Launch Music Conference ft Ice Nine Kills & more!

I feel I’ve earned the title of the “ Ice Nine Kills girl ” in my local concert scene. With their logo tattooed on my arm, my Google Drive full of photos from the last 5 years, and my car full of CDs spanning their entire career, my love for this band has become no secret. So at 10 pm, September 10th, seeing in my inbox, I was approved to shoot another Ice Nine show, I just about cried. 2 years without a concert is just about the worst possible thing for a concert photographer, especially two years without my favorite band playing shows. So I loaded my car, and drove the 3 odd hours to Lancaster, PA for the Launch Music Conference.

A venue of this size is intimidating after not shooting a show for a long time, so making my way to the photo pit was the scariest thing I had done in months. The night kicked off New Jersey natives, Enox.

 It was hard not to bang your head to the punchy guitars, crashing drums, and the vocals full of emotion and frustration. They started the night off with an insane amount of energy, getting the crowd warmed up for what else was to come.

Gladiators took the stage next, offering a vibey, heavy performance. The melodic vocals mixed with the deep and bassy guitars, I was in awe of the somehow soft, but powerful performance. The PA band offered a different vibe to the night, setting them apart from the heavy, angry acts we’d see with them. Speaking to them after their sets, they were overwhelmingly kind, and super supportive of all the artists attending the show. It was heartwarming to see a band connecting with fans after two years of isolation, and I could tell how much it meant to the guys in Gladiators.

Lancaster hometown act Hawk was a band I had never seen, despite following singer/guitarist Ricky Armellino’s music since This Or The Apocalypse. It was exciting to see a band I knew, and being able to scream the words back at them had me smiling their entire set. They offer a simple, yet insanely unique approach to metalcore. Ricky’s vocals pack a punch, complimenting the heavy, beautiful guitar work. I could see the emotion in their performance, the entire band clearly overwhelmed to be performing in front of their hometown. There were familiar faces I had seen at shows, all of them looking at the stage with happiness, excitement, and a proudness you rarely see at shows anymore.

Currents was a band I had seen open for bands before, and I heavily regret not giving them my full attention in years past. The energy was turned up to eleven, crowd surfers hammering the barricade. Currents may seem like a traditional metal band at heart, but their music seems to fill your body, forcing you to start moving. It was a chaotic set to shoot, all of us photographers moving to try and capture the incredible stage presence of the band in front of us. After the shoot, I was beyond excited to hand my camera off to a friend, and jump in the pit myself.

I had seen Ice Nine Kills 10 times before this show. I knew all the songs. I knew all the words. I was expecting a typical, incredible set from them. But this set seemed to move me more than usual. INK isn’t exactly a band with sentimental songs, as horror movies and theatrics have taken a hold on their music. But I felt myself getting choked up watching their set. It had been so long since I saw them, that the tears filled my eyes before I even knew. It’s a bit awkward to have tears pouring down your face while your favorite band sings about slashers and demons, but it wasn’t about the music. It was about all the people I had missed over the pandemic. The friends I made and haven’t seen in years. The ability to use my camera and make more art. Their set was, as usual, outstanding. Spencer works the crowd in a way that no frontman could, the other members of the band adding to the chaos happening in the crowd behind me. The horror behind their music comes to life with chaotic vocals, costumes, and of course their amazing makeup artist, Shevy, dressing up as the final girls from the movies inspiring their songs. They make the movies you love come to life before your eyes. It was so rare to see a band who sounds just as good live as they do on record, their entire performance rivaling any movie you could see. My 15 minutes were up before I knew it, and I made my way into the crowd, and finally let loose. Two years without a moshpit, without friends to headbang with. It was an emotional night. The exhaustion didn’t hit my bones until I finally sat down in my bed. 

This tour is a gift for everyone involved. Fans, bands, crew and security. Everyone missed this. I know I did. I eagerly look forward to seeing Ice Nine Kills on the second leg of this tour. And I can’t wait to see what every single band on this bill has coming for the future.

Review & photography courtesy of Emily Sulkowski

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Ice Nine Kills w/ Fit For A King, Light The Torch, and Awake At Last | SiriusXM Octane Accelerator Tour | Photos + Review

Ice Nine Kills Play Homage To Horror Classics At Their Sold-Out Los Angeles Show

Venue: The Belasco on 11/9/19

Ice Nine Kills has been a consistent band I’ve listened to since I got into them when I first saw them on Warped Tour in 2014. Their blend of symphonics with metalcore has always been intriguing to me. For the second edition of the SiriusXM Octane Accelerator Tour, Ice Nine Kills was announced to headline, with support from Fit For A King, Light The Torch, and Awake At Last. Make Them Suffer was also slotted to open on the tour, but due to VISA issues, they were unable to perform on the tour. This would be Ice Nine Kills’ biggest headlining tour to date in the United States, and they really went all out to make this an amazing tour.

