“Welcome to an evening with Halestorm. That means all Halestorm all the time. We’re going to do whatever the fuck we want.” That’s quite an opening line from singer Lzzy Hale, delivered alone from behind a keyboard at the start of the acoustic part of tonight’s two set structure.
An Evening With Halestorm, Glasgow Barrowlands. 7 March 2022
Words: Ian Sutherland
Photography: Ya Cheng
It shows how far this band has come. The hard work, endless touring and an ability to connect with their fans, or freaks as they are proudly referred to, has instilled a confidence, a swagger even. Halestorm know who they are, Halestorm know what they can do, and Halestorm know they have an audience who will back them to the hilt as they do it.
Of course, it’s not just hard work that has got them this far. Lzzy’s casual entrance is soon forgotten when the sheer quality of her vocals and underestimated keyboard skills shine through the likes of Break In and Dear Daughter.
Joined by guitarist Joe Hottinger for The Silence, the effect is spellbinding. Yet when drummer Arejay Hale and bass player Josh Smith arrive, the mood becomes playful and jokey, and they still effortlessly retain the audience’s attention.
This is a band who like to mix it up musically, and the setlist changes every night. Throwing in a song from local rock heroes has been a theme on this tour and was stretched a little tonight in playing Edinburgh band The Proclaimers’ massive I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles), but as it’s a Scottish anthem, it worked well as a crowd-pleaser. Probably better than Arejay’s stand up comedy routine that followed set-closer Mz. Hyde! We were warned that they would do what they wanted.
A twenty-minute changeover, and it was time to rock in full electric band mode. The band’s next album isn’t out yet, but again that confidence meant that they have no hesitation with slotting new unreleased material into the set. Back From The Dead was a loud and proud opener, and The Steeple a bold choice to bookend the main part of this set.
In between, they just knocked their back catalogue out of the park. I Get Off, and Freak Like Me were hugely welcomed blasts from the past.
Daughters Of Darkness and Love Bites (So Do I) had everyone singing along, but it was noticeable that the females in the audience could be heard loudest. The band’s charismatic singer has become a hugely inspirational figure to many women and girls, and it’s great to see that response live. Very appropriate on the eve of International Women’s Day too.
The middle part of the set really shone for me with Joe and Lzzy both showcasing their skills on double-neck guitars for the twists and turns of I Am The Fire, and then the funky, anthemic grooves of Amen turning into a massively memorable extended guitar workout with both the band’s six-stringers showing they have skills that any seventies rock behemoth would have been proud of.
A four song, twenty five minute encore ended the night starting with the toast to the audience in Here’s To Us and ending with the now traditional extended I Miss The Misery with singalongs, remarkable screaming lead vocals and even a nod to Freebird in the guitar solo section.
Halestorm are undoubtedly a band that have a reverence for rock’s past, and any veteran rocker can see how they embrace those traditions in an imaginative way.
However, they are undoubtedly a modern phenomenon too and have enthused a new audience with their marriage of old rock with a new roll.
Lzzy Hale and her bandmates are what modern rock stars look like, and it may have taken twenty years to get there, but their time is now. The arenas of the world are ready and waiting to be conquered.
1. Break In
2. Dear Daughter
3. God Bless the Beast
4. The Silence
5. Bet U Wish U Had Me Back
6. Familiar Taste of Poison
7. I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)
8. Raise Your Horns
9. Mz. Hyde
10. Back From the Dead
12. I Get Off
13. Daughters of Darkness
14. I Am the Fire
16. Drum Solo
17. Freak Like Me
19. Love Bites (So Do I)
20. The Steeple
21. Here’s to Us
24. I Miss the Misery