Story and Photos: Linsey Gividen
Editor: Spencer Fleming
The Trinity of Terror tour is making its way across the U.S. and nearly every show has been sold out! The amazing package of Motionless in White, Ice Nine Kills, Black Veil Brides, and special guest Lilith Czar made a stop at the Val Air Ballroom in Des Moines Friday (4/1). For the Midwest metal scene this was a big one.
As I made the three hour trip to Des Moines my mind raced with anticipation over all the devilish details I may encounter. My boyfriend, Eli, had seen Ice Nine Kills before and told me that their shows get pretty wild. He didn’t take me the first time because he thought I might get smooshed.
As we parked in a nearby neighborhood you could see the massive herd of black figures slowly marching towards the building like a wicked congregation. Once inside, the architecture reminded me of an old dance hall that had been long forgotten, the perfect place for metalheads to collide.
Lilith Czar opened the show. Her hot pink lighting, rose-covered mic stand, and smoky, seducing lyrics conjured images of a succubus, to the point where I imagined the leathery wings and horns. She reminded me of the cool, punk girl in high school that gets the freshman dork to start smoking cigarettes with her.
Lilith’s drummer had some of the biggest hair I’ve ever seen and it definitely added to her headbangs. Being able to feel her enticing lyrics and beat pulse through me added to the experience. Her third song was a cover of “Edge of Seventeen” by Stevie Nicks. Lilith added this smoky, eerie tone to it that gave it an almost vampiric trance.
She even climbed onto a table on stage to perform for her fans. As she came to a close she thanked everyone for coming and got the crowd to wave at her merch table.
I asked a fan who had fought their way to the bar about Lilith’s performance. Sydney Hammel (@hammelsydney on Instagram) told me that it was her “first time [she’s] seen her live”. She also told me that Lilith reminded her of a new up-and-coming Lzzy Hale or an earlier Taylor Momsen. Sydney had seen most of the bands before, but was most excited to see Motionless in White for the first time.
The second band was Black Veil Brides and for this set I had to find a spot in the crowd to shoot photos. Luckily, I chatted with Michelle. Michelle is an EMT in training who loves to do SFX makeup (Pandora Howie on Facebook). She let me through to a group of people who I had spotted before. It was a group of disabled folks who had a corner cleared for them.
I specifically talked to Ayden (@lemonbaybees on Instagram) and Autumn (@__dreamsgalaxy_ on Instagram). They explained their love for metal music and some of the difficulties disabled people have with accessibility. Ayden said they usually have to arrive super early in order to find a spot in front where they can see since a lot of venues don’t have a specific area sectioned off.
Autumn is a junior in high school and shared similar sympathies with Ayden. I had asked if they came together and they laughed and said that they had just seen each other enter the venue and found each other afterwards.
They both want concert venues and other concert goers to start thinking about accessibility and how to advocate for easy access. While talking with them I learned that they aren’t asking for a ton, they just want somewhere they can be safe and still have visibility. The amount of meaning to be seen by a band like other people is so much more than anyone could imagine. Not being at eye-level makes this experience much rarer and it means the world to these fans to be seen as people.
As I prepared to capture Black Veil Brides a sweet lady allowed me to hang in her spot so I could get the best shots. I think she probably partied harder than most of the crowd.
The intense music and light display kicked off the band’s set off with a bang. Andy created an intense aura that got the crowd moving.
As expected, I saw plenty of headbanging and amazing effects. The energy and intense beat got my heart going and I loved every second being in the pulsing, buzzing crowd. Andy would announce every song and one of his last few was “All Our Hate”. This got the whole crowd screaming and I’ve never seen such unification.
BVB’s loud noise, outrageously scene outfits, and gravelly vocals won my heart over. By the end of the set, I was thoroughly convinced by their talent and swept off my feet. I was surprised to know their last song, “In the End”, which sent us off well.
Nothing could prepare me for the show Ice Nine Kills put on. The theatrics, lights, visuals, and acting sent them to the top of my list. Their set opened with a audio notice about the music being a part of a murder investigation.
Each band member entered with a strange mask while lead singer Spencer Charnas took his spot at his horror-themed mic stand. His mic stand was surrounded by masks and torsos of iconic horror film villains. Through the next 30 minutes, I witnessed a man with a goat mask stomp on stage with a chainsaw, a man get beheaded, a woman get stabbed, and a mad scientist parade around with a hatchet.
Each song told an amazingly intricate story with such beautifully done vocals and beat. Fans were screaming every word while I watched security prepare to catch bodies over the divider.
The amount of control the band had over the crowd reminded me of how mysterious and powerful the Phantom of the Opera was. Spencer just conducted the crowd with such poise and control that it was mesmerizing. I even watched as one of their guitarists lined his face up with the stage lights as if he was telling a scary story to campers.
As “Rainy Day” played, I looked back to see Michelle smiling and pulling her phone out. She had mentioned earlier that it was one of her favorites and that she hoped to see it live. It made me realize how much these performances and concerts mean to people.
After Ice Nine Kills said their goodbye, the crowd buzzed with anticipation for Motionless in White to wrap up the night.
The crowd roared as the lights went down and the Motionless in White band members found their places. A man dressed in an all-white suit came out holding a Bible. His face was hidden by a full white mask painted with “blood”. He jumped onto the platform and began to point at the crowd, almost condemning them.
As lead singer Chris Motionless ran back and forth on stage I knew we were in for a wild ride. Most of the band donned contrasting face paint as the red lights flashed. Motionless in White reminded me of the classic metal music that I grew up hearing from friends.
MIW was spectacular as I watched Chris Motionless jump onto the large speakers in front of the crowd. During their set, I spotted our favorite mini midwest metalhead, Jax (@midwest_metal_family on Instagram). Like every show his family attends they were rocking the barricade. Little did the crowd know Jax was just waiting for his moment of stardom.
Towards the end of the set the band prepared to play “Brand New Numb” but before they started Chris pulled little Jax on stage to rock with them! Jax did an amazing job, holding the mic out to the crowd and blasting his growling vocals. After the song Chris joked “I think Jax is going to take it from here, I’m out”.
This show truly set in stone my love for metal music and I drove away with an intense appreciation for the beauty of experiences like this one.
The Trinity of Terror has a few more dates left. You may have to hit up Stubhub or hold a sign out in front of the venue, but it’s totally worth it.
Shout out to Cosa Nostra PR for the photo access!
04/03 – Oshkosh, WI @ Oshkosh Arena (SOLD OUT)
04/04 – West Fargo, ND @ Butler Machinery Arena
04/06 – Grand Rapids, MI @ GLC Live at 20 Monroe (SOLD OUT)
04/07 – Moon Township, PA @ UPMC Events Center (SOLD OUT)
04/08 – Indianapolis, IN @ Blue Ribbon Pavilion at Indiana State Fairgrounds
04/09 – Pikeville, KY @ Appalachian Wireless Arena (SOLD OUT)
04/11 – Buffalo, NY @ Buffalo Riverworks
04/13 – Wallingford, CT @ Toyota Oakdale Theatre
04/14 – Portland, ME @ Cross Insurance Arena
04/15 – Huntington, NY @ The Paramount (SOLD OUT)
04/16 – Philadelphia, PA @ The Fillmore Philadelphia (SOLD OUT)
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