First up was Awake At Last from Dover, Delaware. The band describes themselves as a mixture between pop, hard rock, and post-hardcore, which I agree with. Continuing their touring schedule in support of their newest release “The Change”, which was released in 2019 via Outerloop Records, the band opened the show with high energy that got the crowd going. Similarly to Ice Nine Kills, the band uses symphonic backing in their songs, with adds a great level of depth to their songs. Opening their set with the song “Purgatorium” from their independently released 2017 EP titled “Life/Death/Rebirth” showcases this depth to a T. Vocalist Vincent Torres has great stage presence, really engaging the crowd and moving about. Guitarists Imran Xhelili and Eric Blackway really held their own on stage, engaging their respective sides of the crowd and really adding to the energy coming from the band. Drew Hansen headbanged and slammed those notes with the bass with ease. Closing out the band’s live lineup is Jeff Dorber on drums, who was very energetic and engaging. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the band’s seven-song set, and thought they really got the energy going for the bands to come!

SETLIST

  1. Purgatorium
  2. More Than Animals
  3. Unobtainable
  4. Paralyzed
  5. Fallen Stars
  6. Dead Generation
  7. The Change

Up next was the all mighty Light The Torch from Los Angeles, CA. Previously called “Devil You Know”, the band has been around since 2012 and have released three studio albums together. I was very much excited to see them, as I have been a fan of each member’s respective bands. Vocalist Howard Jones was previously in Killswitch Engage, guitarist Francesco Artusato is also in All Shall Perish, who are on an indefinite hiatus, bassist Ryan Wombacher is also the bassist of Bleeding Through, who I had the pleasure of seeing and photographing in June of 2018, and drummer Kyle Baltus is the drummer of 38 Crazyfists. So as a super group, the band embarked on this tour and prepared an 8-song set, most of which came from their 2018 record “Revival”, which was released via Nuclear Blast Records. As the perfect blend between metalcore and alternative metal, the band was energetic and slayed that stage with ease. I was just in awe to finally see Howard Jones on stage, and to be able to photograph them was a dream come true. The band will be going on a North American tour in support of Killswitch Engage and August Burns Red in March – April, so definitely go check them out when they hit a city near you!

SETLIST

  1. The Bitter End
  2. Calm Before The Storm
  3. Lost In The Fire
  4. Virus
  5. Consume The Damned
  6. The Safety of Disbelief
  7. The Sound of Violence
  8. Die Alone

As direct support, Fit For A King from Dallas, Texas was up next. I have seen and photographed these guys four times now over the last two years and this is by far my favorite set they’ve performed. The band plays some damn good metalcore, and with five albums under their belt, they have created a solid career for themselves. For their direct support slot on this tour, the band prepared a ten-song set, with songs from their two newest releases “Dark Skies” from 2018 and “Deathgrip” from 2016, both of which were released via Solid State Records. Something long time fans will know is that vocalist Ryan Kirby has taken on more as a vocalist, doing both screaming and singing on these releases. His stage presence is incredible. Ryan “Tuck” O’Leary is the hypeman of the band, jumping, spinning, kicking, screaming, and singing to his’ heart’s content while playing those bass notes. Drummer and founding member Jared Easterling is always on point, playing intricate and dynamic drum parts, while exuding such joy and happiness while playing on stage. Guitarist Daniel Gailey closes out the band’s lineup, and despite some technical difficulties at the beginning of the set, came out and delivered a stellar performance. I love Fit For A King. If you love some good metalcore, they’ll be going on a world tour in support of “Dark Skies” that will be hitting North America, Europe, and more in the coming months!

