Imagine standing in a crowded room, sweaty and angry bodies are everywhere and you can sense the tension that’s about to explode from everyone as soon as the musical relieve explodes. All of these images perfectly describe Otep’s show at the House of Music in Arlington Heights.

Opening for Otep, four fantastic bands took the stage; Doll Skin, Through Fire, September Mourning, and Lacey Strum. Doll Skin is a band made up of four girls, all under the age of twenty, which radiated the infinite hope that punk isn’t dead more than any other band in the scene. Through Fire took the stage with an intense vengeance that you could hear through the intensity of their classic metal style. September Mourning demanded attention as the front woman, Emily Lazar, appeared on stage in a full white get up, complete with full face paint, and wonderful vocals accompanied by crazy guitarists in black cloaks the fantastic drummer, Josh Fresia, in a cloaked skeleton costume.

Lacey Strum took the stage next. The former lead of Flyleaf is a small, yet mighty woman, who fills the entire room with so much emotion and will for life as she somehow gets such a strong voice out of her tiny frame. Lacey has been an avid part of the music scene for years and has recently gone solo since her departure from Flyleaf. Even without her old band backing her up, she really made an impression and struck the hearts of all of her fans in the crowd.

Otep demanded everyone’s attention as they took the stage. Their show was complete with props including a pig’s head, a rainbow flag, and numerous masks worn by the front woman, Otep Shamaya. She was accompanied by other men in costumes but the one who stood out was her Spartan Warrior guitar player who demanded a circle pit in the second song. Otep performed so well, it emitted metal enthusiasm that almost suffocated you.