It was a mild Valentine’s Day down at the lake in Toronto when a black widow and #8 took Rebel by storm and wowed a sold-out legion of rock/metal fans. The Black Widow took the form of In This Moment’s Maria Brink and her trunk of plenty. And #8 is Corey Taylor’s alter ego during his venerable time with monster band Slipknot. Taylor’s long-time secondary project, Stone Sour, were headlining this gathering of the loud and raucous.

Opening the show, the lights dimmed and an unlikely metal show intro of Jouney’s still mega hit “Don’t Stop Believin’” got the crowd going. In This Moment is known for their imagery projections, costume changes and a theatrical slant to their shows. Lead vocalist Maria Brink brings the lion share of theatrics to the show. Writhing around at centre stage, Brink sported long flowing robes, skin tight leather body suits and an impossibly thick and flowing mane of blond hair which she used as much a prop as anything else during the show. Brink engaged the audience on an almost personal level during her vocal performances, and the many female fans pressed into the stage barrier seemed to hang on her every word. Some were dressed and made up as Brink was.

The band, lead by original member and lead guitarist Chris Howorth, delivered an ultra heavy soundtrack to Brink’s forceful bluesy vocal delivery. The fly in the ointment with an ITM show is the multiple costume changes. They take a long time when Brink leaves the stage to do them. And the frenetic energy that the band brings out of the fans gets almost extinguished each time. The show is fun to watch, the music is certified metal, but the delivery and pace could be better. Standouts for the show were “River of Fire”, “Roots”, a cover of Phil Collins’ “In The Air Tonight”, and the show ending “Whore” where Brink perched on top of a white ladder and broadcasted the vocals wearing a white robe and white “dunce” cap labeled with the word “WHORE”.

Stone Sour hit the stage as “YSIF”, the instrumental opening track from their latest album Hydrograd primed the crowd for the onslaught to come. The 14-song set was heavy with tracks from the new album with a total of 6, 3 of which began the show. Early on, Corey Taylor let the crowd know that original guitarist Josh Rand had checked himself into a rehab clinic and would be unable to make the tour this time. Taylor took the time to speak to the crowd between songs early on, praising them for being there from the band’s beginning and welcoming newcomers into the fold. The energetic set moved through much of the band’s catalog, with 3 from 2006’s Come What(ever) May, “Made of Scars”, “30/30-150” and “Through Glass”, and singles from a few others.

Taylor and his chosen band hit way above their weight, and have years of solid experience playing for thousands of fans in thousands of venues large and small worldwide. And it shows in how the Taylor brings the crowd along and into the show almost like a bunch of old friends. That’s a rare thing in the new town new crowd road life of a mega rock band. Taylor has perfected this way of doing business and the sold out shows prove it works. The 70-minute set ended without an encore with “Absolute Zero” and the killer new track “Fabuless”. Catch Stone Sour later this year opening for Ozzy Osbourne.

In This Moment’s Setlist:

01. Salvation
02. Blood
03 River of Fire
04. Adrenalize
05. Roots
06. Burn
07. Big Bad Wolf
08. In the Air Tonight (Phil Collins cover)
09. The Infection
10. Sick Like Me
11. Oh Lord
12. Whore

Stone Sour’s Setlist:

01. YSIF
02. Taipei Person / Allah Tea
03. Knievel Has Landed
04. Made of Scars
05. Say You’ll Haunt Me
06. 30/30-150
07. Hesitate
08. Tired
09. Rose Red Violent Blue (This Song Is Dumb & So Am I)
10. Do Me a Favor
11. Song #3
12. Through Glass
13. Absolute Zero
14. Fabuless