SETLIST

  1. Engraved
  2. Backbreaker
  3. When Everything Means Nothing
  4. Shattered Glass
  5. Cold Room
  6. Dead Memory
  7. Deathgrip
  8. The Price of Agony
  9. Oblivion
  10. Tower of Pain

Ice Nine Kills from Boston, Massachusetts came out next to headline the night. With a dramatic curtain drop, the band started out their set with the infamous song and the third single “Thank God It’s Friday” from “The Silver Scream”, which was released in 2018 via Fearless Records. What the curtain drop revealed was an elaborate set of lighting and costuming. Each member was dressed up as a different horror icon: drummer Patrick Galante was dressed up was Billy The Puppet from SAW, guitarist and backup vocalist Ricky Armellino was dressed up as Georgie from IT, guitarist Dan Sugarman was dressed up as Jack Torrance from The Shining, and bassist Joe Occhiuti was dressed up as Edward Scissorhands. Spencer Charnas, the lead vocalist and founding member, changed costumes and props each song. When “Thank God It’s Friday” played, he was dressed up as Jason Vorhees from Friday The 13th, with the machete in hand. The second song in the set “The Jig Is Up”, spencer switched into his usual outfit for the show: a ripped green and red striped cut of shirt, black jeans, and shoes. But, to fit the song being about the SAW franchise, he sported an old man mask to act like John Kramer. For our third and final song in the photo pit, Spencer brought out a chainsaw and played with it for the duration of the song “Savages”. The rest of the set was filled with other costume changes, notably his’ complete costume change to be dressed up as Ghostface from the Scream franchise for the song “Your Number’s Up” from their 2019 deluxe edition release of the album. The whole band held their own. The most hyped part of the set would have to be during the encore when Spencer came on stage dressed up as Pennywise from IT and brought up someone in a Mickey Mouse costume. It was a creative way to mock Disney for banning the band. This set was filled with theatrics, amazing music, and amazing costumes. The band prepared a whopping 19-song set for their larger than life headliner, and it’s truly amazing to see how far they’ve come as a band since I first saw them. Ice Nine Kills is currently on a European tour in support of Hollywood Undead and Papa Roach, and then will be touring the US once again as support for Five Finger Death Punch, Papa Roach, and I Prevail from 4/8 – 5/20, so definitely go see them on a date near you! I can’t wait to see one of my favorite bands again when they come out here!

SETLIST

  1. Thank God It’s Friday
  2. The Jig Is Up
  3. SAVAGES
  4. The Nature of the Beast
  5. The World In My Hands
  6. Communion of the Cursed
  7. A Grave Mistake
  8. Your Number’s Up
  9. Rocking The Boat
  10. Merry Axe-Mas
  11. Thriller (Michael Jackson cover)
  12. Hell In The Hallways
  13. Stabbing In The Dark
  14. The Fastest Way To A Girl’s Heart Is Through Her Ribcage
  15. Love Bites
  16. Tess-Timony
  17. Me, Myself, & Hyde
  18. The American Nightmare

ENCORE

19. IT Is The End

The SiriusXM Octane Accelerator Tour was absolutely incredible from start to finish. Ice Nine Kills truly put on a one of a kind set that truly made me speechless walking out of the venue. Fit For A King delivered an incredible set as direct support and blew me away yet again. Light The Torch tore the stage up and made me an even bigger fan of them. And Awake At Last delivered a flawless set with ease as the opening act. I am truly grateful that I was able to attend this show and capture all of these amazing moments.

Ice Nine Kills | Fit For A King | Light The Torch | Awake At Last

Photos + Review courtesy of Jamie Kaufman | Instagram

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The Octane Accelerator Tour 2019 | Photos + Review

Horror is a word that you either love or hate. The idea of movies filled with slashers and monsters can be frightening to some. But nothing is as beautifully scary as an Ice Nine Kills show. 

I attended their last date of tour at Webster Hall. A sold out room of 1,500 horror lovers like myself has been the norm on this most recent tour, almost every single date selling out. And after seeing this most recent show, I have a feeling bigger, more sold out shows are on the wall. I have seen Ice Nine around 10 times in the past 3 years, and this most recently tour solidified their place in the metal scene. The opening bands packed a punch, and the headliner terrified the crowd in the best way possible. 

Awake At Last is a band every INK fan knows, they’ve opened for them time and time again, and Spencer is featured on their track The Change. They have a bright future, everyone in the crowd seeking to mow know the words to their songs. A frontman constantly preaching positivity, the entire band having high energy around them, it’s hard to watch and not enjoy them. 

 

Light The Torch got the warmest welcome I’ve seen for an opening band. Hailing from LA, the metal band has made a mark on the NYC music crowd. Not overly heavy, but filthy enough to make you bang your head, the feeling of the bass going through your bones is enough to get anyone just a little wound up. 

