Skillet, Audio Reign, Lead Worm @ HQ Complex, Adelaide 19/11/2018

Skillet arrive in Adelaide for the very first time and the excitement is palpable. The queue forms down Hindley Street and winds its way through the maze of stairs to the main room where the show will be performed tonight. By the time I gain entry, Lead Worm are already performing to a steadily filling room.

Lead Worm are an Adelaide band who play hard alternative rock. The gruff vocals of Michael Van are backed by a sound which has its origins in the old school grunge and the alternative sound. The half hour set is interspersed with jokes which keep the filling venue entertained.

Audio Reign are also from Adelaide and bring their own brand of rock. The bring the crowd into it early with the audience clapping and singing. There is a touch of Alter Bridge to their music with the melodic solos from Alex Dyrynda being the perfect length to help with the emotive lyrical content sung by Jake Fleming.

As their set continues, the songs get bigger and faster while still staying true to their rock sensibilities. The rhythm section of Ash Lovett on bass and drummer Dieter Schoell hold everything together like a metronome allowing the interaction between Dyrynda and Fleming’s guitars to flourish.

However, most people are here to see Skillet. With multiple platinum albums within their ten album back catalogue, there is no shortage of popular songs tonight. These guys don’t just play though, they put on a show.

Coming out to the bombastic Feel Invincible, the crowd are involved immediately, singing, dancing, pogoing even. Whispers In The Dark is the more of the same, big, anthem stadium rock. In Sick Of It bassist and vocalist John Cooper ditches the guitar and gets the room shaking it’s foundations, imploring us to jump. Behind this is drummer Jen Ledger who is nothing short of a maniac while smashing the skins.

The night very much continues along the same theme, hands raised to sky, mass singing from the audience and a visibly excited band throwing everything they’ve got into it.

Back From The Dead has zombies on the big screen before Ledger comes out front to duet with Cooper on Awake And Alive. There is a cello progressively brought into the show for greater ambience throughout while songs like Hero keeps the room bouncing.

Undefeated and Comatose raise the roof while the band’s ability to cover every piece of stage, thrusting the mike into the fans faces to sing and great light show, keeps everyone hooked.

The music is that big metal American sound perfected by the likes of Nickelback and Five Finger Death Punch and it’s not hard to see how this band have been so successful in the States. Monsters has a drum sound not out of place on a Motley Crüe album before Rebirthing gets the crowd singing so loud they almost drown out the band. The band finish, after a deafening cry for an encore, with The Resistance.

At times, tonight felt like a church gathering, hands raised and the crowd en masse singing every word. What it was though, was a rock show. A great rock show. Visually, sonically, physically spectacular. Skillet have been a long time coming here and to a packed Adelaide HQ, it was worth the wait.

Live Review by Iain McCallum

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