Halestorm certainly could not have chosen a more fitting name. Going to one of their live shows is the utmost exhilarating experience that will make you feel like you have been run over by a military tank and lifted in the air floating with the angels all at once.
London O2 Arena – 12 December 2022
Words: Dany Jones
Photography: Steve Ritchie
Halestorm indeed shatters all clichés of mellowing down as you grow older as, in fact, the exact opposite seems to be quite true.
Granted that the pandemic has not been easy on anybody, it isn’t a coincidence that most of the fantastic work that has come out of it has displayed newfound introspection, doom, angst, and pent-up frustration, all the way to sheer brutishness.
Primary examples are the latest releases by peers of the likes of KORN, Slipknot, Lamb Of God or even Three Days Grace, and Halestorm’s Back From The Dead is no exception.
The band had been invited to join Rock titans Alter Bridge as main support on their Pawns and Kings European tour. You would think that a 25-show, six-week-long tour would be taxing on their stamina, yet, when it comes to this formidable quartet from Pennsylvania, nothing could be further from the truth.
Lzzy Hale opens with an almost primordial roar to introduce the first song of the set. “Hey London, you are my people!” and off they charge full steam ahead into The Steeple, the second single from their new album.
The live show marks a showcase of new songs, however, it could not elude the absolute classics. A nod from brother and drummer Arejay, who counts the band in, and the crowd simply erupts on Love Bites (So Do I), while Wicked Ways calls for some headbanging and even a full Death Metal-style breakdown.
Lzzy Hale has always been an ambassador of feminism in terms of the equality of women in rock and in general. Deciding to write a song to touch upon this topic was only a matter of time. However many times you are told how or who to be, Halestorm have got some fresh news for you, and you can ‘suck it!’
The foursome have been relentless, breezing through the set explosion after explosion. But after a captivating “London, tonight you are Mine”, it is time to wind things down for a minute and what an incredible minute that is.
Unconventionally, the show climaxes on the ballad into an absolutely outstanding performance of Familiar Taste Of Poison. A staggering delivery by Lzzy Hale, who sings her heart, gut and every fibre of her being out to do one thing and one thing alone; connect with her audience.
Offering a truly mesmerising, spine-tingling instant, it is as if suddenly the room and all that is around disappear, and the sole focus remains on the singer and her deeply emotive execution. Indeed, it does take a while to regroup.
There is no doubt that Arejay Hale is a phenomenal drummer. Over the years, he has created a name for himself and has earned respect and reverence worthy of note. Halestorm decided to incorporate his drum solo into the live show as a moment to celebrate this artist.
The Arejay Drum Solo has become a feature of every show, where the drummer totally lets loose and showcases his chops. But there is a twist: Arejay could not simply do a drum solo; he has to top that off by soloing with huge matchsticks, prompting the crowd cheers to resonate in a frenzy around the room.
The band then come back on stage and throw every ounce of energy left into the last three songs – the self-titled track from the new album and the final anthems that got them where they are today, I Get Off, and I Miss The Misery.
The spotlight this time is on the amazing Hottinger’s lead guitar work, where he and Lzzy share a moment of call and response until he unleashes a stunning guitar solo.
With a final thank you to all the bands and an introduction of the musicians in Halestorm, Lzzy then takes no prisoners with another ferocious roar to begin the final song.
This frangent is truly cathartic. First, vamping on the outro with another blistering guitar solo, then inviting the audience to sing back on the refrain, and finally closing with the utmost visceral of screams, the singer gives everything that she has got.
What a blinder of a show. The incendiary Halestorm earn, hands down, the title of “Arsonists of Modern Rock”, and they are simply unstoppable.
Next on the agenda? All the Christmas things and an imminent tour Down Under at the beginning of the new year.
Lzzy Hale – Lead vocals & guitar
Joe Hottinger – Lead Guitar
Josh Smith – Bass
Arejay Hale – Drums and BV’s
Love Bites (So Do I)
Familiar Taste of Poison
Back From the Dead
I Get Off
I Miss the Misery
MetalTalk’s Alter Bridge Pawns & Kings Tour coverage features interviews with Scott Phillips, Arejay Hale (Halestorm) and Wolfgang Van Halen (Mammoth WVH). Plus, full coverage of all three band’s performances.
To read all this, visit https://www.metaltalk.net/tag/pawns-and-kings-tour.