Fit For A King are veterans in the scene, but that doesn’t make watching them any less fun. Year after year, their sets pack a punch. Crowdsurfer after crowdsurfer was thrown up, breakdowns caused the crowd to move in on chaotic unison. Ryan Kirby can work a crowd with his words, and destroy one with his vocals. Watching them never gets old, and their upcoming headliner will hit harder than anything they’ve done before. 

I have seen Ice Nine Kills 10 times. And I couldn’t get bored seeing them another 10. This headliner was something special, they were the stars of their production. Hearing horror movie intro before a song begins possesses the crowd in such a way, it’s scary. Opening with Thank God It’s Friday, the show was off to a strong start. All 5 members are done up in costumes (Done by on tour artist Shevy) and frontman Spencer Charnas has a costume change nearly every song. Their setlist was full of scary new material, songs from Every Trick in the Book, a cover of Michael Jackson’s “ Thriller “ and a song from The Predator Becomes The Prey for old school fans like myself. Watching INK is a treat, regardless if you like them or not. Their production is so stunning, entertaining, and just makes you want to go insane. There’s nothing that makes someone wanna crowdsurf more than hearing Dr. Loomis’ speech before Stabbing In The Dark kicks in. Any horror and metal lover should do them a favor and go see all 4 bands on this bill. This was by far one of the most entertaining and high energy shows I’ve ever attended and had the pleasure of shooting. 

Ice Nine Kills Photos (here)  | Photos courtesy of Emily Sulkowski

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Ice Nine Kills w/ From Ashes To New and New Years Day | Episode III Tour

New Years Day

From Ashes To New

Ice Nine Kills

Ice Nine Kills | From Ashes To New | New Years Day

5/4/19 | Photos courtesy of Linette Ray

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Ice Nine Kills, New Years Day, and From Ashes to New | Episode III Tour 2019

From Ashes to New

New Years Day

Ice Nine Kills

Photos courtesy of Emily Sulkowski

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In Our Wake Tour | 2018

 Photos by Emily Sulkowski, @emilyisalright on twitter.

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Ice Nine Kills | 10/7/18

 Photos by Emily Sulkowski, @emilyisalright on twitter.

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Ice Nine Kills – The Silver Scream | album review

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Ice Nine Kills is a band that has flown under many people’s radar for over a decade now. A band known by name, but never receiving recognition they really deserves. They’ve always been doing things their own way, putting  themselves on the map with their last release, Every Trick In The Book, which was a huge hit in the scene of heavy music.

October 5th, 2018, marked a new era for the band. The latest album from the band, The Silver Scream, is something unlike many people have heard. Every song is based off a popular horror film, everything from Halloween to The Crow. Ice Nine Kills didn’t hold anything back on this album.

The first two singles, The American Nightmare (A Nightmare On Elm Street) and Thank God It’s Friday (Friday The 13th) let fans know that they weren’t going soft anytime soon. A catchy chorus mixed with heavier verses, and a breakdown everyone could love, people knew to catch Ice Nine Kills on Warped Tour 2018, and to keep an eye on the band until October.

I’ve listened to the entire album, and now I can’t stop myself from listening. Lighter tracks, like Love Bites (An American Werewolf In London) and A Grave Mistake (The Crow) offer incredible songwriting and gorgeous singing. On the opposite end of that spectrum, songs like Stabbing In The Dark (Halloween), Merry Axe-Mas (Silent Night, Deadly Night) and Rocking The Boat (Jaws) hit hard with fun guitar riffs, energetic drumming, and some unclean vocals we’ve rarely seen from Charnas. The references to classic lines from the movies give every song its own little flare of nostalgia.  Many songs come completely out of left field, It Is The End (It) sticking out to me the most. Creepy voice acting, leading into chaotic and heavy verses, the song features ska punk band, Less Than Jake, offering some backing tracks to elevate the heavy guitars to a new level. The song makes you wanna move in any way you can.

The album shows tons of growth from the small metal band. Their ability to create and not take themselves 100% serious is obvious. The use voice acting, other genres, wordplay, and fun movie references, The Silver Scream gives you the creeps in the best way. Nostalgia and love for horror films makes my love for this album so much more personal. Ice Nine Kills has come a very long way, I have a feeling they can only go up from here.

Review & Photography courtesy of Emily Sulkowski

** click through to the link above to view photos of Ice Nine Kills **

Ice Nine Kills | Loud Fest 2016

Ice Nine Kills  , 4 piece band from Boston.

10/15/16 Loud Fest Day 1 | Game Changer World

Photos by : C.Trimarco

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