Stone Sour/In This Moment/Hell Or Highwater @ Wellmont Theatre

MONTCLAIR, NJ—Street parking was next to impossible to find anywhere near Montclair’s Wellmont Theatre on this Friday night, as the town was buzzing with nightlife. As far as a viewer is concerned, the Wellmont Theatre is an ideal concert hall for a fan of the music who doesn’t wish to miss a moment of the show, with the option of a second floor balcony. This location has aged gracefully, maintaining the nostalgia of the ‘20s in which it was built.

With the hall quickly darkening, Southern California natives Hell Or Highwater leapt into their animated set of brash, confident rock anthems, riling up the modest bunch of fans that cheered in the crowd for them. The scruffy-looking guys performed a selection of tracks off of their full-length, Begin Again, including the distinguished number “Go Alone.” Following this reasonably stark performance was the polar opposite, as Maria Brink of In This Moment strutted to center stage to pose on her homemade skull and cemetery gate-adorned platform. Dressed as a confused zombie pin-up girl, the vocalist went through several costume changes but remained stationary throughout this band’s entire show. In This Moment performed the track “Blood” off of their latest album and after their set, I felt bad, as I realized I had barely noticed the other four members.

At last, the house lights dimmed again, and with an amazing show of lights, the audience erupted as Stone Sour arrived. Vocalist Corey Taylor himself exploded with life as the guys flew into the record opener of House Of Gold And Bones Part 1, “Gone Sovereign.” Jim Root, a stoic giant on the stage, is a thing to behold as he calmly shreds absurd guitar parts, during which I realized how well sound translates within this venue. Three songs into their set, the band performed the favorite off of Audio Secrecy, “Mission Statement,” before playing “Say You’ll Haunt Me.” Avid drummer Roy Mayorga was in non-stop motion from start to finish, but Corey Taylor’s vocal stamina was truly remarkable talent that delivered at each turn.

Several other songs from House Of Gold And Bones Part 1 were played including “Absolute Zero,” “A Rumor Of Skin,” “RU486,” and a new song off of House Of Gold And Bones Part 2 that had not yet been released. In the middle of the show, the musicians cleared the stage, with only Corey Taylor returning with a guitar in hand, and to everyone’s surprise, began strumming “Nutshell” by Alice In Chains. He sang the first verse, chorus, and then transitioned into his own emotional piece “Bother,” to which there was a massive audience response. Everyone in the house was singing along when suddenly the walls seemed to draw inward, and there was no sound with the exception of the song and guitar. As “Bother” continued, Corey Taylor was taken aback and touched as the crowd sang out the backing chorus at the song’s finale.

Stone Sour closed their gratifying performance with a furious rendition of the thrashing, speedy metal track “30/30-150,” and with that, it’s official: Corey Taylor wins the award for best frontman of the modern metal generation. It’s a mystery to me how this band can deliver with such vigor on every night of the tour, but you know that they’re good when you’re completely immersed sonically and visually. The Stone Sour experience is a sensory one where you do not even realize how it has enveloped you until it is over. This band’s show drew me closer to their music as an individual and has in no way made me satisfied with seeing them live only just this one time.