SKILLET & ALTER BRIDGE Bring ‘Victorious Sky Tour’ To Minnesota [Review & Photo Gallery]

One of the more interesting tour packages this fall hit the Myth Live in Maplewood, Minnesota. It featured a co-headlined bill with Skillet and Alter Bridge, along with Dirty Honey, who are just starting to make some serious waves across the musical landscape. The tour was dubbed the ‘Victorious Sky Tour’ and fans packed into the venue to see a great show.

Dirty Honey is a rock band from Los Angeles, California. The band features Marc Labelle (vocals), John Notto (guitar), Justin Smolian (bass), and Corey Coverstone (drums). If you have been paying attention, there has been a rock resurgence of sorts with a number of young bands reaching back and pulling in influences from classic rock legends. Dirty Honey has been making themselves known by getting in front of as many people as possible and showcasing their material. It was short set but they made every second count. Opening with “Scars” got people moving with the groove and “Break You” kept the energy going. The vocals were crisp with a lot of flavor that worked in unison with the infectious riffs and melodies of the songs, especially “Heartbreaker.” If your looking for one song to define the bands sound, attitude, and undeniable addictive bite, then give “When I’m Gone” a listen. The song has appeared on Billboard Mainstream Rock Songs chart and in the live setting it’s a rocker. Closing out the set was “Rolling 7s” and that is another great song that comes across even stronger from the stage. Seeing these guys was a real treat and it’s a band that is easy to root for. Rock needs these young bands to continue to develop and bring fans back into the rock arena.

Next up with Alter Bridge. The band was formed from the ashes of Creed, as Mark Tremonti (guitar), Brian Marshall (bass), and Scott Phillips (drums) recruited singer Myles Kennedy and released their debut album ‘One Day Remains’ in 2004. They are now set to release their sixth studio album, ‘Walk The Sky’, on October 18 and they gave the crowd an immediate taste of that record when they opened with “Wouldn’t You Rather.” It was the first of three new songs played with “Pay No Mind” and “Take The Crown.” Alter Bridge sound was so thick and dense that it felt they created a sonic barrier that you could not penetrate.  “Addicted To Pain” pulverized everything in its path; the heaviness of it could be felt moving through the crowd. Most people know the talent Tremonti is on guitar, but what many may not know is just how good Kennedy can play. He is a complete force and the tradeoffs of riffs and solos between the two showcases the chemistry they have together. “Cry Of Achilles” was a highlight with its incredible dynamics in the song and addicting chorus with a soaring chorus that Kennedy hit perfectly. Some other songs that made the set included “Blackbird,” “Isolation,” “Rise Today,” and they closed with “Open Your Eyes.” Alter Bridge at their basic element is a supercharged modern rock band that inspires both musically and lyrically. They are so good at intertwining melodies with blistering riffs while accompany intriguing lyrics and stories within the songs template. All that came across effortlessly as the four powered through an amazing set.

Whenever you see Skillet on a bill and read the posts about that show, you almost always see “Skillet stole the show,” or “Skillet blew me away.” I had never seen the band play live until now and I can say now, they are a complete blast live. They were already turned to eleven before they hit the stage and then they took it up a couple notches throughout the show. Led by vocalist/bassist John Cooper, Skillet simply took over the venue instantly. Opening with “Feel Invincible” and jumping into “Not Gonna Die” had the crowd jumping right along with guitarist Korey Cooper who didn’t stop moving the whole night. Judging by the line for the bands merchandise before the show started, I knew Skillet had a following, but the passion and engagement throughout the set was impressive. The band released album number ten earlier this year with the title “Victorious” and the crowd was more than ready to hear the lead single off the album, “Legendary.” What caught my ear were the impressive background vocals of drummer Jen Ledger. She was a blast to watch behind the kit and I was amazed she somehow was able to hit those notes in between bobbing her head and pulverizing the drums. She came off the kit and delivered a powerful vocal performance during “Awake and Alive” as well.  John Cooper took some time to speak about the importance of music in his life. How locking himself in his room and listening to ten minutes of Metallica meant everything to him and helped him though many things in his life. He spoke about Chester Bennington of Linkin Park and the pain he felt with his passing. It was a moment that showed the connection between Skillet and their fans as the crowd cheered during his speech. Guitarist Seth Morrison, although not as flamboyant as Korey, handled his parts with skilled perfection and was solid all night. The band ran through “Comatose,” “Monster,” and closed with “The Resistance.”

The ‘Victorious Sky Tour’ was nothing short of spectacular. Dirty Honey certainly lived up to their hype with a great set of music drenched in the basics of rock-n-roll. Alter Bridge was a sonic beast of hard rock that hit you in the chest with its brilliance and execution. I’m now fully on board with Skillet. I’m not sure why I’ve waited so long to catch them live but they are every bit as exciting as their billing suggests. What a fantastic tour!


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