Ice Nine Kills, Skynd, Lansdowne & Defying Decay – Rock City, Nottingham – 12/06/2023

Spencer Charnas performing with Ice Nine Kills at Rock City in Nottingham. Photo by Carrie-Anne Pollard

The early doors tonight mean we get in half way through openers Defying Decay’s set. The band are alternative with a bit of a nu metal twist, blending guitars and drums with heavy synth laden backing tracks. They do a good job getting those who have made their way into the venue so far warmed up. Towards the end of the set both the guitarist and singer crowd surf across eager arms. All in all, a great way to get things stated.

Next up Lansdowne take to the stage, the five piece play some good ol’ fashioned American hard rock. I can’t help but feel they are slightly out of place on tonight’s line up, but even so, they hold their own, interacting with the crowd in between songs (shout out to uncle dad – if you know, you know!) and smashing through a plethora of songs. During set closer ‘One Shot‘, the boys from Defying Decay crash the stage, making the most of the last day of tour together.

Third and final support comes from Skynd, who are instantly captivating as soon as they take to the stage. If Lansdowne felt slightly out of place, Skynd are the complete 180. Each song is intro’d by a sound bite of news report taken from a true crime case, which is then explored in the song. I can’t even begin to categorise Skynd’s sound, mixing breathtakingly beautiful belting, with low vocals that don’t even sound physically possible for a human to produce. The unique eery sound, the subject matter – some songs include ‘Columbine’ and ‘Jim Jones’ – and the complete lack of any interacting in between songs makes Skynd a whole experience.

Finally, after literal years of waiting, Ice Nine Kills head to the stage. Ice Nine Kills are known for their live shows, not only bringing solid performances, but also making the whole production more like a piece of theatre. In the first three songs alone, vocalist Spencer Charnas has already murdered two people, throwing limbs around with reckless abandon, while the rest of the band don different masks and actors sporadically join them onstage as victims and killers. (I genuinely wonder what border control think of the numerous weapons, body parts and bloody apparatus Ice Nine Kills travel with)

Every song is it’s own little piece of immersive horror. From the get go the crowd surfers are constant, sailing across the room, getting a little closer to the action. They smash through fan favourites from The Silver Screen, like ‘American Nightmare’ and ‘Stabbing in the Dark’, while also taking us all to Horrorland, with the whole crowd singing along to ‘The Shower Scene’ at the top of their lungs, and ‘Assault & Batteries’ getting one of the biggest cheers during the opening jingle. The whole production is like a well oiled machine, each person knowing where they need to be to set the stage just right, while still being personable and having fun with everyone gathered in the sold out venue. They close the set with ‘Welcome to Horrorwood’, where Charnas takes his rightful place front and centre, standing on the hands of the adoring masses.

Words and Photos by Carrie-Anne Pollard

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