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A massive modern rock show with
metallic riffs and epic undertones

House of Blues
Chicago, IL
November 15, 2009
Skillet Skillet Skillet

Story and photos by Andy Argyrakis

For a group with over a decade in action, Skillet's truly hit a stride over the past three years since the release of its gold selling album Comatose (Atlantic), which found the foursome hitting the road with the likes of Breaking Benjamin, Three Days Grace, Seether and Flyleaf (amongst several headlining runs). And while many bands choke under the pressure of a blockbuster, this Kenosha-based band of metallic modern rockers has certainly risen to the challenge, finding its new release on the same label Awake debuting impressively at #2 on Billboard.

As a result of such phenomenal success, the group had no problem selling out the House of Blues Chicago, but the program actually resembled a mini-arena show instead of merely a club gig. Anyone who caught the band last time through can attest to intense production, but this round, there was even more smoke, sparks and strings. Yes, Skillet, pulled a mini orchestra in tow to re-create the grander of both aforementioned albums, similar to the larger than life approach of My Chemical Romance channeled through an industrialized Nine Inch Nails.

Opening cuts "Whispers In the Dark" and "Better Than Drugs" blasted off the night with aggressive riffs, icy keys and monstrous harmonies, while "It's Not Me It's You" exploded with additional adrenaline. Last album's smash single "The Older I Get" spoke of front man John Cooper's ongoing reconciliation with his troubled upbringing, accompanied by a poignant cello part, though the pace quickly picked back up to full throttle come "Hero."

Never ashamed of its metal-influenced power ballads, Skillet also turned to "Yours To Hold" to interject a slow dance into the party. Nonetheless, it was the tour's title track "Awake and Alive" and current hit "Monster" that truly blew the roof off the hometown show, establishing Skillet's place as a bona fide rock band that truly knows how to pace a set, pleasing its "Panheads" of each era every step of the way.

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