Five Things About…: Halestorm at Rock City, Nottingham (03/03/15)
The Intro (Lzzy In General, Really)
Lights go down, crowd goes crazy – pretty standard to begin with, I confess. Then a single spotlight beams down and Lzzy Hale, amidst a frenzied audience, appears onstage with an acapella rendition of upcoming album cut ‘I Like It Heavy’. Let it be established from the get-go, this is one of the strongest female vocalists in the game and that raspy, roaring delivery is the perfect way to set the stage for what is to come. Save for the stripped-back ‘Hate It When You See Me Cry’ – a perfect moment for Hale to shift through her range of emotion and power. All of which she does whilst looking less-exerted than the majority of the audience but then, again….
The Audience (The Stormers/Hale’s Angels/Whatever They’re Called)
…the audience were on-point throughout. Halestorm, along with support acts Wilson & The Fallen State, managed to get the crowd rather animated from the off. Big shoutout to the humbling chants of ‘Arejay! Arejay!’ that echoed through Rock City after Lzzy’s bro manhandled the drumkit and gave a short but sweet nod to Papa Roach & The White Stripes. Also, a Union Jack waved proudly during ‘Freak Like Me’ with ‘Halestorm’ inked across the centre proved that the British pride was contagious when the band swiped it up onstage. Honorary Brits, dem guys.
Oh, did I mentioned that they played some songs? They played some songs. I am not going to go on too long about them missing out ‘Familiar Taste of Poison’ from the setlist even though it’s one of the best songs they have recorded to date. In fact, I really don’t mind that they didn’t perform ‘Familiar Taste of Poison’. Really. The setlist was expertly curated, though, giving the all-necessary slots to the singles – ‘I Get Off’ and ‘It’s Not You’ providing an early nod to their debut – and dropping in a few Halestorm fan-favourites from their massive breakthrough record ‘The Strange Case Of….’
The Highlights (Aka The New Album)
Most excitingly, the best material of the night was lifted from their upcoming ‘Into The Wild Life’ album. ‘I Like It Heavy’ provided some pure-Halestorm rock’n’roll to kick off proceedings, whilst ‘Mayhem’ proved contagious, rebellious and invigorating. ‘Apocalyptic’ felt fresh and vibrant, whilst the best of the bunch was new single ‘Amen’. Instantly addictive, it had proven it’s single-potential by the end of the first refrain.
After dropping off ‘Love Bites’ and ‘I Miss The Misery’ in the later half of the main-set, it was interesting to see how they were handling the all-important encores on the latest tour. The answer was a fine combo of the boisterous ‘Mz. Hyde’ and a fitting, celebratory finale of ‘Here’s To Us’. It was a no-gimmicks show (if we excuse Arejay’s elephant-sized drumsticks) that focused on what Halestorm do best -showing that the power and spirit of rock music should never be underestimated or undervalued. Rock’n’roll will never die, ya’lll, *air guitars into the sunset*
Words: Simon McMurdo