JESS BECK | Go Venue Magazine
Ah, Minneapolis, the city of shitty drivers, the Mall of America, and apparently, the chosen battleground for a musical showdown featuring Saint Asonia, Skillet, and Theory of a Deadman at The Armory on Friday, November 10, 2023. Who would’ve thought that these three bands would converge in one place, as if the music gods decided to throw a wild party in the land of 10,000 lakes? Well, brace yourselves, folks, because it happened.
I mean…there was a guy passed out before the opening act even started for crying out loud!
First up, we have Saint Asonia – the lovechild of Adam Gontier, formerly of Three Days Grace, and some other musical maestros, which is why they’re called a Supergroup. Now, I’m not saying Saint Asonia is the second coming of rock, but if rock had a VIP section, these guys would be in it. I was not prepared to have my eardrums serenaded by Gontier’s gravelly voice, but it reminded me of the times when you first discover a “hard rock” album for the first time.
And for what it’s worth, Gontier really seems to be enjoying this band.
“I have a lot of love for Minneapolis,” Gontier stated. “It’s where I met my wife, it’s where I lived for a number of years, and six years ago…it’s where I got clean and sober!”
And yeah…everyone erupted in applause even if they had a drink in hand because that’s just something you celebrate.
They sounded incredible live too – better than on the record in my opinion, and their renditions of Three Days Grace hits were a big hit for the audience.
Next in line, we have Skillet – the band that defies genres like it’s a piece of cake. If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like if a rock band, a symphony, and a skillet (the cooking kind) formed a supergroup, wonder no more. Skillet’s energy is enough to make you want to join your local gym, and their performance is hotter than a cast-iron pan fresh off the stove (even if the arm canons are filled with nitrous).
It’s worth noting that this is my 3rd time seeing Skillet, second time photographing. The first time I saw these guys is when I was 12 in a small venue in Lincoln, Nebraska. In 2019, I caught them at what was then known as the Sokol Auditorium in Omaha, Nebraska. This year, the stage was even bigger as Skillet keeps finding ways to reinvent themselves.
They don’t play a lot of their older stuff from albums like “Alien Youth,” and “Invincible,” but they are a wild, tight-knit group that knows how to put on one hell of a performance for a Christian band. Back up vocalist and drummer Jen Ledger is also incredible, and her voice is just something else!
They easily put on the most energetic performance of the night, which might explain their longevity amongst more secular, less polarizing artists in their same category. And while quite a few people were experiencing Skillet for the first time that evening, I can promise you that for some of them it won’t be their last.
Last but not least, Theory of a Deadman. Now, don’t let the name fool you; these guys are very much alive, kicking, and ready to rock your socks off. If you’ve ever wanted to experience the musical equivalent of a guilty pleasure shopping trip, Theory of a Deadman might just be your ticket. From heartbreak anthems to songs that make you question your life decisions, they’ve got it all. Just remember to bring some tissues and maybe a life coach to help you through the emotional rollercoaster.
Vocalist Tyler Connolly shared that they were honored to be celebrating their 8th studio album this year, which is quite an achievement for any band these days. Initially, they might have caught some flack for signing with Chad Kroger, but these guys put on a tight performance. Everything is calibrated with precision, from the lighting quirks to the instrumentals – it’s a performance that you won’t want to miss if you can help it! And being able to hear the major tracks that made them a household name such as, “Bitch Came Back, “Rx (Medicate),” and “Bad Girlfriend” are well worth the price of a ticket.
As always a big thank you to the staff at the Armory – you all work so hard to make sure that every experience is enjoyable even if parts of your job aren’t, and we appreciate you for that! Keep wearing deodorant to shows, keep being excellent to one another, and we’ll catch ya at the next show!
Theory of a Deadman