Blood at the Orpheum

Taken at their Majestic show by the band...

Taken at their Majestic show by the band…

So this past week I won tickets to the world premiere viewing of Blood at the Orpheum, the first ever In This Moment concert DVD. It was filmed here in Madison at the Orpheum Theater this past May. I took my son to see the concert, and with Nonpoint opening for them it was one of the better shows to go to that year. Like a mini-Band Camp almost. So we were there for the filming.

My wife didn’t think she could take the day off to get there in time, my son was working, and I had the day off of work for the holiday. So what’s a zombie to do? He took his “retired” sister to the remote in the theater’s lounge and the movie. I say “retired” as a bit of an inside joke. Though she is four years older than me, she has recently left work (with a severance package), so had some time on her hands.

The first thing she did is look up who In This Moment was. Technically its the first thing my brother-in-law did. He then asked when I started listening to metal. I told her she could relay to him, 11 or 12 years old. About the same time I started listening to punk rock. Seriously, he’s around the same age as me. How do you grow up in the 70’s and 80’s and NOT listen to metal, punk and the like? At least some of the time…

So she had never heard any of their music. I get the feeling she doesn’t listen to WJJO like I do. And of course the first video she watches from them is their latest, Whore. I explained the idea behind the song to her on the way to Point Cinema (on the other side of town).

During the remote, the station was giving away copies of the DVD, signed posters from the band and a tattoo of the band’s logo from Ultimate Arts Tattoos. All really solid swag. My sister gets her name drawn and wins a signed poster, which was pretty awesome. She was asking me what to do with it. I told her she needed to start a rock wall in her house. I told her that I do have a signed Halloween photo from Maria Brinks, but I have yet to figure out where my full on rock wall is going to go.

I do have a Wayland Warrior Wall, but that’s because I have the signed guitar from their (and my) first year at Band Camp. So that meant setting something up. And gave me the clout to set it up in our living room too. You have to start somewhere. Don’t even get me started on adding quotes to the feature walls in our house. 😉

There was also much discussion on dragging their asses out to the next Wayland show. My brother-in-law is turning into a grumpy old man before his time. Thus I feel it is my responsibility to my family to get him good currently published science fiction to read, music from currently touring bands, and plenty of garden gnomes to motivate him into action. You know… before the rise up in revolt and take over the house.

That made it so much better that my sister won some swag rather than me. I’m like Patient Zero, spreading the metal virus along one victim at a time.

Second Post! Playlists!

I know. Two posts in one day!

No, the sky isn’t falling. Hell hasn’t frozen over. The Seventh Seal hasn’t been broken. (Really Demi Moore is alive and well.)*

Basically, blame Melissa Olson. She is working on the follow up to her debut novel Dead Spots and was looking for songs that readers felt personified Scarlett, her protagonist. This had me considering music, and my playlists. Well, that and the fact that I had no idea that Macklemore and Lewis were playing in Milwaukee last night. How did I not know this?

But I digress. *deep breaths*

The problem here is that I read 1-2 novels a week. I read Dead Spots a while ago. Which means Scarlett is blending into a haze of protagonists from a lot of different other novels. This is part of the reason I don’t wait before starting the review as a general rule. Especially for Wicked Lil Pixie, as those are full reviews.

At the same time, I have been working with a number of go to bands that have been sitting on my playlists quite a bit lately. I’ll drop a few of them into the post here. Leaning towards ones with videos I can post, because who doesn’t like music videos?

Bad Ass Female Protagonists (or Villains)

For this I have been going towards Halestorm and In This Moment. The songs are rough, raw and have that growling female vocals that just scream (literally in some instances) power to me. So, I’m just throwing this out there for Melissa as this is what I remember without confirming by re-reading a chapter or two. These songs say “powerful female protagonist” to me.

