Soundsphere magazine have always had a soft spot for Halestorm and we’re pretty happy to see them on their current UK tour. Welcome to the really wild show…
Leeds O2 Academy enjoys a mixed bag of artists at the best of times, but a dreary Thursday night is curiously transformed into a celebration of all things hard rock right from the opening act. Detroit rockers, Wilson kick off proceedings with pomp and circumstance (lead singer Chad Nicefield rocks imperial wear and bangs a drum) and rip through songs dubiously entitled ‘College Gang Bang’ amongst others.
The packed out crowd are sufficiently pumped up and it certainly seems we will be seeing a lot more of this motley crew very soon. Next on is Nothing More. Promoting their sixth album, Nothing More are clearly experienced at putting on good set. Hits such as ‘Mr. MTV’ keep a restless crowd rapt, though Soundsphere is sure the fact that frontman, screamo-singer and additional drummer Jonny Hawkins is topless throughout may have helped. The set is made memorable by an impressive multi-drum routine, by which the band all a bang blistering beat on individual bass drums. It all goes very ‘Stomp’ for a brief moment.
Finally, the band we’ve all come to see. Halestorm enter to enthusiastic cheers and roars but waste no time in getting straight into new song ‘Apocalyptic’, a bluesy rock song that is amazingly catchy. In fact, the instant hit factor of all of this foursome’s tracks is integral to their success as well as their watchability (that’s a word, right?) on stage. As well as ‘Apocalyptic’, Halestorm showcase three more new songs, ‘Amen’, ‘I Like It Heavy’ and ‘Mayhem’ and devote the rest of the set to highlights from their last two albums, all of which thrill an appreciative crowd made of young and old rockers.
Seeing this band live is worth the ticket price alone just to hear Mz. Hale belt out Halestorm’s ‘Familiar Taste of Poison’ with sparse accompaniment from her bandmates. Spine-tingling. ‘Love Bites (So Do I)’ enrages the age-old tradition of moshing into a frenzied pit of sweated teenagers. Lzzy Hale, an expert show-woman eggs on their evil ring a ring o’ roses with schizophrenic hit ‘Mz. Hyde’.
Spectacular feats of drumming seem to be the flavour of this recent European Tour as Arejay Hale, Lzzy Hale’s younger brother and co-founder of the band, is left alone on stage to thrash out an intense drum solo that is wonderfully thrilling. Seeing these siblings fulfil their life-long dreams to perform music is as heart-warming as it is fricking awesome!
The set ends of course with ‘Here’s To Us’, a celebratory song that was made for live encores. A glorious middle-finger to the doubters and a rapturous thank you to the fans, Halestorm’s brief stop in Yorkshire was over. And we’re the better for seeing them again.