here is your hero!
Skillet @ Big Top Luna Park, Sydney NSW Australia 15/11/2018 written by Brendan Lewis.
There once was a time, when a monster ruled us all, tore down the resistance we held, before a mighty hero lay rest to the monsters’ tyranny. Today, a new band of heroes we must call upon once more, as the beast was undefeated, merely in a comatose state, dormant, but now, is out of hell once again, and is very much awake and alive in us all! Who will rise, not give in to the whispers in the dark? Who will say “I’m sick of it, I want to live, and I’m not gonna die today!”?
Perhaps the stars will align and US hard-rock Avengers Skillet, with their return after seven years will finally lay waste to the darkness in us all?...
An enigmatic spacey effect swirling around a thunderous boom, ignites the flowing light of excitement within the crowd for the first song, ‘Feel Invincible’. The marching charge of the drums marches in the songs’ godly commanding musical essence, with both male and female vocals sitting atop the cataclysmic guitar and bass perfectly! Both lead male vocalist John and leading female vocalist Jen’s vocals seem exact to the recording, and bring perfect justice to said recordings, which is especially astonishing as John’s rough-edged vocal bite would be rather difficult to produce to an exact on the live front.
The fight really takes charge now with the next three songs, ‘Whispers In The Dark’, ‘Sick Of It’ and the aggression progression, like Hulk smashing his way through the sea of enemies, ‘Rise’. Wild lights shoot rapidly around the stage, like laser guns, while John commands the crowds full attention, and instructs us accordingly, with his energetic on-stage presence and engaging gestures to the crowd like the honorable Captain America. The synthesised strings in ‘Whispers In The Dark’ and ‘Rise’, don’t pack an adequate punch in the sound mix, to drive the musical charge home sufficiently, however this minor fault does not draw ones main focus thanks to John’s perfectly executed vocals and the otherwise without-fault sound mix. Captain America, I mean, John, now gets us ready to jump at the count of four, for when the beat drops, which builds up the excitement for the already euphoric energy-filled shockwave beat. Once John has us carrying out his commands of energy, John jumps off the stage to bring the blazing hot energy loop between him and his fans, to the people and thus reaching climactic levels! Striking while the energy still burns brightly in a continuous loop between John and the crowd, John returns to the stage in the bridge section of ‘Sick Of It’ to rev us all up with a frustration filled/inspirational pep-talk, before the songs final charge and explosive finale, with erupting bass that I can feel surge throughout my body, yet doesn’t extinguish all other sounds surprisingly! This defiant energy surge leads the path perfectly for the revolution uprising of ‘Rise’.
For the next two musical charges, ‘Lions’ and ‘Back From The Dead’, the mood of the music takes on a lighter feel. ‘Lions’ brings a more pleasant major-key tone. Yet still has John’s iconic sharp-edged bite to his vocals, yet its vocal hooks swing and glide like Spiderman, from chorus to chorus, weaving in and out of the brighter tone. INCOMING!!! ‘Back From The Dead’ smashes onto the scene explosively, in a Hulk thrash-like uplifting hard-rock beat, clearing the way for the perfectly in-sync guitar and bass teamwork, like Iron Man and War Machine, with their adoring fans chanting and fist pumping amidst the mayhem.
Like all movies, or at least action movies, there’s the big action heroic scenes in the first half after you’ve been hooked in by the unfolding story, then a complication, a challenge, the “oh no!” moment. Well, the way the band start ‘Awake And Alive’ stripped back, illuminating the sorrowful synth and keys, while John and Jen’s dual vocals’ aura resonates with a bitter-sweet ache, is truly mesmerizing and perfectly positioned in this chaotic high-energy rock gig, just like the “oh no!” moment of an action film.
The musical infinity war rages on fiercely with undying energy and courage littered throughout, but after all , it’s not how big your energy and courage is, it’s how you use it. The little things go a long way I find, like being connected with the audience constantly, poised ready to strike them back with humour and interactivity such as noticing a blind reviewers sign “Drumstick 4 blind guy plz?!”, while he juggles his notepad and pen, taking multi-tasking for most men to a whole new level, and asks said blind guy “do you want a drumstick?”, then throws him one….. I think he missed the “blind” part of the sign. On top of that, dedicating the inspirational ‘Not Gonna Die’ to a fan in which the band met before the gig who’s fighting cancer, and just humbly answering to call outs from the audience. Just like how not every action movie wins your heart over, it’s the charming, humourous and quirky charisma of The Avengers that win our hearts, and it’s the same with a rock gig.
So, when the band dish out fan favourites like ‘Comatose’, ‘Hero’ and ‘Monster’ (which gets everyone jumping), all with now perfect sound mixing for all sounds even synth/keys and the band thank us profusely and finish with an encore of ‘The Resistance’, after ‘Rebirthing’, which both have extravagantly huge rock out finishes which I swear verge on breaking the sound system, that’s what I call a PG-rated happy ending!
Where was I going with The Avengers theme you ask? Well, like the band said in the show, we all have our demons and the dark struggles in life great or small, and say what you will about these guys, yes, they’re a Christian band, but, this is not about religion, it’s about the power of music and how it brings people together and helps us forget the darkness in our day-to-day lives.
I for one forgot about the darkness in my life thanks to this highly enjoyable show, did you in the past ten minutes or so of reading this?...