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Yes, I did drive all the way to Richmond for a nu-metal band. Each of the bands on last Friday’s bill at The National—Mudvayne, Nonpoint and In This Moment—are a real blast to photograph, and so for the first time in my concertgoing life I went to a show more for the photography than the music. Some of the results are in this post, with more at the full gallery.

Musically, I actually like In This Moment’s heavier stuff: even if it is fairly pedestrian metalcore, Maria Brink’s vocal range keeps things interesting. Unfortunately, their latest album The Dream sees them going all arena-rock, and I’m not buying it. But in concert they played a bunch of the more metal stuff and it was pretty enjoyable. Nonpoint? Color me indifferent. As for Mudvayne, I really enjoyed watching and listening to bassist Ryan Martinie, who’s always given the band a bit of a claim to a different sound, and who is an absolute whirlwind on stage. I’m never going to be a big fan, but I enjoyed myself and the stage show was worth the trip.

Here are a couple more of Mudvayne:

Also: The National might be my new favorite venue, anywhere. It’s probably most comparable to the State Theatre with the floor cleared of tables, but bigger (1500 capacity, a few hundred bigger than the 9:30 Club). That is, there’s a big floor with good sight lines, plus a nice balcony with bleacher seating. Great sound, really professional staff, right in the middle of downtown Richmond. Well, maybe that last part isn’t so good, since it’s so damn far away, but otherwise, just a fantastic place to see a show.

Nonpoint:

In This Moment:

Again, more in the full gallery.