In This Moment has come a long way in several aspects from its first San Antonio visit during the 2007 Ozzfest. The California band's sound is just one example. That sound has served to complement the grandest and most visible example of its growth -- a theatrical stage show -- that was on display May 24 at the third annual River City Rockfest at the AT&T Center.
Granted only 30 minutes at the festival headlined by Linkin Park, In This Moment solely focused on songs from latest album Black Widow and predecessor Blood, which is basically what the group did on its headline stop last December at 210 Kapone's and last October's similar 30-minute performance at Slipknot's Knotfest in San Bernardino, California (coverage here). Vocalist Maria Brink, doubling as a sultry stage goddess accompanied by a pair of young, masked choreographed dancers, simply wanted to know one thing: "San Antonio, are you 'Sick Like Me?' "
The roars of affirmation and approval were easier to hear than the band was to see at times, given the overabundance of fog that was employed to enhance the stage experience but which merely served to be an annoyance. Even the dusty California desert didn't prove to be such a hindrance. After Brink changed from her black widow costume to a nurse's outfit for "Adrenalize," she appeared with a power shooter similar to those used at sporting events to shoot souvenirs into the crowd. In fact, one excited fan anticipated, "T-shirts?" Instead, it resulted in Brink shooting off more fog.
While In This Moment had the most elaborate stage show of River City Rockfest, it wouldn't mean much if the band didn't have the music to back it up. "Sex Metal Barbie," "Whore" and "Blood" did just that. Perhaps unbeknownst to those witnessing the group for the first time at the festival that eventually reached "more than 25,700," In This Moment has three other albums with several killer songs it eschews live due to another aspect of its growth: lineup changes that preceded the 2012 release of Blood. Guitarist Randy Weitzel and drummer Tom Hane joined the fray at that time, while bassist Travis Johnson climbed on board after the 2010 release of A Star-Crossed Wasteland, joining original members Brink and lead guitarist Chris Howorth.
But make no mistake, In This Moment is Brink's band.
While searching for that "distinctive sound," the Black Widow and her entourage of instrumentalists have found it with the two most recent albums, coinciding as the only records on which Johnson, Weitzel and Hane have appeared. All factors considered, In This Moment comes across as a totally different band than the one at Ozzfest or the one that opened for Five Finger Death Punch at the now-defunct Scout Bar in 2008 and returned to Scout Bar on its first headlining trek in December 2010. It is obviously different lineup wise. Sound and stage wise, it's become clear -- even through the haze -- that In This Moment plans to continue to evolve while putting its past, well, in the past.
On one hand, it would be a shame if the older material is never played live again. On the other, the endless possibilities for In This Moment create further excitable anticipation of its musical future. From the artist's standpoint, you couldn't ask for anything more than seeing your band grow and reaching a grander audience with every recorded effort. From the fans' viewpoint: buckle up and enjoy the ride. Just hope the band and its crew hold the fog.