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SKILLET w/, Red Gazelle & RedHook
Big Top, Luna Park, Sydney
Thursday 15th November, 2018
There was pushing, there was shoving, there was an unexpected healthy mass of music fans swarming the grounds of Sydney’s Luna Park last night, as hard rock fans gathered to witness Skillet in their first Aussie tour in seven years. It’s been quite the seven years for the Tennessee outfit, and the proof was in the performance.
Before the night’s headliners the crowd were seeing red–literally. Sydney’s own RedHook took to the stage to warm the audience up with fiery riffs and grinding rhythms, frontwoman Emmy Mack commanding the stage with a cruel beauty and unabashed delivery. Definitely ones to watch.
Following in a different shade of red, the Tool-esque vibe of Red Gazelle was a bit of take it or leave it. Sure they’ve got a great sound, impressive vocals, riveting riffs, but you found your attention waning some. Write a different song, Red Gazelle, you’ve got the tools.
Ah, Skillet, Skillet, Skillet … Do not be fooled by the moniker that follows them, these guys can rock! Bursting onto the stage amid a clash of lights and a deep bass drone, Skillet opened with their crash-hot song Invincible, rolling on the throttle for a high speed performance and a ceaseless energy that was almost impossible for the audience to match.
But match they did.
For many in the crowd, after a little investigation from frontman John Cooper amid one of his many breaks to interact breathlessly with his audience, this was the first time many had experienced Skillet live. And yet the way people danced and cheered to massive bangers like Sick Of It and Rise, you’d believe this wasn’t a seasoned collection of Skillet fans. Skillet have a command over their stage and their audience like you’ve not seen before. The sound, the spirit, the sheer power that hits you in the chest when you see arms waving back in time with the beat of Lions is incredible–that song in particular is truly inspiring as it is, but that interaction between fan, band, and the stranger stood next to you that Skillet can entice? Breathtaking.
Drummer and backing vocalist Jen Ledger divvied her time on stage between pummelling her kit and dancing across the stage to sing alongside Cooper, all cuteness and light and clearly overjoyed to see fans singing back at her. Guitarists Korey Cooper and Seth Morrison stood as pillars that rock either side of the stage, completely immersed in the colossal task of giving the fans melodies they could rock to and ultimately, they delivered. And while you might be fooled by the Christian rock label that has followed Skillet across their 22-year tenure (yes, they’ve been around that long), there’s an even bigger message to take away from the furious riffs and pummelling rhythms. Unity.
Doesn’t matter if you’re black, white, straight, queer, girl, guy, or other, the greatest message Skillet bring to their shows is one of unity. United in beautiful, heavy rock ‘n’ roll, Skillet brought love to their fans and had it reciprocated a thousand times over in a surprisingly exhilarating evening that, at the closing of Rebirthing and encore number The Resistance, many were clearly sorry had to end.
Catch Skillet on the remaining dates:
Sat 17 November // Eatons Hill Hotel // Brisbane
Sun 18 Nov // Forum Melbourne // Melbourne
Mon 19 Nov // HQ // Adelaide