser embroidered with a large MIW, set the stage as the band executed a flawless set with heavy crowd participation. Echoing through the venue were Guitarists Ricky Horror and Ryan Sitkowski wreaking havoc on the Arizona crowd with their brand of gothic power metal with bassist Justin Morrow drummer Vinny Mauro driving the crowd into a frenzy. Midway through the set, C. Motionless asked the audience… Where are my Arizona metalheads? Motionless was of course met with a resounding roar! CM then followed up with….Do you want to hear a heavier song right now? For this next one, when I scream…”One Mutilation” you scream back…”Under God” After a trial run of the call and answer, the band fired into what was arguably the heaviest song of the night, “Slaughterhouse“, that set the manic crowd on fire. Ryan Kirby of Fit For A King would re-emerge on the stage and join Chris Motionless for the brutally powerful breakdown. The band gave the Flagstaff audience a twelve song set full of fan favorites that was culled from four LPs of the six album catalogue, with five songs from the latest release, “Scoring The End Of The World” which was released on June 10, 2022. For the closing song of their set, they ended with the appropriately titled, “Eternally Yours” that Chris dedicated to the Arizona fans by reassuring and sharing with the crowd that since they are approaching twenty years of Motionless In White; “we are eternally grateful!” As they played through their final song of the night, several ladies in the audience were given a single Red Rose from Chris.

Chris Motionless

They will be returning to Mesa, Arizona for a headline show on Sep 27, 202! I highly recommend attending this show if you’re for your chance to catch a headline show by one of the greatest acts in metal!

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Motionless In White Photo Gallery:


In This Moment:

Closing out this night of great live music would be the ever so theatrical, In This Moment! led by vocalist Maria Brink.  Unfortunately, In This Moment had all the photographers removed from the photo pit, right as they took the stage. This resulted in the need to scramble out and find a viewing area amidst a jam packed crowd. I finally found a decent spot atop the grass area by the time they made their way into their second song. Maria stood high above the stage at the top of a staircase surrounded by a group of gothic dancers. In This Moment has a very dark gothic choreography driven performance, which is a staple to the band and a standout attribute to their hardcore fan-base. Creating a dark twisted Halloween atmosphere, the costume-ridden band members lay down the powerful musical tracks, while Maria mesmorizes the audience as she slithers across the stage with her dancers through various routines all the while belting out powerful vocals through her wireless mic setup; a feat few could pull off as well as she does! In This Moment incorporates a handful of lucky fans into their performance. During their hit song “Adrenalize” a group of fans wearing dark black robes appear with them on stage, lining up along the backside of the stage against a small eerie wrought iron fence. A scene reminiscent of a movie set from your favorite horror movie. Although their set list seemed a bit short for a closing band, they played through a seven song set that the fans seemed to thoroughly enjoy. As short as the set was, an ITM set would not be complete without their classic trademark song “Whore.” Maria took her position at the top of the stairs perched high atop the stage and addressed the audience with remarks reminiscent of how she was treated by her father – the intro to a song written about taking back control – rising above and finding the power within yourself – she performs this tribute in her famous dunce hat labeled “Whore”. Maria finished out the night by thanking all the fans and opening bands, particularly the guys in Motionless In White, sharing with the audience that they’ve toured with MIW more than any other band over their career – going all the way back to their days of playing in small clubs…impressive indeed! 

 Overall, it was a fantastic night of live metal music. Each band had the crowd completely engaged, energized, waving their arms and singing along all night long! The venue had great acoustics and I definitely will return there for more shows in the future.  Considering that Motionless In White’s set was one hour of some seriously rockin’ metal, I believe that they definitely stole the show; not to take anything away from the other great bands but MIW really rocked it!. The overall consensus of the crowd was, this was a fun filled entertaining show for everyone and a great night of music under the Arizona sky!

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In This Moment Photo Gallery: