Skillet – Powerstation: April 13, 2024 (Concert Review)

2018 was the last time Skillet graced our shores. I was there when they played banger after banger of big stadium rock anthems. Tonight was more of the same, but there was no contempt in the familiar. Instead, the multi-award-winning Christian rock band had a loyal fan following that knew all the words, were ready to rock and while more appreciative than diverse, really did know how to show that appreciation.

The Powerstation is an intimate venue for such a huge international band. As always, the staff were incredible. The crowd were split into R18 downstairs and underage upstairs. My only complaint is that there’s little room in the first row of the balcony, so for most upstairs the view is an obstructed one. Despite all the kids, the tall adults were really good at getting to the front, so glimpses of the band were few and far between and I had to move around to see them all.

I’ve brought along my son Aslan, who as a drummer helps with more detailed technical info on what Jen is up to. He reminds me that last time Ledger’s technique and timing were impeccable as she instigated the breakdowns with her legendary percussion style. He wonders whether they’ll play their old favourites like Monster and Invincible or concentrate on the new Dominion album.

The Jury & The Saints

In support was The Jury & the Saints, a 3-piece band who last played Auckland 15 years ago, despite being based here. They’ve played Europe more recently, but were clearly excited to be opening for Skillet. They had an The Jury & The Saintsinteresting mix of humour and devotion, being that they are a local Christian rock band.

The drums are the loudest, heavy on the cymbals, one of which has been ground smooth on the edge to repair a crack. Vocals are taking a backseat to start and are slightly murky but full of energy. After just 1 song the lights go up, flash-banging the crowd. They joke around about the lead singer being Phil Collins, and how they usually headline at RSAs, generally having fun with each other. The later songs have vocals more upfront with a better mix and a full rock sound. They have big choruses and high energy, bouncing around the stage, hyping us all up.


There’s a small amount of pfaffing around before the main event. The audience moving in closer and vying for position. A roar goes up as Skillet take the stage. First song up is indeed one of their most popular, Invincible, an anthemic banger that gets the crowd going immediately. Jen Ledger is thrashing the drums like they owe her money, her high voice juxtaposed with John Cooper’s bass gravelly one, while Korey Cooper’s choreography stops and starts in rhythm with Jen’s percussion and Seth Morrison builds up the wall of noise. The audience claps and sings along. They know this one and sing every word.

SkilletA consummate frontman, John directs the audience into shouting “Rise!’ for the band’s number 2 song of the same name. The smoke machine for Surviving the Game is insane. Arm mounted on John’s guns, the smoke billows out, covering the band and the crowd. I really need to know where to get arm mounted smoke cannons, they look sick.

For a smaller venue, it produces a big stadium sound. The drums on the outro reach a crescendo that reminds me of the rapid-fire sound of Brad Wilks from Rage Against the Machine at the end of Killing in the Name. Fast, powerful, perfectly timed, and loud. Jen must be a cyborg because the physicality of the drumming seems impossible from such a small human. By the time they play the aptly named Legendary, the smell of sweat is rising from the mosh pit. Arms are pumping up and down, people jumping around, this is going to be a workout.

Despite breaking a mic stand, John is in control. A cello is brought on and Tate Olsen opens for Awake and Alive, where the loud/quiet pairing has a nice progression. It’s interesting to see the cello, but there’s not a lot of hearing it as it blends with the overall sound of Skillet.

The sound is heavy rock and metal, the Christianity informing the lyrics and mitigating the aggression of the music. It’s energetic and heavy, but not angry. Seth’s guitar solos are fast and proficient, with finger tapping and occasional screeching, tortured sounds not foreign to metal.


Back From The Dead reminds me of Metallica, and by now Seth and Korey are up on the risers, with heroic stances, punk attitudes and in Korey’s case, an edgy goth look with purple hair and tattoo sleeves. Her husband John sports these also. He reminds us that this is their last gig, in a voice that appears to be disappearing while talking, but is strong and powerful while singing, it’s a neat trick. JC the frontman gives a shout out to the big JC Skilletwho is the inspiration behind his music, not shying away from their identity as a Christian band, credit where credit is due, they’ve won a tonne of awards and downloads in the millions.

Their sound is full, heavy and with a bass you can feel in your heart. Clearly their heart is in it. The band shows a positive attitude that makes it obvious they feel privileged to do this for a living. John throws up his goats on the last song, a surprising nod to the other side. As the last notes die away, the crowd begins to chant, “One more song!”

I can’t see one on the setlist I’ve been given, but the band dutifully return to deliver one last absolute banger, Resistance, the refrain, “This is how we rise up!” taken up by all of us. John tells us they’re headed back home to yesterday, referencing Aotearoa’s unique place in the world, in the near future for everyone else. The gig was rock with a slight difference. No bad behaviour, no wafting smell of pot, just good fun, loud music and heavy, heavy riffs.

Andra Jenkin and Aslan Shine

Click on any image to view a photo gallery by Chris Zwaagdyk:


The Jury & The Saints: