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  • Devilskin - Gig Review: Devilskin, Halestorm & City of Souls @ Logan Campbell Centre, Auckland - 7/01/2017
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Devilskin - Gig Review: Devilskin, Halestorm & City of Souls @ Logan Campbell Centre, Auckland - 7/01/2017

11 Jan 2017 // A review by Sarah Sampson

What an EPIC gig to kick start my 2017 year of gig attendance! Being on the first weekend of January I didn’t expect a very big turn out as Auckland is a ghost town normally at this time of year, but I was proven wrong with over 1000 Rockers in attendance at the Devilskin, Halestorm and City of Souls Gig at the Logan Campbell Centre in Auckland on the 7th January. It was a show of many firsts for me – the venue and first time seeing Halestorm and City of Souls, I most definitely wasn’t disappointed with amazing lightshows for all the bands, high energy sets and plenty of distortion.

The first band to take the stage was Auckland band City of Souls, which is a band name I have heard a lot of over the last year or two, and a band that I HAD to check out live. After knowing Steve, Trajan and Corey from their work in other notable bands – In Dread Response and 8 Foot Sativa (to name a few), I knew that it would be a good show. I wasn’t disappointed! Often bands with atmospheric backing music on recordings loose the ambience in a live setting, but this didn’t happen with this new powerhouse 6-piece.

Initially, during their cover of Love Will Tear Us Apart I thought the crowd were maybe saving their energy for the later bands, but after their original White Ghost, I was proven very wrong indeed and the crowd came to life with a lot more energy. This could have also been because Trajan (who is known for his on stage antics) walked off the stage right up to the barrier for a guitar solo above the crowd, which the crowd LOVED and from there on out the crowd was full of the energy I had been expecting.

City of Souls’ perfect blend of harmonies, doom rifts, solos, double kicks and atmospheric guitar tones got this metal head hooked m/ If you haven’t seen them live yet then you are definitely missing out!  You can get their music online from iTunes and you can check out their music and videos on Facebook and YouTube. 

Next up was Halestorm from Red Lion, Pennsylvania. I have to admit I wasn’t very familiar with their music other than checking out some of their videos on YouTube before the show. The first thing that struck me with Halestorm was when Lizzy opened her mouth and started singing…. I immediately got a shiver down my spine and goosebumps all over my arms. Lizzy has one of the most amazing, soulful, beautiful and powerful voices I’ve ever had the pleasure of hearing live. The recordings and videos on YouTube most definitely do not do her vocal range justice.   

Hailstorm’s set was high energy and judging from the crowd response they played a lot of crowd favourites as everyone was singing along, which instantly made me regret my lack of knowledge of the songs. When Lizzy stopped the band to address the crowd instead of doing the usual welcome talking to the crowd she instead sang the welcome and REALLY got the crowd going and got them singing back to her. This was followed by the drum solo. This was the best drum solo I have seen since Tommy Clufetos from Black Sabbath, which was my favourite international gig of 2016. 

Finally the headliners of the evening – Devilskin took the stage. I hadn’t seen them for two years, since they played at a Music in Parks event in Auckland and before that in 2011 at the Beyond the Black New Year’s festival in Wellington.  I’ve always been a huge Devilskin supporter, I say supporter, because until Saturday I wasn’t a fan, I respected them but sat on the fence comfortably acknowledging their success so far and being proud of my old friend Paul, but I am now proudly part of the Devilskin Army and I have a new hoodie and singlet top to prove it.

I first saw Devilskin at The Rising Sun Bar on K’rd in 2010 then again in 2011 at Black Salt Bar in New Lynn. If I had been asked to do a review of those early shows I would have mentioned how high energy and promising the shows were but would have had to mention how sometimes Jennie struggled to maintain the power behind the growls or long notes (not anymore!!). It has been amazing watching Devilskin go from where so many bands have been, playing small pubs to 20 people, too 6 years later playing to 1000 screaming fans who know the words to the songs and chant along to them. 

