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Sunday, March 5

Skillet

Unleashed Tour 2017

Sick Puppies

Devour The Day

6:30 p.m. doors, 7:30 p.m. show

All ages welcome

$30 advance, $35 day of show

Skillet

Skillet recently made headlines when their last album, Awake, became one of just three rock albums to be certified platinum in 2012, forming an improbable triumvirate with the Black Keys' El Camino and Mumford and Sons' Babel. The news that Skillet had sold more than a million albums in the U.S. came as a shock to all but the band's wildly diverse horde of rans, male an female, young and old - known as Panheads - whose still-swelling ranks now officially number in the seven-digit range. This remarkable achievement was announced just as Skillet was putting the finishing touches on their eagerly waited follow-up album, Rise (Atlantic/Word).

Unwilling to stand pat or rest on their laurels, the band - lead vocalist/bassist John Cooper, guitarist/keyboardist Korey Cooper (John's wife), drummer/duet partner Jen Ledger and lead guitarist Seth Morrison, making his first appearance on record with Skillet - continue to explore new terrain on Rise, expertly produced by Howard Benson, who previously helmed the mega-successful Awake. Eager for new challenges, Cooper threw himself into collaborative songwriting to a far greater degree than ever before, co-writing the uplifting title song and the lacerating first single "Sick of it" with Scott Stevens, founder/leader of the L.A.-based Exies, while teaming with Nashville songsmiths Tom Douglas and Zac Maloy on the timely and anthemic "American Noise," which Cooper considers to be the strongest song Skillet has yet recorded. On "American Noise" and the joyous "Good to Be Alive," the band explores new stylistic territory, bringing an element of heartland rock into their aggressive theatrical approach. The band expanded their musical palette, integrating natural, acoustic instruments link accordion, mandolin, dulcimer, harp, tympani and bells to their trademark slashing electric guitars, strings, churning synths and pummeling drums.

It isn't just the songs themselves that make Rise so gripping, it's also the song sequences - like the radical contrast between the almost unbearable tension of "Sick of It" suddenly giving way to the ecstatic release of "Good to Be Alive," or the way the closing three-song progression of "My Religion," "Hard to Find" and "What I Believe" builds to a thrilling musical, thematic and emotional crescendo. Clearly, these songs and the album as a whole are embedded with an impassioned overarching message. This message courses with a tidal pull through Skillet's entire body of work, but on Rise, it's artfully woven into a gripping coming-of-age narrative. This sprawling work stand as the band's first concept album - though is wasn't premeditated.

"The narrative idea happened after we had 10 or 11 of the songs chosen, Cooper reveals. "As we were recording them, we started to realize that there's something going on here - this album is really telling a story. Realizing that, I knew we needed to make it as powerful as we could." The result is a wildly ambitious work as heady as it is visceral.

"Rise is the story of a typical American teen coming into adulthood and facing the massive world problems," says Cooper, who is deeply concerned about the erosion of belief in young people today, as well as their deeply felt desire to belong. "Facing world problems as an adult is different from when you're growing up and under someone else's care. All of a sudden, you realize that the world is a dangerous place. It's dark and scary, there's acts of God happening, there's war, there are all these terrible things, and you thinking, 'How can I have hope in this place?' But at the same time, you also think, 'Even moving all those huge problems aside, I look at my own life and I'm not even comfortable with the things I can change. I'm fighting with my parents, my parents have split up, I'm here in this home getting yelled at all the time that I'm never gonna be good enough, and I'm starting to believe that I'm never gonna be good enough. I constantly fail myself, and I just want to have a reason to live. I want to matter, and I want to know that my life counts for something.'"

"So the story is basically about rising up out of your downtrodden life, rising up from that place where you feel lide a failure, rising up to be comfortable being yourself, to stand up for what you believe in," Cooper continues. "It's not about pleasing your friends, it's not about doing what's cool; it's about being who you are and being comfortable with that. And lastly, in the grand scheme of it all is, if I can be somebody I am comfortable being, maybe I can even rise up and help change the world. Can one person make a difference? Can one person actually matter?"

But there's another key distinction between Rise and the band's previous albums. "We've written songs about issues, but the reason this record stands out so much to me is that this is the first time that we're singing songs that use the word 'we' rather than 'me,'" Cooper points out. "It's not just my feelings, these are our feelings. We can do this. Even the title track is about me rising, it's about us rising. so this record feels inclusive of all kinds of people, and that's unique for us. It's a rallying cry."

On Rise, then, the message is both spiritual and social, as Skillet reaches out anew to its ever-growing, ever-changing following. "I think music should be bringing people together and bringing them hope," says Cooper. "That's what music does for me."

 

Website:
http://www.skillet.com/

Sick Puppies

You hear it again and again.

