Tonight Rescue Rooms plays host to spooky Boston metalcore mob Ice Nine Kills. But first…we wait.
With only one support band on the bill, there’s a lot of waiting around, but fear not – at around the 40 minute mark the crowd decide to take matters into their own hands. Starting with random screams, the madness quickly descends into – well, more like controlled chaos. ‘Who likes short shorts?’ is immediately answered with ‘I like short shorts’. Cue a medley featuring the Pokemon theme tune and Smash Mouth’s All Star, and finally, Values take to the stage.
The five piece from Leeds walk calmly onto the stage, before bursting into their own brand of melodic metal. After a slight technical hitch the boys are soon warmed up – four explosive pockets of energy spread across the stage, while drummer Tom Whitwood is neatly tucked off to the side. Vocalist Nathan Baker’s good vibes are infectious, spending every moment not growling down the mic with a wide grin on his face, hands almost permanently fixed in the shape of devil horns. By the sound of the reaction to ‘how many of you guys have heard of us before?’ Values are already known to many among the crowd, but during the next half hour they cement their name into the brains of everyone in attendance.
Baker demands a circle pit during Insanity, while the heartfelt Alone Again slows things down. New release Conscience Cleared is an absolute stand out, so much of a banger it sends Baker into the pit to let off some steam. Values finish their set with Lost Cause.
Who needs multiple support bands when you can just showcase the best?
As soon as Values leave the stage, the atmosphere builds…well, it tries to – amid the calls of ‘make it last forever, friendship never ends’, and lively renditions of the Sponge Bob Square Pants theme tune and several Queen classics – creepy music, eerie smoke and masked technicians prepare the stage.
Ice Nine Kills aren’t just a metal band. They don’t just play metal shows. Part concert and part theatre production, their live show is a sight to behold. They kick off the production with The American Nightmare, vocalist Spencer Charnas complete with Krueger glove and stripes, before dragging us forward a few months with the frightfully festive Merry Axe-Mas.
Guitarist Dan Sugarman embraces his inner Ed Gein, wearing a Texas Chainsaw Massacre getup – the inspiration behind SAVAGES. Eric Draven aka The Crow has risen again and taken over bassist Joe Occhiuti and A Grave Mistake. Wanna play a game? Probably not the best idea to let drummer Patrick Galante in on the action, with his Saw inspired pig mask The Jig Is Up. That just leaves guitarist Ricky Armellino, his yellow raincoat and a red balloon…we’ll leave IT there for now.
Crazy costumes, a plethora of weapons and horrifying lyrics aren’t enough for Ice Nine Kills. The set is littered with film monologues and great guest appearances from head INK MUA Shevy Marie – bringing to life Jason’s mother in Thank God It’s Friday Night and bringing to death a Michael Myers victim in Stabbing In The Dark.
It’s not all doom and gloom, like any great horror show some humour is thrown in, in the shape of an inflatable shark during Rocking The Boat – chants of ‘Fuck you shark!’ emanating from every voice in the room – and Micky Mouse. A nod to a recent mishap in camp Ice Nine Kills, where earlier this year the band were banned from playing Disney’s House of Blues because of their ‘violent imagery’.
Spencer Charnas defies gravity by walking on the crowd during The Exorcist inspired Communion Of The Cursed. They finish the set with the aptly titled IT Is The End.Ice Nine Kills redefine what it means to put on a show, every performing artist should take note.
Words and Photos by Carrie-Anne Pollard