Devilskin with Tadpole – The Powerstation: June 29, 2024

Devilskin rocked Auckland’s Powerstation last night along with a (somewhat) reunited Tadpole. We sent Andra Jenkin off to check it out. Here is her report along with photos by Michael Jeong.

For me the night starts when right opposite the gig, I’m forced to squeeze into a park so tight, and need so much help that by the time I crowbar myself into the spot I get a standing ovation from the queue and have to take a bow.

All of west Auckland appear to have been tipped into the PowerStation, for a full-noise heavy rock event. There’s a massive set up of gear for the 3 bands who will play over 3 and a half hours of guitar shredding, vocal screaming, drum wailing madness.

Skinny Hobos

Skinny HoboFirst up, the Skinny Hobos, with guest, Laura Thompson, on bass. 8 months pregnant she gives no quarter. The band is heavy with elements of funk, full drums and a surprisingly full guitar/bass sound whether they are playing as a 3 piece, or a duo. Thompson doesn’t stay around, and my brother Jeff and I take different sides on whether or not she’s offstage playing, or whether there’s pre-recorded bass, (Jeff wasn’t sure) or whether Alex ‘Elvis’ Ferrier, is doing the work of all the strings alone (this was my take). The song gets thrashy at the crescendo and there’s friendly banter from drummer, Sam ‘Texas’ Holdom.

The music for the intermission starts with Rage Against the Machine’s Take the Power Back, and I will never not mention that Zach de la Rocha is one of the greatest civil rights leaders of my generation. Tadpole is coming up and once people file back in from vaping, or sneaking an illicit doobie outside the venue, the crowd, already previously packed in, has just about doubled in size.


TadpoleThe main difference for Tadpole this time round is that we are absent Renee Brennan and Emma Dilemma takes the lead vocals. Acquitting herself well, Dilemma has plenty of energy and good chops. Fans rate both singers and there appears to be no animosity in the line-up change with the band letting us all know that Renee had their blessing for the reunion tour even if they didn’t have her voice.

The first few songs are quick and good, ranging from hard rock to punk pop. Heavy bass and high vocals. Having heard Tadpole live a few times the songs sound familiar and nostalgic. The word from the mic tells us that they’re aiming for a trip down memory lane. They hit the mark. Just Not Rock n Roll is hard, fast and heavy, and Emma Dilemma delivers it will a lot of attitude.

The tone, pace and sound is consistent and the band work together as a unit. They have fun with Better Days and the 5 piece clearly have a good rapport. Phones and arms are waving during the banger we all remember from back in the day, No Man. Ending on the crowd pleaser, Alright.


The crowd are all in their heavy metal finest. Many have partaken of the merch table and sport Devilskin gear. But there’s also Metallica, Disturbed and I definitely coveted a Nightmare before Christmas hoodie. Plenty of skulls, skeletons and tattoos adorn the audience who are all hyped up and ready for the main event.

DevilskinThen it goes black. This intermission has more anticipation. My brother Jeff and his wife Danielle are horrified I haven’t seen Devilskin before. Danielle has them on her concert priority list and assures me that Jennie Skulander is a bad ass, with a voice that cannot be overrated. She’s a powerhouse of harmonics and metal and is just the best, she declares. Jeff says she started out singing more death metal and thrash, but agrees she has power and range and hopes to hear her excellent rendition of Barracuda. They tell me she has a kid in primary school and now I’m mad. Seriously? Unless there’s a crossroads demon involved, Jennie Skulander is overachieving and making us all look bad.

Running with the Devil plays, the smell of pot floats through the venue and red laser lights shine across the stage. Opening with Nic Martin’s drums, which are so heavy you can feel them through the floor, Jen strides on carrying a hand smoke cannon. The twin red beards of Paul Martin (bass) and Nail Vincent (guitar) are epic. Weirdly, dressed and styled alike they appear to be clones of each other, but it is Paul who is the father of Nic on drums.

Let’s not mess about. The vocals are strong. Legendarily so. Danielle tells me Disturbed had Jennie Skulander singing with them on tour and it’s no wonder. She has an incredible vocal range and unbelievable power. Just for fun, she’s also technically accurate and I daresay, has perfect pitch. Its one of those instances where you can’t ignore the talent of the lead. She sounds like she’s in an arena and barely needs the mic. Don’t get me wrong, shredding on the guitar occurs, the bass is fast and tight and technically, the strings are brilliant. The drummer is relentless, as a drummer should be, literally shaking the whole place with energy and power. But Jennie Skulander is something else.


Having done break falls in ninjitsu this week, and properly breaking myself, I was sitting when I first heard the guttural low vocal screaming through the mic, and attributed the noise to one or both of the blokes. Nope. That too is Skulander. Add this bass so low that you feel it in your guts, to the almost operatic highs and the powerful mid-range, and I’m really curious about how many octaves this woman has. It’s a mystery to me how Jen gets enough oxygen to power out her vocals while wearing a corset, but she could start a hurricane if she chose to. When she speaks it’s clear she’s from the Waikato and has a Kiwi accent. But to me it seems unimaginable that she’s even from Earth.

DevilskinStart a Revolution is all hard and heavy, but variable. Slow/fast. Guitar and bass know how to take a backseat to the vocals and how to shine. The strings are so technically perfect it’s technically maths as well as music. Drums are hectic. So much so the vibration through the venue threatens to loosen our fillings. There is an absolutely epic drum solo, during which I get the impression Nic could do this for weeks. It’s a feat of strength as well as an incredible sound. Together the band is energetic, high res and high rizz. This is talent that has put in its 10,000 hours and have gained a mastery over sound. The guitar also gets a face-melting solo. The rest of the band take a break while finger picking good sounds happen.

My brother tells me half of the band will play with Blindspott at The Rock 2000 live event Friday 13 September in Auckland at Spark Arena, while Danielle says Jen will be doing Led Zeppelin covers in Come Together 2024.

Hats off to the Skinny Hobos, and going down memory lane with Tadpole was a trip, but Skulander schooled us all on how heavy metal is done. To perform Barracuda after full throat vocals for an hour and a quarter already is insane. The woman is a cyborg. If I was the devil I wouldn’t challenge any member of that band to a musical duel. Let alone the singer with the voice of an angel in Devilskin.

Andra Jenkin

Click on any image to view a photo gallery by Michael Jeong:



Skinny Hobos: