Skillet with Sevendust, Pop Evil and Devour The Day
Freedom Hall, Lancaster, PA – 8/14/19
Review and Pictures: Tara Lakatos
Skillet brought down Freedom Hall in Lancaster, PA on August 14, 2019, just 3 days into their Victorious Tour. They are supporting their new album “Victorious” which was released on August 2nd. Skillet brought with them Devour the Day, Pop Evil and Sevendust. What seems like an unlikely pairing between Christian rockers, Skillet, and the hardcore Sevendust actually worked out quite well. I was unsure how the fan bases would mesh since every Sevendust show I have been to have been filled with a crazy amount of moshers and crowd surfers. The crowd, while a little more reserved, had plenty of hair whipping and horns up for all the bands playing. It’s been the case lately, where the show bills have been band heavy that most fans miss the openers, but on this night, the crowd was pretty heavy for all acts. When I arrived at the venue the line of fans was double wrapped around the building.
Devour The Day
Devour the Day consists of Blake Allison (vocals, guitar), Joey Walser (bass) and Ronnie Farris (drums). They opened up the show with a painfully short set. They played 5 songs in about 20 minutes. They performed “Respect”, “Faithless”, “The Censor”, “The Bottom” and closed out the set with one of their biggest hits, “Good Man”.
The band played well, Joey had tons of energy and stage presence, and Blake’s vocals were great. 20 minutes in my opinion is not nearly enough time as a fan to get totally engrossed in the music but they enjoyed that taste that they got.
Pop Evil hit the stage next with a very energetic 8-song set. Pop Evil consists of Leigh Kakaty (vocals), Davey Grahs (guitar), Nick Fueling (guitar), Matt DiRito (bass) and Hayley Cramer (drums). I saw them headline a few months ago and even though this set was half the amount of songs, they still packed a punch.
They touched upon several of their hits, new and old, including “Deal with the Devil”, “Torn to Pieces”, “Be Legendary”, “Waking Lions” and closed out their set in a monster way with “Trenches”. When Blake Allison joined Leigh on vocals during “Trenches”, they set the stage on fire and tore apart the crowd. Leigh spent a good portion of the song out in the crowd standing on the hands of a few fans, talk about interaction. The whole band has so much energy, the entire crowd was into their performance whether they were there to see them or not. This was one of the best rock crowds I’ve seen in a bit.
Sevendust was in the role of direct support but this felt like more of a co-headline tour to me. Sevendust consists of Lajon Witherspoon (vocals), Clint Lowery (guitar), John Connolly (guitar), Vince Hornsby (bass) and Morgan Rose (drums). I have seen this band perform many times over the years, and was very much looking forward to this performance. I had seen them in the area last year while they were out with Clutch and I think they just had an off night because the performance was not up to their usual standard.
This night the Sevendust that I had been accustomed to showed up and were ready to rage. They packed in 11 songs that ranged from hard and heavy “Dirty” to a sweet and somber performance of “Angel’s Son” in memory of a fallen fan.
Lajon spent quite a bit of his night standing on the speakers in front of the stage so that he could interact with the fans better. Clint is one of the most passionate guitar players out there; he is always into his performance and leaves everything that he has out on the stage. John and Vince also spent much of the night interacting with the crowd, and playing off of each other. They looked to be having a blast on stage. I say this just about every show and I’ll say it again: Morgan is one of the best drummers and he is always so happy behind the kit. No matter what he has going on off stage, he shows up and thrashes with the world’s biggest smile. Sevendust closed out their set with “Thank You” as they have done for quite some time. They are truly a class act, humble and great to their fans.
Skillet closed out the night in grand fashion. They are on top of the world with their new album “Victorious” that went straight to number one on several charts including Christian and Rock. Skillet consists of John Cooper (vocals, bass), Korey Cooper (guitar), Seth Morrison (guitar) and Jen Ledger (drums). I have nothing but glowing things to say about this band and their performance. Their stage show is phenomenal; it’s filled with great vocals, great musicianship, fire and C02 cannon’s strapped to John’s arms. I am absolutely mesmerized by Korey every time. Her stage presence, energy and performance level are on another planet.
Skillet managed to pack in 14 songs in a little over an hour. They opened up with “Feel Invincible” from their 2016 release “Unleashed Beyond”. This song was just right to get everyone’s blood pumping. John’s thumping bass drives the beat of the song right along with Jen’s sharp drumming. The song while being a rock track, just screams out for you to dance and that is what the fans did.
Their next song was a bit older track “Not Gonna Die” which features a cellist, not something you see every day at a rock show but it definitely adds another over the top element to their performance. Their third song was a new track called “You Ain’t Ready”. This one rides on the tails of “Feel Invincible” as far as how the song sounded. It was rocking but with a bit of pop/dance beat mixed in.
A couple more songs in and they hit on another new track, “Legendary”. This track has Jen’s vocals featured and just plain rips. They also played the title track to the new album “Victorious”. This song was a little softer and a little slower, more on the power ballad side. The song definitely conveys their message. Skillet is a very devout Christian band and while their music has always had that front and center, this track and album make it a bit more evident that their faith and message is growing.
Other songs featured were “Save Me”, “The Resistance”, “Hero”, “Monster” and “Rebirthing” to close out their set. They put on such a great show, whether you follow their faith or not, the songs and their messages are universal. I enjoyed their live performance immensely and cannot wait to see them again in the future. I really recommend picking up “Victorious” and blasting it in the car down the highway. This was a great night of rock music from all bands. The crowd was awesome and really enjoyed themselves; the venue was packed from beginning to end. If this tour rolls through your area it’s a not miss event. If not look out for Skillet in the fall when they hit the road with Alter Bridge.