Halestorm – Love Bites

In This Moment – Adrenalize Me

Halestorm – I Miss the Misery

In This Moment – Blood

Other Protagonists (mostly my male ones)

For the most part, I have songs that feed into a theme I am going for. In most of my stories the heroes have at least a bit of the feeling of being a freak. Not normal. To this direction, a lot of the songs lean towards being not normal or supporting the dual nature of a person. Which, when you think about it, is a lot of academic thought put behind the motivation and inspiration of a cool song.

Halestorm – Freak Like Me

Wayland – Welcome to My Head

In This Moment – Welcome to the Gun Show

Volbeat – Sad Man’s Tongue

Wayland – Reno (best video I could find – unreleased song – next album)

Volbeat – Still Counting

Honkeytonk Monster Hunter (inspiration)

In this instance I not only do a severe jump in genres, but this is a one-for-one. The artist singing these was the direct inspiration for the protagonist. Not much else to say here, other than… “That boy can sang!” 😉

Ben Dukes – Down in Flames

Ben Dukes – Old Fixer Upper


For the purposes of Melissa Olson, the top section on bad ass female protagonists works best. But it is far from the only playlists I work with. In an effort of full disclosure, most of my Halestorm and In This Moment songs are for my female villain/serial killer. But I stand by their uses. After all, the villain is the hero of their own story.

In This Moment…

I know, I owe a recap with photos of the conference in New Orleans, but this is one that has to be done while it is fresh in my mind. Also, with the ringing still in my ears it is the majority of what’s dancing through my noodle this morning. A Tuesday night show featuring In This Moment and no less than three other bands. Say what you will, but for the $15 ticket to get into the Majestic, it was a steal. And that is about as PG13 of a review of the night as I can give. It goes downhill from here folks. You’ve been warned…

In a stunning display of technology fail, I forgot to charge my phone on the drive home to pick up my son and head back into the downtown area for the show. I managed one blurry photo of my zombie totem Darrell the sniper at his first concert before my phone died. Luckily the band took a group photo that I hope they don’t mind me attaching. I can see where I am, but only because I knew where I was standing. And where I was standing was not too close to the pit. I’m not that demented, and while I like my neurosurgeon, I’m not buying him another summer home. 😉

The day started with lunch provided by my parents. Every couple of weeks my father calls to go to lunch, but my mother was with him this time. They not only paid, but my father told me there was nothing too important going on at the Italian Workman’s Club meeting that night. In short, giving me the green light to leave work, get some writing time in, and then make the show. Lunch and a hall pass, even in your 40’s its nice to have parents that “get it.”

During the day I sent my son a text. I told him they were playing and it was fifteen bucks, did he want to go. His reply was, “What time?” Now I know there may have been more enthusiasm that didn’t translate in SMS, but in my mind the proper response from a 21 year old would be, “Fuck yeah!” Baby steps… baby steps. (Yes, I understand it is going out to a concert with your middle aged father and not your friends. I’m not an idiot.)

Lacking in time after getting home, changing, picking up my son and then heading to the Majestic we were left with Taco Bell for dinner. Not exactly 5-star, but it is something that surprisingly fits into my nutritional schedule for the diet. Also, it’s fast. Parking downtown is… well… parking downtown. I decide to pay for the ramp across the street from the Majestic. The first sign of the night to come was when we were going around the ramp construction to get to the club.

I told my son, “I think this is the direction.” I was waiting for him to notice that the brick-to-the-head clue was Chris Howorth standing outside the tour bus parked at the back entrance to the club. It was either that or the zombie outbreak I wrote about in Under the Hood was actually happening and I left my multitool at home! Seriously, the outfits and the blackened eyes… no mistaking the band.

Grabbing our tickets and getting in line, I was ready for two opening acts. This was according to the web site for the venue. Getting in we found out they added a third. And at least one of them was a local band. I’m fairly sure the first two were locals. While the first band had some issues with the singer’s mic, the music was good. Unfortunately my Instagram Memory fuzzed out the name of the group and I didn’t go up to grab an EP before I left.

The second group started the pit in the front tier of the floor. Serious amount of roar coming from both the singer and the lead guitar. And the drummer? The dude transformed from a goof setting up the stage to a skeletal masked rocker when they came out to play. Seriously, it was as solid of a transformation as I’ve ever seen on stage. Unfortunately they said this was the last show they would ever play. Not sure the story behind it, but they definitely put on a show.

