A year after the release of their most recent outing Silver Scream, Ice Nine Kills made the journey to the UK for a run of anticipated dates. They had “local” support for each date, and at Glasgow we were treated to Values from Leeds. So not that local and they did make a point of mentioning their three-hour drive a couple of times.
However, they made that 6-hour round trip worth their while. I arrived at The Garage just after they’d kicked off their set and was pleasantly surprised to see the venue well over half full. Not only that, but by the time they hit their second track, Values had a pit going in the middle of the dance floor. You know you’re doing well as a support act when you’re getting this level of engagement from a non-hometown crowd. Indeed, they did ask who’d heard of them before and the shouts weren’t numerous – making the crowd reaction to their songs even more impressive.
From Katie: Supporting in London were Finnish “occult murder pop” act CVLT OV THE SVN who describe their music as combining black metal, pop and stoner rock. This was their first ever live show, which also coincided with the release of their debut EP Luna In The Sky Forever. The band played a great set including tracks such as “Murderrer” from their debut EP, and they seemed to go down well with the crowd.
Striding onto stage to begin an hour-long set, Ice Nine Kills were dressed to impress, if you’re a fan of horror movies. With simple costumes paying homage to the movies featured in their recent album, they launched into “The American Nightmare” with it’s heavy as Hell opening and stupidly catchy chorus. No fewer than nine tracks tonight were from this album, a huge proportion given that they do have other releases to draw from, but by no means a disappointment as Silver Scream is so damn strong.
Bolstering the music, we had appearances from Jaws and other background characters. It was all silly, but good fun and that’s what gigs should be. Crowdsurfing kicked off during “Thank God It’s Friday” and pits were opened are regular intervals including a nice little wall of death.
With a cry of “Who wants to hear some really old stuff?” the band launched into a song I confess I don’t know as I was only introduced to them with the recent videos and album. However, my initial “No, not me – play things I know” complaint was swiftly squashed when I found myself absolutely bloody loving it.
Frontman Spencer Charnas is great at his job. Charismatic and active, he’s all over the stage and jumps around more than Joe Ragosta (Patent Pending), which is impressive. He’s also got a superb voice for this music, but he’s only one ingredient in this particularly tasty pudding. What struck me over the course of the gig was how well Ice Nine Kills work as a band. While Charnas is the lead vocalist, they just wouldn’t be the same without the backing vocals. While chaos reigns on stage, the band members each drop in their own vocals at the right times – and like Charnas they’re not all one trick/style ponies. Harsh vocals, clean, harmonies… they’re all in there and they add so much depth to the songs. To see that recreated perfectly during a live set… that is a hallmark of quality.
You’ve probably garnered from the review that I was impressed. I certainly was. This is a band I literally came across by accident a few weeks ago, in perfect time to see them play a great set at a local venue. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for their next album and tour, whenever they may be!
Photos by Katie Frost Photography