Motionless In White – Deadstream 2 Pennhurst Asylum

June 9th 2021

Photos and Review by Rebecca Bush

2021 has become the year of live streamed shows, and with each show bands have pushed the boundaries further and explored their creativity in new and exciting ways to bring ever bigger and more elaborate performances to their captive audiences around the globe. It has been a great way for fans internationally to experience shows together, to unite and celebrate their favourite artists collectively and to metaphorically hold hands and be uplifted during difficult times.

In October of 2020 Motionless In White were set to hold a hometown show in Scranton, Pennsylvania to celebrate the ten year anniversary of Creatures, their debut album. Sadly the world had gone into shut down and a live show was not to be. Still wanting to celebrate this big milestone they announced a ‘deadstream’ event for the 28th October and boy did they put on a show!!! Their spooky stage was set, adorned with lanterns and pumpkins and the band were firing on all cylinders. Creatures was celebrated in style and the stream was a great success.

Creatures Deadstream October 2020

When the band then announced this year that Deadstream 2 was coming there was understandably a huge buzz around the event. Having seen what they achieved with the first stream I was hugely excited for what was to come. Ticket was immediately purchased without hesitation!

Their choice of venue was the famously haunted Pennhurst Asylum. This was to be no average livestream, the infamous and impressive building is a perfect dark backdrop and this is a truly exciting opportunity for the band to be able to execute something of such grandeur! If the pandemic has done nothing else it has afforded artists time to explore avenues and pursue things they ordinarily wouldn’t have the opportunity to and Chris Cerulli and company took this and ran with it.

Opening the stream with the band making their way through Pennhurst’s grounds, the atmosphere is set and as the camera pans out and the full scene is revealed it is truly magnificent! The energy is palpable as opening track ‘Disguise’ brings the whole place to life. Flooded with purple lighting and swirling smoke  the whole building is illuminated and creates the backdrop of dreams. The band are set up either side on platforms and at the top of the buildings central flight of stairs is the drum set.

Chris’s stage is the runway between, framed either side with large statues of angels and his mic stand is a post apocalyptic skeleton made up of cogs and bolts and metal poles.

When I tell you the band is on TOP FORM I mean it is an unbelievable sight. Chris’s voice is immaculate, not a single note is out of place, there is such power and force behind it, it’s a truly emotional moment. To see a band this switched on right now just completely encapsulates the drive to be back in the world to be performing and to be doing what they love, and it appears there is something in my eye…..!

The set list is an absolute dream list of tracks that evokes an instant ‘YES’ with the start of every song. After powering through first two songs, ‘Disguise’ and ‘ Reincarnate’, Chris takes a moment to talk to us, thanking everyone for their support and letting us know that we are appreciated. Marvelling at the fact art has continued to thrive during these strange times he dedicates the next song to everyone watching ‘</c0de>’ and it hits differently when it comes from a place of pure appreciation and also of solidarity – we are all in this together.

The attention to detail and production value is beyond perfect, so much work has clearly gone into making this every bit as special as it can possibly be, panning round the asylum grounds and using all angles to fully utilize its haunting atmosphere and lighting each song differently to reflect the mood. Add in billowing smoke and you have yourself one spectacular set up.

The band are a whole new level of tight, Chris’s vocals are raw with power and emotion and his enchanting and dynamic  performance proves that he can command any space. Backed with strong backing vocals from both bassist Justin Morrow and rhythm guitarist Ricky Olson, accompanied also by Ryan Sitkowski during ‘Thoughts and Prayers’, plus mad drumming skills from Vinny Mauro tying it all together, it’s truly awe inspiring.

Motionless really wear their hearts on their sleeves with this set, you can FEEL every moment of it from the grit and force of ‘Headache’ to the emotional ‘Catharsis’ … “a place to feel the words we sing” – it is true testament to how they have grown and changed over the years going from strength to strength. There are more dedications too, firstly to Maria Brink and their friends in In this Moment, the track she usually features on ‘Contemptress’, and then to the LGBTQ+ community ‘Voices’; just so much power and feeling in every note of every song.

The end of the set comes all too soon and I’m relieved that I can re-watch because I do NOT want this to be over, Chris takes to the roof of the building, Roses in hand with the final message resounding in our hearts: “We are Motionless in White and we are – Eternally yours!” Its a finale of epic proportions, a dazzling light show and a birds eye view of the spectacularly illuminated building as Chris pours his heart out one last time, and as he throws the roses one by one to his captive audience he leaves everyone in high spirits and excited for what comes next.

To say that this was a success is an understatement, everyone involved should be immensely proud of what they have achieved here.

As soon as the stream ends I press refresh and watch all over again!!