With Halloween barely in the rear-view mirror, tonight’s show promised to keep that creepy spirit alive if only for a few hours. Ice Nine Kills and In This Moment kicked off their Kiss Of Death Tour earlier this month and tonight’s stop landed them at the Orlando Amphitheater in rain-soaked Orlando, Florida. The precipitation was constant throughout the last 3 days, but today promised to be outstanding. Sharing this evening’s bill were Swedish metalers Avatar and gothic-rockers New Years Day.
After snagging a prime parking spot right behind the stage, I grabbed my credentials and headed to the merch tables to grab the Avatar shirt that I’d been eyeing. I also caught a glimpse of the throngs of fans waiting in line for the 5:00pm entry. While gearing up and chatting with friends, I got the opportunity to see several bands members coming and going, including Ash Costello and Trixx from New Years Day and Ice Nine Kill’s Spencer Charnas. With temperatures hovering around 72 degrees and the sun making a quick descent, I headed to the pit in anticipation of the 6:15pm start time.
The House lights went dark, and the stage was bathed in blue lights which also cast a glare onto the New Years Day (NYD) backdrop. The band came out and were met with a loud applause from the crowd who were more than ready to get this party started. The 1st song of the set was the group’s latest single, “Vampyre.” Lead vocalist Ash Costello has been with NYD since its inception back in 2005 and tonight she sported a short black dress and a mane of long red and black hair. The set blazed onward through an assault of billowing smoke and flashing strobes and included 2019’s “Come For Me,” a song that had Costello telling the fans, “Orlando You think you know me, You haven’t seen my type of crazy, Don’t think I’ll put up a fight, I fucking dare you.” Costello dedicated “Shut Up” to all the ladies in the house and the female cheers were deafening. The 7-song set concluded with a tantalizing performance of “Angel Eyes.” NYD definitely got the fire started and the crowd was amped. Be sure to follow NYD online and keep a watch out for when they close in on year area.
New Years Day:
Ash Costello: Lead Vocals
Nikki Misery: Lead Guitar
Brandon Wolfe: Bass
Jeremy Valentyne: Rhythm Guitar, Backing Vocals
2.Come for Me
3.Hurts Like Hell
5.Kill or Be Killed
Somewhere in the vicinity of 7:00pm, the lights once again went black, and it was time for one of the most intriguing and entertaining bands around. For the last few years, I have seen tons of photos and videos of Avatar, but have never had the chance to cover them live, but tonight I would finally be able to check that one off the list. A character wearing what can best be described as an executioner’s mask brought out a large cardboard box and set it on the stairs. After removing the lid, a red balloon popped out, followed by the fedora wearing head of vocalist Johannes Eckerström. After emerging from the box, Eckerström stood stoically center stage while displaying his skull-topped cane and red and black ringmater’s jacket. As soon as drummer John Alfredsson banged out the 1st beat, Eckerström popped the balloon and the entire stage lit up in a sea of red and yellow as the band exploded into this year’s “Dance Devil Dance.” How do you follow up an intro like that? With an absolutely pulverizing rendition of “The Eagle Has Landed,” that’s how. There was so much going on that it was difficult to focus on just one thing. Guitarists Jonas “Kungen” Jarlsby, Henrik Sandelin and Tim Öhrström were a perpetual cyclone of hair-whipping, neck-snapping action, so much so that my neck hurt from watching them.
Alfredsson was positively crushing behind the kit and had plenty of opportunities to flash nefarious grins to the crowd. Eckerström discarded his jacket as the band played “The Dirt I’m Buried In,” which is another cut from this year’s album Dance Devil Dance. Jarlsby and Öhrström got the spotlight for the intro to 2014’s “Bloody Angel,” and prior to “Smells Like A Freakshow,” Eckerström said “We are Avatar and we came all the way from Sweden to kill you.” Whether stalking the stage, drinking from a gas can, or leaping from the riser, Eckerström is the epitome of what a frontman should be. “Hail The Apocalypse” brought an end to a performance that could’ve gone on all night. If you get a chance to catch Avatar live you’d better jump at it. I guarantee that you will not be sorry.
