Review by Jo Lloyd and photos by Mark Lloyd
With fifteen years of relentless touring under their belts, and recently making headlines when album Awake was one of only three rock albums to be certified platinum in 2012, it’s about time that Skillet finally get to headline their own UK tour.
After hearing rave reviews on opening act Martyr De Mona following their last appearance at Wolverhampton’s Wulfrun Hall promoting debut album Impera, I have to say my expectations were high. Unfortunately I wasn’t as blown away as I’d hoped. There is definitely a raw energy about the band that has so much promise and I’m not sure, but I felt as though vocalist Louis Hale was having a few issues hitting a some of the high notes. That being said, ‘Influence and Persuasion’ featuring a monster guitar solo from Ant Ricket went down a storm. My personal favourite track was new song and anthem ‘Gravity Breaks’ which finally resulted in the crowd getting involved clapping along. I know that MDM are a hard working band and I really hope the continue climbing the ladder as there is clearly something there.
I’ve seen local lads Liberty Lies several times over the last twelve months and I was so happy to see that they have taken some recent constructive criticism on board and have come back stronger and more powerful than ever. Shaun’s vocals have a real knack of surprising me every time I hear him sing. With a support slot with Magnum later in the year and new single ‘Fracture’ getting featured on Planet Rock on Saturday, I’m glad to see them stepping up their game. The local crowd clearly loved the energy from the lads and Shaun is an expert at working the crowd resulting in deafening screams of people wanting to see them again. Well done boys!
After playing the main stage at this years Download Festival and some incredible support slots, Skillet played the second of only three dates in the UK to a packed out crowd.
Being a new name to me, I had absolutely no idea what to expect but I was more than pleasantly surprised. Knowing only that they were a Christian rock band, I tried to go with an open mind and if you didn’t know that the lyrical content was religious you really wouldn’t have a clue. With ridiculous amounts of energy, vocalist and founding member John Cooper is an incredible front man. Kicking straight in with ‘Whispers In The Dark’ the Panheads (the name for Skillets fans) went crazy and continued to do so throughout the entire gig. There is such an amalgamation of styles in the set that’s it’s easy to see how they appeal to such a diverse crowd. From the techno beats of ‘Sick Of It’ to the incredible strings on ‘Awake And Alive’ to the hard hitting riffs on ‘Monster’ there really is something for everyone. The songs are catchy and the energy palpable.
Clearly enjoying taking time out of the performance to converse with the fans was a big plus as Cooper regaled stories of talking to people in the local KFC and seeing a few familiar faces that had travelled down after the Glasgow show the night before.
Finishing the main set with their 2010 hit ‘Monster’ met with a wall of noise from the crowd before their incredible encore kicked off with magical cello and violin solos before closing the night with their 2006 hit ‘Rebirth’.
I love walking out of a gig feeling like I’ve just witnessed something magical and I truly had. Their latest album Rise has been playing non-stop in my car ever since!