What do you do when you’re on break from opening for Metallica’s world tour? In the case of Ice Nine Kills, you gather a couple thousand of your biggest fans for an unforgettable rock show.
For the second consecutive year, the Massachusetts-based band headlined a concert as part of Silver Scream Con, a horror convention curated by Ice Nine Kills mastermind Spencer Charnas. After last year’s intimate performance effortlessly sold out the 850-seat Cabot Theater in Beverly, MA, this year’s event was booked at the Lynn Memorial Auditorium in Lynn, MA. Despite having more than double the capacity at 2,112, it sold out in advance.
Following an introduction by SiriusXM metal ambassador Jose Mangin and the dulcet tones of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds’ “Red Right Hand” from Scream, Ice Nine Kills – frontman Charnas, guitarist Ricky Armellino, bassist Joe Occhiuti, drummer Patrick Galante, and fill-in guitarist Miles Dimitri Baker – slashed onto the stage like Patrick Bateman to perform the American Psycho-inspired “Hip to Be Scared.”
Ice Nine Kills originally formed as a high school pop-punk band before evolving into heavier territory, embracing post-hardcore and metalcore without sacrificing their penchant for melody. They came into their own, commercially and artistically, with 2018’s The Silver Scream, fully committing to their niche of writing songs based on horror movies that blend pop sensibilities, chugging riffs, catchy hooks, aggressive screams, and histrionic elements into a style dubbed theatricore.
From Kiss and Alice Cooper to King Diamond and Gwar to Rob Zombie and Ghost, integrating grim theatrics with heavy metal is not a new gimmick, but Ice Nine Kills proves its still plenty effective when done well. Akin to live theater, an Ice Nine Kills show is complete with wardrobe changes, props, fog machines, and stagehands doubling as extras. TVs that adorned the stage played clips from the INK cinematic universe between songs, pragmatically allowing time for changeovers while maintaining the atmosphere as well as audience engagement.
This was the band’s longest performance to date, clocking it at around 80 minutes, but they made it look easy. The 18-song setlist was composed of fan favorites from The Silver Scream and its 2021 follow-up, The Silver Scream 2: Welcome to Horrorwood, along with the Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde-inspired “Me, Myself & Hyde” from 2015’s literary-based Every Trick in the Book.
Some of Silver Scream Con’s esteemed guests made cameos on stage: Silent Night, Deadly Night killer Robert Brian Wilson donned his Santa costume for “Merry Axe-Mas,” Dead Meat host James A. Janisse played saxophone on “IT Is the End,” and Terrifier 2‘s Leah Voysey (who performs the “Clown Cafe” ditty) joined Charnas to sing part of “A Grave Mistake” in The Crow-inspired makeup.
Even more celebrities populated the audience, including Scream‘s Skeet Ulrich grinning from ear to ear when Ghostface appeared on stage for “Your Number’s Up” and Friday the 13th Part VII: The New Blood actor Terry Kiser rocking out the whole time like you’ve never seen from an 84-year-old.
The show featured support from Inspirit, a reformed version of local metalcore legends Vanna; Southern-fried post-hardcore act He Is Legend; and theatrical rock outfit The Funeral Portrait.
If you enjoy Ice Nine Kills’ recorded music, witnessing it live elevates the experience. The venue was seated, but no one needed them when the band took the stage. Charnas had the capacity crowd in the palm of his hand for the entirety of their set, culminating with a rousing encore of the anthemic “Welcome to Horrorwood” as balloons rained down like blood in a horror movie.
- Hip to Be Scared
- Rainy Day
- Rocking the Boat
- Stabbing in the Dark
- A Rash Decision
- Merry Axe-Mas
- Farewell II Flesh
- Me, Myself & Hyde
- IT Is the End
- Wurst Vacation
- Funeral Derangements
- Your Number’s Up
- The American Nightmare
- Jason’s Mom
- A Grave Mistake
- The Shower Scene
- Welcome to Horrorwood