A lot of head banging and a lot of “fuck you” lines were in their music. At the same time, they were tossing shirts, guitar picks and drumsticks out into the audience. Clearing out the leftover merch is my guess. It left me wondering why these “blue collar rockers” (their term) were hanging it up. There has to be a reason for a group saying “fuck you” to The Man is leaving the stage. I didn’t see any animosity between the musicians, so that tells me there’s a story there. Without knowing it, I suppose I’ll have to make up my own. Sounds like a short story exercise.

The last band before In This Moment hit the stage (whose name I am also drawing a blank on) and seemed to drop the energy that had been building a bit. Until they played Let The Bodies Hit The Floor. During that song the floor seemed to go back to shaking from all of the jumping. Overall they were a good band, just not as high energy as the one before them. They did close with a song called Zombie Town, so I can cut them a lot of slack. 😉

They were definitely more fauxhawk than dreadlock. Their singer also had a deep baritone voice (for a fairly lithe guy too), but didn’t really do the primal screams that every other band was doing that night. It left me wondering if this band was traveling with In This Momemnt (as they were from Denver and not local) or if they were put on the ticket that night by the venue. Again, without knowing the story, I am left with having to make up my own. We’ll see if I get around to that short story.

So, after the stage prep (which was extensive), In This Moment was hitting the stage around 11:00 or so. At this point I had been on my feet four straight hours. Those new to this blog thinking, “So?”… I had spinal surgery several years back. I have a limit, and pressed past it last night. But, after hearing Blood on the radio I knew that it was going to be part of the playlist for the next book for my Under the Hood characters. Seriously, I bought the song on iTunes before getting on the train for New Orleans on the 7th. I held off on buying the full album.

In hindsight, I’d love to say it was because I knew I’d be going to the show. I’d love to, but I had no clue. Getting up that morning I hadn’t even planned on it. Once I was there I did pick up the CD from the merch booth. And a zombie themed shirt they had there. Hey, all the money goes to the band and who doesn’t need another zombie shirt. Right? All that aside, I’m not above spending some at the merch booth to ensure touring bands are touring. Local or not, it plays into supporting the Make Good Art initiative.

By the end of the night Maria was shouting for everyone to be moving and jumping up and down though. I knew I was lucky I was still standing. In my mind that immortal 20 year old was jumping up and down.  And for an encore they played an old song that is totally going to see use on the next playlist. It may not be in line with the new protagonist’s style, but it is totally in line with his mentor’s. Welcome to the Gun Show is one of those songs with a strong primal scream of a voice to the lyrics that embodies a lot of what goes through my head in the violent scenes. They always seem to be tempering the violence in them with as much discipline as they can, but do their best when they let it all go.

Philosophically my favorite part of their set was when they prompted to crowd to let out a yell of their own. Maria wanted to hear all of that which was pent up inside everyone. Everything that makes going to these live shows such a release. All that stress, anger, rage… whatever. All burst out from everyone at the same time in three simple words. “Hell. Fucking. Yeah.” At this point I should say I don’t shout in public any more. Ever. If you hear me shouting in public, it’s for a reason. A good one. But I have to say I was living vicariously through everyone else’s shout.

I had expected to hear one from my son. I know he has no problem saying those words in front of me. Next time. 😉

I would have loved to stuck around to meet the band, maybe gotten the CD signed, but we both had work in the morning. As it was I didn’t get to sleep until nearly 2 in the morning. Up at 6:00. Yeah, it was totally a 2 cup of coffee morning. And was so worth it. I may be an old man. Close proximity to the pit is a dangerous endeavor for me now. But at the same time there’s an energy to a show like that you need to experience to reproduce. It was that energy that kept me going and thinking of it kept me moving the entire day afterwards.

Even though it is too blurry for use, I’ll end with the one photo I managed at the show. Darrell my zombie totem at his first concert…