Skillet spreads love and hard rock at The Electric Factory

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Skillet | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN | spotlightviews.com
Skillet | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN | spotlightviews.com

This past Friday, Christian rock band Skillet filled The Electric Factory with a diverse crowd made up of intricately tattooed adults, head banging couples and and families spanning multiple generations — yes, a family friendly general-admission rock show. The band is just beginning the second leg of their “Unleashed” tour, promoting their latest album and celebrating over 20 years as a band. Lead singer John Cooper tried to give the audience a break from politics and sang lyrics with messages that everyone can relate to and interpret in their own way. “I’m not saying that what’s wrong with the world is not enough parents let their kids listen to Skillet…. But it might help” he jokingly noted.

Devour the Day | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN | spotlightviews.com
Devour the Day | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN | spotlightviews.com

Hard-rock band Devour the Day started the show off with the heaviest set of the night. Their energy was contagious, filling the venue with good vibes and music so loud that you can feel it. Lead singer Blake Allison mentioned how excited he was to have been added to the second leg of the tour, a decision I wholeheartedly agree with as they fit right in while still adding a unique and welcome heavier sound. Although short, their set started the show off right and set the tone for two more great bands.

Sick Puppies | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN | spotlightviews.com
Sick Puppies | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN | spotlightviews.com

Sick Puppies only has three members but their lively 9-song set was filled with layers of sound that felt huge. They played a great mix of old and new, incorporating hits like “Maybe” and also playing songs from their latest album, Fury. Vocalist Bryan Scott joined the band almost exactly a year ago but seemed right at home with a vocal style closely matching the original singer’s. Bassist Emma Anzai is the only remaining original member and, in the words of Scott, “the most badass chick in rock n roll.” Their time to really shine came during their last song, a wonderfully vengeful song very appropriately titled “You’re Going Down.”

Skillet started their set off with fan favorite “Feel Invincible,” a song that’s hard not to sing along to and truly makes you feel like you can take on the world. Vocalist John Cooper has the stage presence and talent of a star but the humility and heart of a friend. Despite playing heavier music, this band radiates love and it’s no surprise they have such a large and incredibly dedicated fanbase. Cooper recalled meeting a number of people in the crowd who had seen them well over a dozen times and expressed how much he loves seeing familiar faces. He also noted how unique it is to have a crowd with people of all ages, pointing out a nine-year-old girl and her father in one of the first few rows.

Skillet | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN | spotlightviews.com
Skillet | photo by Tiana Timmerberg for WXPN | spotlightviews.com

The extended intros and outros they added to almost every song gave their set a great flow and showed how much thought was put into every aspect of this tour. Everything from the lighting and stage setup to the setlist and performance was virtually flawless. They brought out cellist Tate Olsen during Awake and Alive, allowing songs from their album “Comatose” to sound exactly as they do recorded and highlighting the incorporation of strings, one of my favorite aspects of their sound. The intro to “Rebirthing” played live with swelling cello and a crowd full of roaring fans is goosebumps inducing in the best way possible.

This tour is very well put together and I’m glad they brought it back for a second leg, adding Devour the Day to the lineup and bringing it to dozens of cities they missed the first time around.

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