I’ve been a Skillet fan for a few years now, but although I love jamming to their music, I never really understood why. Now I do, and I think I understand why Christian rock music is so big in music nowadays.
Three years ago, I went to WinterJam for the first time. Skillet was headlining the tour, but I had never heard of them before. In fact, I had never heard of any of the 10 bands before because at that time, I didn’t listen to Christian music despite the fact that I was a Christian. I just went to the concert because it was $10 and it sounded like fun.
But even though I had never heard a single Skillet song before in my life before the event, by the time I had left that arena in 2012, I knew I had to listen to more of their songs. The problem? I had no idea why.
At the time, I didn’t really have a genre of preference. In fact, I didn’t listen to a lot of music at all. Hard rock, however, was one genre that I couldn’t stand. Yet, somehow, I was mystified by Skillet. I fell in love with them at WinterJam, yet I didn’t know why.
Three years went by, I memorized the words to dozens of their songs, and yesterday morning, I still didn’t know why I loved Skillet so much. I was so excited to head to WinterJam 2015, however, and see them live once more, this time, with a library of my favorite Skillet songs on shuffle in my mind.
Maybe it was their explosive performances. Maybe it was the great instrumental arrangements. Maybe it was the violin and cello parts in some of their songs that seemed so unique for a hard rock band. Maybe it was Jen’s insane drumming or great singing. Maybe it was the power in John’s voice. But I didn’t know for sure.
Then, late into the evening, Skillet finally came on stage to bring an explosive finale to the WinterJam 2015 opening date in Charleston, West Virginia. The crowd went nuts, and with a passion for Christ, Skillet went berserk.
It was in the moment I was belting out lyrics pertinent to my life that I realized why I loved Skillet and why so many others also love them and Christian hard rock as a whole. It is the expression. It’s the power and the ferocity of the music. It’s the untapped, unreleased energy just waiting to explode on the tip of every lyric and with every mad beat of a drum. With every guitar solo, there is an undeniable explosiveness being unleashed that reminds us all how powerful music is and how powerful Christ is. The energy in a Skillet performance cannot compare to the power of God, but it’s that simulation and that expression of power that makes everything come to life in nearly as close an approximation as earthly possible.
As I yelled lyrics at the top of my lungs, I realized that energized music like Skillet’s allows a person to truly let it out and to truly tell the world -or at least those in the arena- how they feel. The emotion that is channeled in a powerful lyric to a hard rock song lets out so much more fire than the peaceful, meandering, almost solemn and dead vibe that the average church hymnal brings when plucked into chords and sung with a calm voice.
Christianity is ALIVE, or so it should be. There’s no life in a 200 year old song that puts people to sleep. There is life in a song that instills fire into the hearts and souls of the worshipers in a jam-packed arena. That life shows the power and majesty of Christ working in us, and the feeling is unlike any that another genre of music can fill a person with.
That is why I love Skillet.
That is why I love WinterJam.
So, raise your hands if you’re Sick of It.