As soon as the first note sounded when Devilskin took the stage the energy in the room was ecstatic and brimming with excitement. They started with crowd favourite Start A Revolution and instantly the crowd threw themselves into the show, singing along at the top of their lungs – mirroring the high energy that Devilskin put into their show – out of all the bands Devilskin used the entire stage jumping off the drum riser and Paul and Nail regularly swapping sides with each other. Devilskin definitely had the best sound of the night which is something that really bugs me about some of the larger gigs where the headliners get a better mix of sound that the support bands. In this case on Saturday the bass and kick drums were definitely muddy with the first two bands (especially the kick drums during the solos – muffled and muddy) which is my only critique of the event.

Highlights of Devilkin’s set for me was Elvis Presley Circle Pit which they dedicated to City of Souls – it was the first time I had seen it performed live and it is one of the songs I’ve always liked while The Rock was pumping Little Pills and Start A Revolution I was wishing they would play EPCP. I even got in trouble starting one of my radio shows with the song because of the early time frame and swearing – no regrets!

The most personally touching and significant song for me was Never See The Light which was written for Shoki – the bassist for NZ Metal Legends Cripple Mr Onion (made all the more poignant for me after seeing Cripple Mr Onion at 3 out of their 5 last ever NZ Shows last year) and was also dedicated to Richard ‘Dreads’ Pearce, who passed away last year and is greatly missed by the NZ Metal Community. I felt so many different emotions – I wanted to cry and but also felt ecstatically happy to be surrounded by people all singing along and moshing and head banging (sorry for the people around me when I pushed up to the front of the crowd for the song). Shoki your heart is indeed still with us and you will continue to always live on in those who you touched with your music. 

The other notable song from Devilskin was just after Never See The Light and it was Fade these songs are both off their 2014 release We Rise. Fade suits Jenny’s vocal style perfectly and was another song that gave me chills and goosebumps. The rest of the set was mostly from their new release Be Like The River, which I am not that familiar with but will most definitely be purchasing sooner than later. 

From here my notes from the night read ‘I wish I could feel like this all the time and head banging and epicness from here on out’ m/ m/ and it most definitely was a night of head banging and epicness.

For me it doesn’t always matter of the genre of music it is the bass and drum beat which attracts me to an artist. Tonight had 3 of the best live Rock bands I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing. Members of City of Souls and Devilskin have been a strong part of my music journey working with bands in NZ and I’m so incredibly proud of how far they have come. To all the people who don’t like Devilskin and haven’t seen them…. Do yourself a favour and get out to one of their gigs – you will not be disappointed, and even pleasantly surprised – like me you might even find yourself a fan. As I write this review it’s Monday afternoon, two days after the show and my body feels like I’ve been in a Death Metal mosh pit – be prepared for the carnage (I wasn’t).

My only regret from Saturday night?  Is that the show had to end.

 

About Devilskin

Devilskin is a four piece band from Hamilton New Zealand formed in June 2010, they already have guts, class, kudos and confidence. The sum total of a determined and accomplished group of musicians who know what they want, the music is organic, dynamic and real.

The band features the spectacular Jennie Skulander on lead vocals. Her powerful and compelling voice and alluring stage presence sets her apart from any vocalist New Zealand has put up so far. With an unerring gift for melody, Jennie's incredible voice sweeps from whisper to roar, rips with power, drips with melody and captivates with sincerity.

Jennie previously fronted Rotorua band Slipping Tongue garnering a swathe of fans with their videos, EPs and album. Slipping Tongue also impressed many when they opened for Coheed & Cambria in 2008.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Devilskin

Releases

Be Like The River
Year: 2016
Type: Album
Buy Online @ Mightyape
We Rise
Year: 2014
Type: Album
Buy Online @ Mightyape
Live At The Powerstation
Year: 2014
Type: DVD

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