Skillet

support Red Sun Rising
author LF date 13/11/16 venue Amager Bio, Copenhagen, DEN

I first listened to Skillet back in 2006 with their release of "Comatose" and continued through high school with their follow-up from 2009, "Awake". Since then they have released two more albums that haven't managed to stay with me in anything near the same way and thus, I arrive somewhat reluctantly tonight, afraid that I might be disappointed by a set probably full of primarily new material. As it turns out, the band plays a highly professional and also fun set - perhaps not really surprising considering that they are such an experienced band, having been described repeatedly as one of the hardest-working American rock bands out there. On paper at least, we're in for a solid evening of post-grunge and hard rock.

All pictures by Lykke Nielsen

Red Sun Rising

The support on the tour is Red Sun Rising from Akron, Ohio whose music I haven't come across before they were announced here. I'm surprised to see so many people have turned up early tonight as it doesn't seem like the audience knows the songs except for maybe a few people close to the stage. The band is a convincing bunch and they quickly get most to clap and jump along despite it. They play material exclusively from their newest album "Polyester Zeal" while their frontman moves about in a very characteristic manner, shuffling across the stage while swaying and spreading his arms in organic movements. Apart from some guitar problems early on, their sound mix works out fine for the most part and they play through their songs with a no-nonsense kind of attitude. Still, they do just enough to change up their style on stage so it doesn't get boring either, for instance with the bassist and the frontman changing instruments for a while so the bassist can play a cool guitar solo and take center-stage. All in all, a fine opening for the evening.

6

Setlist:

  • 1. Push
  • 2. The Otherside
  • 3. My Muse
  • 4. Amnesia
  • 5. Unnatural
  • 6. Imitation
  • 7. Emotionless

Skillet

The quartet of vocalist/bassist John Cooper, guitarist/keyboardist Korey Cooper, drummer/vocalist Jen Ledger and guitarist Seth Morrison are joined on stage for most of the songs tonight by a cellist (by the name of Tate Olsen, I believe) in a red cloak, which beautifully underlines the many symphonic elements in their more dramatic songs. The almost sold out venue is pretty much boiling from the very beginning when they kick off with the first track of their new album, "Feel Invincible". Despite the sound balance being somewhat off throughout the band's set, I enjoy how the enhancing electronic beats filling up much of the newer stuff are dominated here by a more organic drum sound and guitar distortion. The electronic backing can still be felt in the solid rumbling that many songs deliver but it doesn't overshadow the rest of the instruments. The singing Cooper is notoriously too low in the mix, though. While his voice normally has a rough quality around the edges, it seems like he is straining too much tonight, almost yelling instead of singing, perhaps to compensate for the sound balance and yet he is sometimes close to inaudible.

While the new album, "Unleashed", takes up more space than other albums on the setlist, all of 5 songs from "Comatose" and 3 from "Awake" are played and I get a nice selection of my old favorites "Comatose", "Whispers in the Dark", "Monster", "Hero", and last but not least, the solid "Rebirthing". The band goes about their business very professionally but at the same time, they are smiling all the way through and come across as very genuine and relaxed people, especially the two Coopers (husband and wife for anyone wondering about the connection) who are the most prominent ones from my side of the stage. It's always interesting to see the reaction in Denmark when a US Christian band begins mentioning their faith as I expect it to be awkward every time but apart from some of the more obvious song lyrics, for instance in "Stars", we just get one explicit mention tonight in the lead-in to their hit song "Hero" that gets nothing but solid cheers. The good energy in the room is maintained all the way through with singalongs, jumping and clapping even though I don't seem to be the only one annoyed by the obvious sound problems. Sadly, that is mainly what hinders this show from getting a higher grade as we get an otherwise solid, fun and well-constructed performance by the band.

7

Setlist:

  • 1. Feel Invincible
  • 2. Whispers in the Dark
  • 3. Sick of It
  • 4. Rise
  • 5. Back From the Dead
  • 6. Awake and Alive
  • 7. Not Gonna Die
  • 8. Hero
  • 9. Those Nights
  • 10. Undefeated
  • 11. Comatose
  • 12. The Last Night
  • 13. Stars
  • 14. Out of Hell
  • 15. Monster
  • 16. Rebirthing

- Encore

17. The Resistance

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