Jonas “Kungen” Jarlsby – Guitars
John Alfredsson – Drums
Johannes Eckerström – Lead Vocals/Trumpet/Piano/Keyboards
Henrik Sandelin – Bass/Backing Vocals
Tim Öhrström – Guitars/Backing Vocals
1.Dance Devil Dance
2.The Eagle Has Landed
3.Valley of Disease
4.The Dirt I’m Buried In
6.Smells Like a Freakshow
7.Hail the Apocalypse
Next up on the co-headlining bill was the mesmerizing band In This Moment. Unfortunately the band’s management would not grant permission to photograph them which was disappointing especially since they have a brand new album out and their stage show is breathtaking. From my vantage point I really couldn’t see that much, but I’m sure there are tons of cellphone pics and videos online.
Close to 10:00pm came the night’s main attraction. Having covered Ice Nine Kills (INK) several times, I was completely aware that this was going to be a fully immersive, horror-laden, blood-spitting, bone-rattling experience. The curtain dropped and now there was no turning back. Large monitors broadcasted various news clips warning that vocalist Spencer Charnas and INK were “household enemies” due to their heavy metal music and gruesome horror imagery. Charnas, wearing his black sunglasses and gloves, and his cohorts crept onto the stage and ripped into the setlist with “Hip To Be Scared.” It was only a matter of seconds before Charnas had donned his white lab coat and was wielding an axe. His unsuspecting victim was quickly killed and beheaded, and Charnas proudly paraded across the stage waving the head around before tossing his trophy aside.
The next song, “Rainy Day” paid homage to Resident Evil as a Jill Valentine-like character screamed into her radio, asking for available units near Raccoon City. She was quickly chased from the stage by 2 zombie-like creatures while the Umbrella Corporation logo shined brightly on the monitors. Next came “Meat & Greet” and fans got to witness several security officers wheel out a subject wrapped in a straightjacket and wearing a Hannibal Lector-type mask. It didn’t take a genius to see that this wasn’t going to end well. As the band flawlessly performed, the lunatic, no longer wearing his protective mask, escaped and bit the neck of a guard before bludgeoning him with a night stick. All this and we were only 3 songs into the set.
How guitarists Ricky Armellino, Joe Occhiuti and Miles Dimitri Baker can perform with so much chaos occurring all over the place is astounding. A large shark even made a cameo during “Rocking The Boat.” Each of the previous times that I’ve covered INK, I’ve been able to catch at least 1 or 2 shots of drummer Patrick Galante. Sadly, tonight was going to break that streak as he was barely visible through his kit, smoke and lights. “IT is The End” featured Georgie in his rain jacket and carrying several red balloons. All seemed well until Georgie was accosted and ravaged by a clown mask-wearing Charnas.
As the set reached its untimely conclusion, the band finished things off with the frighteningly good “Welcome To Horrorwood.” Lit by a curtain of red light, Charnas crooned the melodious intro and was joined by the crowd for the explosive chorus. As smoke plummeted onto the stage Charnas went out into the crowd where he sang the rest of the song amongst his fellow maniacs. The Kiss Of Death Tour is a must-see for lovers of music, metal and the macabre. Besides, missing it could have deadly consequences.
Ice Nine Kills:
Spencer Charnas – Vocals/Keyboards
Ricky Armellino – Guitar/Vocals
Joe Occhiuti — Bass/Keyboards/Vocals
Patrick Galante – Drums
Miles Dimitri Baker: Lead/Rhythm Guitar
1.Hip to Be Scared
3.Meat & Greet
5.Rocking the Boat
6.Stabbing in the Dark
7.The Fastest Way to a Girl’s Heart Is Through Her Ribcage
8.IT is the End
9. Wurst Vacation
11.Your Number’s Up
12.The American Nightmare
13.The Shower Scene
14.Welcome to Horrorwood
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I’ve had a love for photography since I was young. Whether it was a Polaroid or a Kodak 110, I was always the kid with the camera. My love of music goes back even further. Nothing beats being at a show when those lights go down and the crowd goes nuts.