Cold: A Night of Redemption at The Icon

by Grant Wentzel

“Who here has been saved by Scooter?”

From the front row came the question, as a lady flagged down the attention of Scooter Ward, lead-man of nu-metal stalwarts Cold, late last Friday night at ICON Lounge

She yelled up, “Can I ask just one thing?” as Scooter leaned in with the microphone — easy to do as he spent most of the night looming inches from his communing fans at the edge of the stage. She then popped her question about salvation, about life having new meaning after the wasted years, after all that’s gone away. The crowd roared back in solidarity. 

She was not alone that night. She had her people. She had Scooter. And tonight he was there, always in their hearts and now alive in their midst. 

Ed and Scooter of Cold. Photo by Grant Wentzel.

It’s easy to overlook Active Rock lifers grinding out tours decades after their initial success. Line-ups change. Trends come and go. Relevance slips. Years go by without new music, shows, or often any news whatsoever. But that misses the enduring core of Cold’s sound: tough on the outside, their music bleeds out with every beat. 

Cold celebrated the 20th anniversary of The Year Of The Spider, their third and biggest album, with a celebratory tour. They tore through most of the record roughly in order, adding a few songs, and building to a crowd-satiating five-song encore.

“What keeps you going?” we asked Scooter and guitarist Ed Cuozzo before the show. “We wouldn’t do it if we didn’t love it!” said Scooter enthusiastically. With five shows left, they were deep in their mid-tour stride. Ed, also of the band University Drive, was ready for the night. “It’s been a great tour. We love places like this, more of an art space,” he said referring to The Icon, where there’s no gap between the music and the fans. 

Scooter channeled that intimacy. He bared all, telling the real-life stories behind the music: tales of looking after abused fans who followed “Cold as therapy,” the cancer that cut down his sister, sharing a bittersweet backstage bottle with Layne Staley, of walking on the beach with suicide on his mind and gun-at-the-ready when a “satanic” storm whipped up from the ocean, shocking him back to remembering that he needed to be there for his baby girl.

She’s now 18, and running the merch table on the tour. Her dad’s still by her side, always there for her, for all of us. As Scooter said, “I write the music to help me deal with the bullshit, and I’m grateful that it helps you too.”

Openers Divide The Fall were closing in on home territory while playing their first show in Sioux Falls. From Minneapolis, the radio-ready rock/metal combo’s been having a crazy good time opening for Cold.

Divide The Fall perform at ICON Lounge, May 19, 2023. Photo by Grant Wentzel.

“We’ve been up for 36 hours ’cause we drove straight through from Denver last night just to be with you! From the bottom of our hearts, we love you!” they yelled to the crowd. 

Even on zero sleep, and with a guitarist who had to play perched on a stool while suffering from a leg injury, there was nothing that could slow these guys down. Their combination of infectious smiles and heavy riffs surely won some fans who’ll be back for the next show.

A huge shout-out to our local favorites, Pray For Villains, who kicked off the night with a proper metal bang. Catch them at Four Winds Fest on the Friday line-up this July.

Big thanks to J-Rail and Pray for Villains. Photos by Sonja O’Steen.

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