The Coridian set starts moody and ambient, full of reverb then suddenly plunges into full on high energy noise, with the lead singer, Dity Maharaj, jumping around the stage. This is clear cut heavy rock, optimistic and animated. They have the prowess and the vibe and make good use of the stage with Dity really giving it his all. In fact they’re all jumping around, save the drummer, Kris Raven, who clearly has a limited ability to move around while owning the percussion section. I like what he’s up to; he’s versatile and lightening quick when he wants to be.
There are lots of large theatrical movements which make full use of the kit.
In fact the whole band understands that performance is a part of the gig. Dity introduces Pride, a song about the evils of social media, but asks the crowd to look them up on Facebook and give them a like, the joke lands and as one we all crack up. He’s got us on side.
Nick Raven on bass is every bit as enthusiastic as Hugh Hokopaura was, but next to the antics of his band mates looks more economical in his movements. He’s got a Foos sound at times, and he and Dity do the obligatory head bang together, interacting first with each other, then with the audience.
Completing the triad of Raven brothers is Mike Raven on guitar. He too knows how to rock a crowd, amp up the hype with the singer, and generally master the stage. He can strike a convincing hero pose and thrash with the best of them.
They are all comfortable on stage, and know that the job of support is to get the audience rarked up for the main act. Dity does this well, ‘Who’s up next?’ he demands, and we all shout ‘Skillet. He’s still leaping around and doesn’t let up.
They create melodic, reverberating soundscapes, at times beautiful and interesting, and other times pure rock that would be perfectly at home in an arena. They deserve a lot of radio play.
At the end of their set they take a picture with the audience in the background. I’ve noticed that this crowd aren’t big on throwing up their goats. This makes sense being that the main acts are Christian rock and the goats are a nod to the horns of Satan. There’s some alternate hand signalling going on in the form of fists and a deal that looks like goats, but has the thumb stuck out. But now Coridian is taking the picture and making the forbidden gesture, most of the audience is on board.
The alternate goats is not the only difference between this and the usual concert. Everyone is so patient and friendly. It’s nice, but kind of weird. I can’t see anyone drunk. There’s no waft of pot smoke at any time during the proceedings and no one is trying to look cool, or aggressive or tough. No fights break out, or even threaten to. There’s plenty of tattoos and multi-coloured hair, just no gory devil worshipping t-shirt art. I mean, I’m wearing a skull necklace, but they’re cartoon-like and hardly evil at all.
Skillet is completely unapologetic about being Christian rock and roll and I have no issue with that. I’d prefer that everyone was up for being who they really are to the greatest degree possible.
Let’s face it, musicians get their inspiration from lots of places and no one rolls their eyes when the inspiration comes from love, or drugs, so why not God?
There’s movement on stage, Skillet’s gear is being set up and people are starting to look interested. 9.24pm and everything is running like clock-work. I guess that’s what happens when rock and roll doesn’t get wasted.