Vanilla Ice, who played the 9:30 club Monday night, is an angry man these days. Then again, 15 minutes of fame turned into almost a decade of being a national joke would wreak havoc on just about anybody's disposition. The new Ice has refashioned himself as a skate-punk dude who uses the F-word a lot and who wears a T-shirt that reads "[expletive] the critics."
"Let the music stand for itself!" he screamed between songs.
The music, then: It's not bad, though there's nothing in particular that sets it apart from the heavy-music pack. It's clear that Ice has been spending some of his time in exile listening to Korn, Pantera and Rage Against the Machine. And that he still isn't afraid to steal a decent riff, using Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song" as the basis for one of his new, hard-driving rap/metal pieces.
And yes, he played the song. That song. The one that made us so sick of him once upon a time and still makes it hard to take him seriously. But the new "Ice Ice Baby" (which actually goes by the title "Too Cold" on his latest album, "Hard to Swallow") was, like most of the rest of his set, sung in a tortured scream. Do we forgive him? Maybe not just yet. But you have to credit him for trying.