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Friday 9 June 2023

A View From The Back Of The Room: Ice Nine Kills (Live Review By James Jackson)

Ice Nine Kills, SKYND & Lansdowne, O2 Academy Bristol, 07.06.23

I love Lansdowne (6), think they’re a great band and have often looked for signs of the Boston based Country infused Hard Rock act coming to the good old UK; rather bizarrely they’re opening for a band who musically couldn’t be much more different; what I love about Lansdowne is the sing along aspect to almost every song they write, lyrically some of them hit harder than others, there’s always a song about a broken heart somewhere and Lansdowne have written a few, without falling into that pop chart trap; so swing them live was looking to be a great opportunity for me.

Opening with their most recent Medicine, they took to the stage and looked lost - it hurts me to say it but I just don’t think this was the audience for them, maybe they’ve had better nights on the tour but here at Bristol it just doesn’t seem to gel.

They played a mere five songs to my knowledge, with tracks Savage, Falling Down and Halo following their opening song, at one point and in which song I’m not sure it seemed to stall, sounding more like a group of young friends in someone’s Mum’s house. Watch Me Burn and One Shot, the song or more specifically the video that first caught my attention as far as the band goes, are the closing tracks respectively; the band said their farewells and promised to be back in the Fall.
And honestly, I hope they do; a mercilessly short set and the feeling of not quite belonging may have thrown them off, I certainly don’t think it did them any favours, but it wasn’t for a lack of trying..

SKYND (8) are an interesting musical concept, an Industrial Rock act consisting of two members, SKYND the vocalist and multi instrumentalist Father.

From Richard Ramirez to The Jonestown Murders SKYND have written a song about it; they’ve a fascination with the depths of the human psyche and the songs played out tonight are testament to the depravity that is mankind; the Columbine Massacre, Michelle Carter, Tyler Hadley, all acts of violence that SKYND retell, through an eerie performance and crushing Industrial beats.
Unlike Lansdowne before them, they are greeted with great enthusiasm; musically they may have different approaches to our headline act but that journey into the horrors of man, through real life acts rather than the silver screen is on a similar par and I think that’s helped SKYND to find new fans here. 

I’ve had the tickets for tonight’s event since very early in the year, originally this show was supposed to have taken place in March, had it have done so then it may not have turned into the rather hot and uncomfortably sweaty event that it was; the break between SKYND and our headline act Ice Nine Kills only added to the mounting tension, as the stage is meticulously prepared for the final event.

This was my first time seeing Ice Nine Kills (9), but I’ve seen the live videos and heard the news about how theatrical it all is, ultimately I was not disappointed; however the intro; when it finally arrived; was a long arduous affair that combined of an amalgam of horror movie sound bites, two songs the first I can’t remember but the latter which must’ve been the longest edition of Nick Cave’s The Red Right Hand that I have ever heard; frankly I’d have been happier to have seen the band appear after the “Ki.. Ki.. Ki.. Ma.. Ma.. Ma..” of Friday the 13th movie fame.

INK do not disappoint, however unnecessarily long their intro was; once on stage it was an assault of blinding lights and Metalcore aggression; the stage antics of lead vocalist Spencer Charnas as he dons a variety of props, each connecting to the song they performed; were boundlessly energetic and engaging.
The set list was a best of, taken from the two albums that seem to have really lifted INK from the mediocrity of their peers to dominating headlines with their Horror Movie themed songs.

With that conceptual theme the songs from 2018’s The Silver Scream and 2021’s Welcome To Horrorwood: The Silver Scream 2 blend together really well, when Part 2 came out I wasn’t so sure but hearing the likes of Savages, It Is The End and A Grave Mistake played alongside newer tracks Hip To Be Scared (which is just brilliant), The Shower Scene and Assault & Batteries, it all just works; makes perfect movie monster sense.

The stage show was great, cheesy depictions of Horror Movie Legends like Leatherface and Michael Myers, join Spencer as he acts out stabbings and mutilations to the baying of a hungry audience, characters from the films these songs are based on move amidst the band, sometimes playfully interacting, sometimes menacingly unmoving but always entertaining.
As I said, that wait was a bit too long for my liking but the end result was somewhat worth it.

Postscript: after a little digging I believe I’ve found as to why Lansdowne were on this lineup - they hail from the same area as INK do

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