While not likely an original play on words, our headline couldn’t be more factually accurate. Metalcore band Ice Nine Kills really did slay in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. (Okay, I’ll stop!)

After catching Ice Nine Kills’ (INK) wicked good set at Louder Than Life in Louisville, Kentucky in September, we wanted to see them headline their own show. We knew it would be phenomenal. We were right.

INK headlined their sold-out Hip to Be Scared Tour stop at Piere’s Entertainment Center on November 23, 2021. The opening lineup included Fame on Fire, Currents, and Bad Omens. The three earlier bands complemented INK’s style in content, theme, and energy while each band maintained its own unique edge. There was never a moment where we wished they would wrap it up so we could move on to INK. It was all good and, for the most part, clipped along at a perfect pace. Prior to INK’s set, we picked up some CDs and merch from the other bands which is always a good sign that we were impressed.

INK’s setlist for the Ft. Wayne show was mainly material from their two most recent Billboard chart-topper albums, The Silver Scream and the newly released Silver Scream 2: Welcome to Horrorwood. Although the band has a hefty six-album catalog, the only other album represented during the show was Every Trick in the Book via “Communion of the Cursed” which did not stray from the horror-packed theme of the show as the song is inspired by the book, The Exorcist. While Every Trick in the Book was inspired by classic literary works, the band was influenced by classic horror films for both Silver Scream and Silver Scream 2. So, it was no surprise that the band’s theatrical stage show was an homage to the films and book that inspired the songs. Films such as It, A Nightmare on Elm Street, American Psycho, The Evil Dead were woven into the stage show through video and live-action vignettes. And, while the Hip to Be Scared Tour staging involves popular kitschy gore stories, the music is certainly not gimmicky nor formulaic. The tunes are catchy and intense in all the right places.

At Piere’s, INK resonated fierce and thrilling. There wasn’t a bad sound spot in the venue and everything seemed perfectly mixed. Speaking of the mix, the sold-out crowd could have been considered an additional band member. They knew and spewed every lyric. And, although INK’s prolific production of theme-driven videos enhances the sing-along value of their music, the fact that this collective crowd gleefully screamed back the lyrics to virtually every song including those from Silver Scream 2 (available only since mid-October), speaks to the hook and fanatical appeal of the music without visuals.

Props and thanks to the tour crew and the crew at Piere’s including security. All were professional, kind, and hella fun. The experience could have been intense in a packed venue, but it was a ghoulishly good time. Welcome to Horrorwood indeed!