When one door closes, another one opens. However, it?s true - especially in the case of Sick Puppies. Weathering and persevering through potentially life-changing events, the gold-selling, chart-topping Los Angeles-based and Australian-bred hard rock outfit knew one thing.

They were going to make more music as Sick Puppies.

"There was no question" affirms Emma. "We had no doubt that we wanted to continue. Mark and I got together and basically said, first and foremost, we love music. We love this band and our fans, and we have put so much into it, and we are not done and want to take it further.? In order to do that, we needed to find the right member."

Instead, the "right member" found them. With stints in several bands under his belt, Texas-born singer and guitarist Bryan Scott reached out to Emma via Facebook within days of the announcement. He sent her a video of himself performing, and she swiftly replied.

"Both Mark and I knew he was the guy right away - he was cool and he sounded great.
It was a natural progression. We were totally on to something" said Emma

"Something just overwhelmed me," admits Bryan. "I had a feeling that I needed to reach out. They needed a singer and guitarist and that?s what I am. I had always loved their music and as soon as I saw the post, I went home and immediately sent Emma a message. We clicked right off the bat. Music is in their blood - it's who they are. They live and breathe it every day. I'm the same way."

Following a first dinner together at a Los Angeles burger spot, they hit the rehearsal studio together and began jamming. After nailing numerous favorites from the Sick Puppies catalog, they started writing new material over the next several months.

2013s Connect saw the band embrace a more experimental side.

"On the last album, a lot of ideas came from many different places, but our core is rock and that is what we love!" Mark says on this new album, were giving fans what they want, that classic Sick Puppies sound."

"I think fans will enjoy the resurgence of the heaviness," smiles Emma. "We love that, so we went all the way with it."

The group teamed up with producer and songwriter Mark Holman [Three Days Grace, Red, Shinedown, Halestorm, The Struts], to start working on their fourth full-length album. Recorded in Nashville and Los Angeles during 2015, the new music reflects the group?s, incendiary interplay between Emma, Bryan & Mark.

"We were actually supposed to work with Mark Holman before, but it never materialized for whatever reason," Emma continues. "It was the right moment in time, and he was the perfect producer to bring out the emotion in these songs."

Locked and loaded with a muscular riff and booming percussion, "Stick To Your Guns" the band?s first single announces the band?s return with a literal bang. Bryan?s vocals careen from hypnotic to heavy as an arena-size refrain takes hold.

"You have to push regardless of what anyone tells you," he says. "This was a big thing for us. You can pray, hope, or wish for something to happen, but at the end of the day, you have to "stick to your guns", go out there, and believe. The song is meant to em- power."

Then, there?s the epic "Where Do I Begin," which spotlights Emma and Bryan?s impressive harmonies in the chorus. For lyrical inspiration, the musicians actually turned to the diehard collective Sick Puppies World Crew.

"We looked on their Facebook and read everything," Emma recalls. "We saw that everyone shared a lot in common, and it was quite touching. We grabbed a few descriptive words and came across this theme. A lot of people out there feel like they?re missing out. They hear things like, „You can do it when you?re ready.? I think, „What?s ready?? If someone?s going to wait to be ready, they might wait their whole lives. It?s about struggling with that and making a move."

With its gnashing chant and pummeling groove "Let Me Live" introduced the album during the first teaser video-which arrived to palpable audience fervor. Meanwhile, "Walls" sees Emma?s vocals take center stage with gorgeously haunting delivery.

"It describes the painful feelings that come when a friend, family member, or someone you?re very close to changes, disappoints, disappears, or drifts away," she sighs. "It?s just a snapshot of what I was feeling at that point in time."

That kind of honesty has solidified a bond between the Sick Puppies and their fans since day one. To date, their breakout second full-length Tri-Polar has sold more than 500K albums, yielding 2 million single sales including the gold-certified "You?re Going Down" as well as rock smashes "Maybe" "Riptide," and "Odd One."

"All The Same" the band?s first hit single from their debut album, "Dressed Up As Life" became the soundtrack for the viral video "Free Hugs" campaign racking up tens of mil- lions of online views and saw them appear on Oprah, 60 Minutes, CNN, Good Morning America, and The Tonight Show.

2013?s Connect earned the band its highest Billboard Top 200 debut at #17 and yielded two top 10 singles at rock radio peaking at #2. Along the way, the trio played alongside the world?s biggest bands from Muse, The Killers, Deftones, Evanescence, Breaking Benjamin, Papa Roach, Incubus to Tool.

Now, their message is more powerful than ever.

"When people hear this, I want them to take away a feeling of new life, new passion, and new excitement from this band," Emma leaves off. "Mark and I love what we do. We were going to forge ahead no matter what. We found the perfect guy, and we?re excited about this next chapter."

 

Website:
http://www.sickpuppies.com

Instagram:
http://www.instagram.com/sickpuppiesofficial

Twitter:
http://www.twitter.com/sickpuppies

Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/sickpuppies