Last month Silence is the Enemy brought you a never-before-seen copy of the police report from the Ice Nine Kills show in Birmingham. This week we went undercover to investigate the last show of their tour for ourselves. After all, the band was calling this their Dead Christmas show, so there was bound to be some bloodshed, right? To thoroughly investigate the show I needed to get as close to the band as possible. So a few emails later, a press pass was secured. I packed my gear and headed to Covington, KY, hellbent on providing the psychos with the cold hard truth.
The time is 6 pm and I have finally arrived at the Madison Theater, or shall I say the crime scene of the night. As I turn the corner I can’t help but see the theater’s marquee lit up with the words “WEBN Dead Christmas Sold Out Ice Nine Kills”. While the sold-out theater begins to fill you can hear and feel the excitement in the air. Though the temperatures outside were near freezing, the intimate venue was toasty and set the tone for the night. After picking up my credentials, I begin to make my way to the photo pit. So far so good, no one suspects a thing.
Before I knew it an hour had passed and it was showtime. The Ohio native band Spring Grove was set to take the stage for the next 30 minutes. Before coming out I spot the guys anxiously peering out at the packed crowd from backstage. Don’t let this hometown band fool you, they may have been nervous, but they came to rock and so did their fans. The five-piece group is fronted by Mike Brooks and backed by Tony Adams and Michael Hackett on guitar, Dave Shives on bass, Zach Simons on drums. They opened with their Song Save Me. Was this a cry for help? Were these innocent Ohio boys sucked into Ice Nine Kills devilish antics too? Regardless the crowd was absolutely loving their new music, that’s expected to be out in 2022. Brooks was so into the performance that he ended their set by stage diving into the audience. Even if you weren’t familiar with these local rockers you found yourself throwing your horns up and headbanging along to every song.
The time is now 7:45 and Hollow Front is slated to take the stage. The four-piece metalcore group was formed in 2016 in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The band is fronted by Tyler Tate and backed by Dakota Alvarez on backup vocals and guitar, Devin Attard on drums, and Brandon Rummler on bass. The guys appeared to have some technical difficulties out of the gate but recovered like true professionals. They proceeded to bring the house down by opening with their song Afflicted. Attard, stunned with his over-the-top and energetic style of drumming, Tate’s impressive growls echoed throughout the theater, Alvarez’s clean vocals had fans in awe and Rummler killed on bass. The guys definitely left their hearts on the stage with their last song Treading Water. Their fans undoubtedly got what they came for. But was their last song also a hint? Were they in too deep?
Each wave, I’ve braced To lose all progress I’ve made I’m falling deep I’m losing sleep I can’t keep going on this wayTreading Water– Hollow Front
Two bands down, two to go. It’s now 8:30 and it’s t-minus five minutes until Bad Omens graces the stage. These guys are no stranger to sharing the stage with Ice Nine Kills and they’re sure to put on yet another mind-blowing show. Just like the last show, Noah Sebastian enters the stage solo to perform the first half of their new hit single The Death of Peace of Mind. While the audience is hypnotized by Sebastian’s striking vocals, Nicholas Ruffilo, Joakim Karlsson, and Nick Folio enter the stage just in time for the breakdown. Seeing this band live is just otherworldly. Their visuals alone simply leave you at a loss for words. Sebastian’s stage energy is an oddly satisfying combination of calm and chaos, Ruffilo and Karlsson have insane guitar riffs for days, and Folio‘s drumming is unmatched. The band quickly moves through the rest of their set and the crowd couldn’t be tamed once the intro to Glass Houses commenced. They end once again with the fan-favorite Dethrone. But are they foreshadowing again? Do they plan to dethrone the kings of horror and take over with their own reign of terror?
By 9:30 I attempt to make my way back to the front of the stage but my efforts proved unsuccessful. Has my cover been blown? Am I purposely being kept from the photo pit?! One of the venue’s security guards spots me in the crowd and escorts me through a side door and I make it with five minutes to spare. By this time the crowd is filled with uncontrollable excitement. It’s now 9:45 which means it’s go time. I have to gather as much evidence as I can in the next hour. The room is darkened as Spencer enters the stage to a roar of applause. They open with Welcome to Horrorwood and we are once again on the descent into Mr. Charnas‘ sinister world.
So far nothing seems out of the ordinary. But I’m convinced there’s going to be plenty of evidence to gather. Once again Chris Kelly, Ricky Armellino, and Joe Occhiuti stun the audience with their guitar shredding abilities and backup vocals, Patrick Galante’s drumming is hypnotic and Spencer‘s vocals are flawless. The band continues to amaze a whole new crowd. Even though this is the last show of their tour the band is giving it their all and more theatrical than ever before. They interact with the audience for the entirety of the show. But were they pointing and waving at their next potential victims?
The Bostonian band moves through their setlist of old and new songs while the rowdy crowd relishes in the last few moments of the Severed Leg tour. Nine songs down eight to go and I still don’t have any solid leads. As I lurk in the shadows of the balcony waiting to document my findings, the tenth song begins to play. Wait, do I hear the interlude to Flight of the Bumblebee? Farewell II Flesh was their final song before the encore at the last show, it can’t be over already!
As I brace myself for another on-stage slaying, the Shower Scene begins to play. I breathe a sigh of relief, but what does this all mean? Why the change to the setlist? I continue to dig for the truth but I’m coming up empty-handed and the show has to be close to an end by now. After fans scream along to Rainy Day for four minutes the band disappears briefly. They return now sporting festive Santa hats and slay the stage with Merry Axe-mas. The toasty venue, the snow, and now a holiday classic, these guys really know how to get you in the holiday spirit. A dead Christmas it is indeed!
It’s been an hour and I have absolutely nothing! Not a single drop of blood has been shed at this show. Did we have it all wrong? Is Mr. Charnas really guilty of the crimes the captain claims he is? Just as I am about to pack up my things and leave, I hear a carnivalesque intro echo around me. My heart sinks. No! This can’t be happening again! Their chosen encore once again is, IT is the End. Who will be tonight’s victim though? I have to do something! But wait, my eyes have to be deceiving me. Is that Georgie?! He’s alive and well! But how?
I make my way out of the venue through the now snow-covered sidewalk back to my car. As I am still trying to wrap my head around tonight’s events, I bump into my friend Destiny Large. Confused, she asks what I am doing 300 miles from home, I explain that I was undercover for Silence is the Enemy and ask her to account for her night in Horrorwood.
My second time seeing Ice Nine Kills was no less of a blood bath than the first. The entire band gives their all from the grizzly start to the brutal end and leaving the venue feels like waking up from a dream…or nightmare. They entrance you and transport you away from all your problems, leaving you wanting more. A night with them is just pure chaotic fun.Destiny Large
Spencer Charnas is a rockstar with a soft spot for his fans and all things horror. All other claims and assumptions should simply be laid to rest.
It’s a known fact that the band has built its career on all things horror. It is all starting to make sense now, they are the perfect target. They just want to give fans a cinematic and immersive experience at their shows, but someone out there is using that as a prime opportunity to frame Spencer. It’s now up to us to prove his innocence before the captain catches up to him!
Stay tuned to Silence is the Enemy for more updates, as we attempt to uncover the real truth.
Take a look at the photos from the bloodless show here.