Review by Jack Arkell, photos by Alex Peace
It is without question that Motionless in White’s ‘Infamous’ tour signifies the culmination of the band’s overwhelming evolution over the past couple of years. Having risen to prominence with debut record ‘Creatures’, the Pennsylvanian band went on to strengthen their popularity with 2012’s ‘Infamous’, a critically acclaimed album across the board.
The release allowed them to pack out Download’s Pepsi Max Stage and set out on a sold out UK tour, but the pressure was on them to justify the hype.
Just days before the release of their second album ‘Savages’, there’s much cause for excitement within the Glamour of the Kill camp. This is evident tonight, as the Yorkshire quartet put on a high-octane performance, mixing older tracks with fresh material. An excellent rendition of latest single ‘Second Chance’ is arguably the highlight, with the band looking reinvigorated and ready to prove themselves again. ‘Feeling Alive’ ends a set all too short in duration, but fans and neutrals alike are left to reflect on the apparent ease of which GOTK made the room their own tonight.
‘This is normally the point where we ask you to cause some trouble, but we’ve been told we’re not allowed to tonight,’ The Defiled’s vocalist Stitch D tells the crowd before ‘Unspoken’. Not that it matters. Just minutes later, keyboardist The AvD is mixing with the audience on the barrier, before bassist Vincent Hyde indulges in a spot of crowdsurfing.
It is this defiant attitude that serves The Defiled well for their support slot. Their electronic-infused metal is in many ways the perfect appetiser to tonight’s headliners, though this doesn’t always feel like a supporting performance. The crowd swells, responding loudly even to newer tracks from the ‘Daggers’ LP.
The band deserves a better sound than the venue provides them, with much of their subtlety lost in the noise. This doesn’t seem to matter too much though, with circle pits and vocal participation to final track ‘Call to Arms’ warranted by the quality of the music.
But when the lights go down and six musicians enter the stage clad in dark clothing and copious amounts of make-up, the screams that greet Motionless in White demonstrate who the main band really are tonight.
‘Devil’s Night’ is unquestionably one of the biggest weapons in their arsenal, and so to open with it guaranteed an explosive start to their performance. The fans are whipped into a frenzy, singing every word of the ode to individuality back towards the stage. Bravely, a new track follows. While only a handful of those in attendance are familiar with ‘Sick From the Melt’, it isn’t difficult to appreciate the track.
From there, the crowd favourites come out in force. ‘Abigail’ and both parts of ‘Puppets’ should shake the room, but only manage to cause a minor tremor. This is mainly due to the fact that the middle of the floor is curiously empty for a ‘sold out’ show, breaking up the atmosphere between the two halves of the crowd. Frontman Chris ‘Motionless’ Cerulli strives to rectify this, cutting an impossibly tall and menacing figure that compels even the quieter fans to sing along when he asks them to.
After a drum solo from Brandon ‘Rage’ Richter, the rest of the band re-emerge for ‘A-M-E-R-I-C-A’, bringing a couple of burlesque dancers with them. Chris and keyboardist Joshua Balz create a striking focal point, commanding the tiny stage. Chris then promises ‘three songs we’ve never played live until this tour’, consisting of ‘Infamous’, ‘Hatefuck’ and ‘The Divine Infection’. This trio sees Motionless at their most punishing, as the dancers continue to help proceedings resemble a small scale Alice Cooper show.
‘Immaculate Misconception’ ends the set soon after the hour mark; Chris’ contrived stage banter persuading the masses to chant for ‘one more song’ when they should have been already. Arguably, Motionless deserved a livelier crowd on the night, though their young audience can’t be accused of lacking devotion.
Musically, it is a tight performance. It helps that even after just two albums, Motionless in White are capable of putting together a very strong setlist. The size of the stage doesn’t help their cause tonight, but if the show was an exercise in proving their worth and potential longevity, then the Americans definitely came up with the goods.
1. Devil’s Night
2. Sick From the Melt
3. Black Damask (The Fog)
5. Puppets (The First Snow)
6. Puppets 2 (The Rain)
10. The Divine Infection
11. If it’s Dead We’ll Kill It
12. Synthetic Love
14. Immaculate Misconception
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