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Show Review: Epic production elevates The Witching Hour Tour

The walls of The Van Buren shook on Monday as hardcore heavyweights In This Moment brought The Witching Hour Tour to Phoenix.

Supported by hometown favorites The Word Alive and DED, the female-fronted metal veterans proved why they’re still strong players in the scene. Black lipstick, fishnets and indecipherable shirts abounded for one of the heaviest shows to rock the Phoenix venue since its opening.

The two hometown openers were offered longer sets for this show and they each took full advantage, showcasing brutal sounds from their respective discographies. Production was simple, with the bands choosing to focus on spastic light shows to accent the deafening performances.

Credit: Luxicon Photography

Metal newcomers DED, although only the opening act, made their set feel like a headliner- never letting the energy or unfiltered rage falter. Vocalist Joe Cotela prowled the stage, alternating between his signature low growl and all-out screaming at the enthusiastic crowd. Horns and fists were in the air for the entire 45-minute rager as the fans took up call and response for favorites like “Hate Me” and “FMFY.”

“This one’s a Justin Bieber cover,” Cotela teased before ending the set with the explosive “Anti-Everything.”

Credit: Luxicon Photography

Direct support was provided by The Word Alive, another hometown favorite. Telle Smith’s signature high vocals punctuated a set that spanned the band’s lengthy catalogue. The neon pink and green lights were a startling contrast to the volume and weight of the music being played, but the crowd still formed a circle pit for the band’s older songs. The Word Alive also made sure not to waste a moment of their longer set, adding in “Why Am I Like This” and “Life Cycles” to a solid performance.

The restless crowd was warmed up and made their impatience known as the anticipation for the headlining band built to a fever pitch.

In This Moment took the stage to a rousing chorus of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’” and reminded the packed venue why they’re still one of the biggest names in metal. Singer Maria Brink was joined onstage by two costumed dancers and used the elaborate production to its full potential.

For the first few songs, it was difficult to tell Brink’s vocals from the screams of the fans. The costume changes between each song made the set feel stilted at times, but the band made up for it with dramatic videos playing on the screens behind the stage.

Credit: Luxicon Photography

Brink took the audience on a journey through tracks like “Lay Your Gun Down,” “River of Fire” and “Oh Lord.” DED’s Joe Cotela joined In This Moment onstage for a dramatic wedding reenactment for the monstrous “Black Wedding,” making it one of the best moments of the night.

The band also played a silky version of Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight,” and closed the set with Brink screaming the words to “Whore.”

The Witching Hour Tour was bright and bombastic and not a night to be missed or forgotten. Fans left The Van Buren dazed, excited and very likely deafened from the sheer volume of an excellent show.


Olivia Khiel