Ice Nine Kills Brings Horror Themed Madness To Sold Out Varsity


Can you believe it’s already a new week? The weekend seemed to fly by but I had to get one last show on Sunday before the reality of another work week set in. There were a couple of options to chose from. 1349 at The Turf Club was sure to be a solid show and Twizted at The Cabooze was definitely going to be entertaining but I knew where I had to be. Ice Nine Kills was playing at The Varsity and although I really don’t listen to much of their music, I will never pass up a chance to catch this amazing band live.

Kicking the night off at the obnoxiously early time (although it was nice to get home at a reasonable time) of 5 PM was Awake At Last. Awake At Last instantly captured my heart with their almost theatrical vocals and their powerful message. Throughout their set the idea of self love reigned supreme. I feel like the metal and metalcore scenes can be so into a very aggressive and almost manly image that mental health can be lost in the mix so it was nice to hear a band talk about taking the time to care for yourself. As mentioned, there was something vaguely theatrical about their sound. It almost reminded me of Avatar minus the stage show to mimic the theatrics. Awake At Last is a breath of fresh air in a scene that, although I adore, can sometimes seem monotonous and they were the perfect start to a heavy and incredible Sunday night concert.

There was a sense of excitement that I wasn’t quite expecting as Light The Torch took the stage next but as soon as I saw their vocalist, it all made sense. Formerly known as The Devil You Know, it would be appropriate to call Light The Torch a supergroup. The list of groups that the members of this band have been in goes on and on but most notably would probably be the fact the singer is Howard Jones who was the frontman for Killswitch Engage for a couple of years. Although I was never a huge fan of Killswitch, I have always had mad respect for the talent and attitude of Howard and that hasn’t changed with this new band. Howard’s personality shined between songs that were full of relentless power and energy. Although the audience was clearly trying to save some energy for the two final bands, there was plenty of movement throughout Light The Torch’s set.

Although not the headliner for the night, Fit For A King was greeted to the stage with a deafening road of applause from the sold out crowd. A definite favorite in the Twin Cities, Fit For A King are treated like royalty here and rightfully so. Their sound is intense, their live show is aggressive but their personalities are down to earth and they are always eager to make friends on the road. Shattering the barrier between fans and bands is what had me falling in love with this group the first time I saw them and it was refreshing to see that it has not changed. The energy on the stage was sky high from the moment the band kicked into their ten song set and until the final note was left hanging in the air. Instead of just going through the motions and giving the audience a standard show (which would have been more than fine because they are such a solid live band), bassist Ryan O’Leary took a leap from the stage and somehow ended up on the bar at the back of the venue. It’s quirky things like this that keep this band at the top of the scene and something that makes them stand out from the others. Not afraid to have fun while still keeping the music flawless and the energy high, Fit For A King has to be one of my favorite bands in the metalcore scene and I don’t see that changing any time soon. Their set was capped off with an epic simultaneous stage dive between guitarist and bassist that, although quick and small when put against the rest of their set, was the perfect ending to a perfect set. Fit For A King wasn’t headlining last night but they could have been and I can’t wait to see much more from this promising group in the near future.

Ice Nine Kills closed out the Sunday night show with a staggering sense of power and a flawless set. Hailing from Boston, MA, Ice Nine Kills is one of those bands that I really don’t go out of my way to listen to on a daily basis but will go out of my way to see live. They have such a sense of power, personality, and, well, perfection when it comes to their live show that I just can’t stay away. The wait between FFAK and INK was long due to a meet & greet and the production value of their set (at least I’m assuming that’s what the hold up was) but it was more than worth and as soon as the red sheet concealing the stage fell to the ground, it was off to the races and I was immediately reminded why I chose this show over everything else going on last night.

Paying homage to horror movies, all five members of the group were dressed up in costumes as their favorite characters from Edward Scissorhands to Freddy Krueger. A little gimmicky, sure but even the costumes weren’t enough to distract from the power behind the music. Metalcore would be the best way to describe their sound but, like the previous bands of the night, INK has something in their sound that keeps them from falling to the herd of other bands in the metalcore genre. It’s hard to put it into words but it’s something that you hear the second you start listening to this band. Their nearly twenty song set was full of variety and even had a great cover of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” thrown in. With five full length albums out, it’s quite amazing how this band was able to curate a perfect setlist that left nearly everybody happy at the end of the night.

There are always choices to make when it comes to deciding what show to go to and although I don’t always know if I’ve made the right one, I’m more than happy with my decision on where to spend my Sunday night.