The Egyptian Room at Old National Centre
Halloween is my favorite holiday, and Motionless in White (MIW) is one of my favorite bands to see live, so I was really psyched when I found out their Trick or Treat Tour was coming to Indy. I (as well over 1,000 other people who packed into the Egyptian Room) expected – and got – an incredible show!
Detroit’s Twiztid got the night off to a great start with an angry, in-your-face set. Although their style of music is vastly different from MIW’s, they have a loyal following in Indy, and their gritty horrorcore, along with their message of non-conformity, was well received by the crowd. Between songs, Rappers Jamie Maddox and Monoxide spoke of the all-too-common feeling of not fitting in (which, I learned, is the definition of a Juggalo), giving many middle-finger jabs to those who make them feel that way. Drummer Drayven showed mad skills, frequently twirling and tossing his sticks, and throwing a few one-finger salutes, himself. Twiztid’s energy level was high – and contagious – and started off four hours of almost non-stop surfing. I loved the way they ended their set, saying, “Thank you for your time, Motherf***ers!”
Metalcore band After the Burial took the stage next. The dark stage lighting matched the vibe of their music, which was angry and intense. Like the other bands on the Trick or Treat Tour, they embraced the disenfranchised, urging them to let loose and express themselves through moshing and surfing (but they also said to try not to hurt anyone else, which I thought was really cool.) The four-piece from Minneapolis was tight, performing a heavy set that included three songs from their latest release on Sumerian Records, Evergreen. Their last song, A Wolf Amongst Ravens, was probably my favorite, and judging from the crowd’s reaction, it was theirs, too.
Detroiters We Came as Romans (WCAR) opened their set with their 2017 release, Vultures with Clipped Wings. The metalcore band, which has had to recover and regroup after the 2018 death of clean vocalist Kyle Pavone, was powerful and aggressive, covering every inch of the stage as they ripped through their nine-song set. Vocalist Dave Stephens, who now sings both the clean and unclean vocals, did a great job alternating between the two. Although guitarist Joe Cotton was missing, having just gotten married, the band was cohesive and very much in the groove. Their set included their two latest releases, Carry the Weight and From the First Note, which were the first ones produced without Pavone. I thought WCAR did an outstanding job of honoring Pavone’s memory without losing their energy or momentum, which I’m sure wasn’t an easy thing to do.
By the time WCAR was done, the surfer count was at 57, according to one of the security guards (all of whom deserve a shout out for keeping everyone safe). The crowd was seriously amped up as Motionless in White’s crew finished setting up their gear, practically salivating in anticipation. The backdrop was one of the best I’ve seen, featuring a house all decorated for Halloween, flickering jack-o-lanterns, a ghost, and even a Radio Flyer wagon. I don’t know if it was intended to be ironic, but that’s how I took it.
MIW opened with Undead Ahead 2, one of frontman Chris Cerulli’s favorite cuts from the latest album, Disguise. The crowd immediately went apeshit. And they never really stopped. For good reason – MIW brought their A+ game to Indianapolis, pulling no punches on the last stop of the tour. Their 13-song set included everything from the old-school Abigail to </c0de>, a song from Disguise they’d only performed live once before Sunday night. Ever the performer, Cerulli (AKA Chris Motionless) had the crowd eating out of the palm of his patent-leather-clad hand. He continually made eye contact with the crowd, drawing them in with both his gestures and his commanding gaze. Lead guitarist Ryan Sitkowski cast his trademark imperious stare as his fingers flew over the strings, while Ricky “Horror” Olson let his long locks fly as he head-banged his way through the set on rhythm guitar. Although I could hear drummer Vinny Mauro, and I knew he was back there twirling his sticks and making the drumming thing look easy, the lighting at the back of the stage was dim and I couldn’t see him very well, which really made me sad – I love watching him play!
By the way, I want all the drummers to know I tried really, really hard to get photos of them, but the lighting gods were not shining on them that night.
Back to MIW. The newest member of the band, former Ice Nine Kills bassist Justin Morrow, was a treat to watch. Talk about stage presence – between his neon hair and paint, creepy-cool makeup, and animated movements, he nearly stole the show. It was clear he was comfortable with his bandmates, as well as in front of the crowd by the way he interacted with all of them. (I especially enjoyed watching him and Vinny flipping a drumstick back and forth while Chris was talking between songs and watching him and Chris dramatically lay down on the stage for Headache.)
This was the third time I’ve seen MIW live, and I think it’s the most I’ve ever heard Chris Cerulli talk. I was struck by the difference between his pissed-off, extremely intense stage persona and the way he spoke with the audience – he was friendly, kind of casual, as well as grateful and humble. Just a normal guy from Scranton, Pennsylvania. I thought it was very cool when he called up AJ, one of the crew members, so everyone could sing Happy Birthday to him, and he dedicated Catharsis to someone named Shelby for her birthday.
Although I was disappointed the band didn’t play Loud, which happens to be my favorite MIW song, I really dug hearing Voices and Brand New Numb live. Motionless in White came back for a one-song encore of Eternally Yours, during which Cerulli passed out red roses to fans in the crowd. Although I couldn’t see any of the fans’ faces, I did see pure happiness on Cerulli’s face as he performed this simple gesture, and it made me happy, too.
Motionless in White is currently touring on the East Coast with In This Moment, and will be touring Europe and the UK from November 18 – December 14.