Concert Review with PHOTOS: Devilskin


By Jake Ebdale

Artist: Devilskin  

Date / Venue: Friday September 14th, 2018 - The Powerstation, Auckland 

Okay, I'll admit to not being a card carrying superfan of New Zealand's top rock juggernaut, Devilskin, but I thought it was time to broaden my horizons a bit. I'd read various reviews that reported from ghastly, camp and middling to groundbreaking and transcendent, and I find bands this polarising can be a pleasant surprise in the flesh. As I found out, it was all of the above.

Coridian kicked off proceedings in an aggressive, impressive fashion.  Featuring the three Raven brothers (evolving from instrumental band Chuck Norris Trio) and versatile vocalist Dity Maharaj, they were, in a way, a perfect opener – original, and different enough from the other acts to give the night some true variety. Already having a solid online presence with singles 'Seed' and 'Reflections', Coridian have really solidified their place as a rising hard rock band that defies easy classification. Maharaj’s soaring vocals were a strong point, especially on ‘Seed’ and ‘Blind Faith’. Bearded guitarists Mike and Kris, the drummer, also bearded, really played off each other’s energy, with the whole band possessing a manic stage presence at times. The youngest brother, bassist Nick, played some tasty, rumbling basslines, equipped with an impressive front mullet, or frullet. Finishing with ‘Blind Faith’, the venue now nearly packed on the floor, Coridian sound big, bold and are sure to scale new heights internationally in 2019.

The second supporting act, Written By Wolves, opened with big, tribal-drums into the track ‘Not Afraid To Die’. Fronted by Michael Murphy (yes, that Michael Murphy), they were slightly more traditional heavy rock, and utilised a plethora of backing tracks. Besides the impressive opener and a cover of Linkin Park’s ‘One Step Closer’ (that’s gotta be cheating!), I found some of the tracks lagged, though not without intent. Overall, a great lead in to the Skin.

So, the main event. The last I'd seen of Devilskin was their firework-heavy debacle during the Vodafone VMAs a few years back, so I was eager to check out a proper show from them. The set was at least 20 songs deep, so way too long for my liking, but Paul Martin and co really knew how to put on an amazing show. There were props (chainsaw included), theatrics that bordered on the macabre, and a lot of general rawk. There were times when the band really locked into a solid Pantera-like groove, with Jenny Skulander’s operatic vocals complimenting the thrashin’ and bashin’.

The place was absolutely bouncing for most of the set, highlights including ‘Burning Tree’ and ‘Endo’, a new song. With a new album surely not far away, Devilskin are only growing their fanbase, not bowing to pressure, and keeping in line with what they want to achieve. And the fans… Well, screw all that 'masses of black tees' hyperbole – rock crowds get a bad rap, but they are actually some of the most accommodating people at concerts. These particular Powerstation punters were super loyal and, for the most part, friendly, even during the most violent songs. ‘Little Pills’ finished off the night – still my favourite song of the bunch, from their debut.

So even though Devilskin aren’t to my taste, it’s the intent, the drive and the defiance - not just by them, but by all three bands - that I admire.