Concert Review: Halestorm at Summit Music Hall in Denver, CO
Posted on December 6, 2012
I feel sorry for the people that have only been able to see Halestorm as a supporting act because a short set from this quartet of pure awesomeness is not nearly enough time to fully appreciate the beast that is Halestorm.
You may or may not know that in the past four years these Pennsylvania hard rockers have had a string of charting rock singles and both studio albums have been in the rock charts with “The Strange Case Of…” staying in the charts for thirty three weeks and peaking at number one on the US hard rock charts. Not bad for a band that started out as a brother/sister duo at the tender ages of ten and thirteen respectively. Those are also pretty good stats considering most of the nation had no idea who Halestorm was before their self-titled debut album in 2009. So in four years Halestorm has become one hot commodity in the world of rock n roll, playing shows with the best of the best, and more recently headlining their own gigs as they did last Thursday night at Summit Music Hall.
With hair so red it looked on fire and a bright green suit jacket drummer Arejay Hale was the first member of Halestorm to step out onto the stage and as he did the sold out crowd at Summit Music Hall erupted into deafening cheers which he acknowledged with a few polite, slight bows. As Arejay made his way to the drum kit, guitarist Joe Hottinger and bassist Josh Smith sauntered on stage followed closely by none other than Lzzy Hale herself. It could be my imagination but I could swear that the cheers went up about another five notches when she walked on stage. Once everyone was in place it was time to play.
Lights were flashing, people were screaming, and there stood Lzzy guitar in hand looking out at the crowd, and with no warning Halestorm lit into “Mz. Hyde”. Crunchy guitar filled the air as Arejay beat his drums relentlessly, arms criss-crossing and sticks flying in the air. Even though Arejay is at the back of the stage and behind the other members of the band you can’t not notice him. The dude is a madman and a hell of an entertainer…almost stealing the limelight from his sister Lzzy with his crazy antics. While playing Arejay kept throwing drum sticks high in the air and catching them without missing a beat and it kind of makes you wonder if the dude is an accomplished juggler. Just sayin’.
From “Mz. Hyde” the band lit into what is probably their most recognizable song “Love Bytes”. Lzzy managed to pull off a small riff at the beginning of the song which sounded great. In fact throughout the whole set she showed us time and time again that her guitar playing is a huge part of the Halestorm sound when they play live. The energy inside Summit Music Hall was reaching a fever pitch during this song and it was only the second song of the night, but the crowd didn’t care. Of course, as is the norm with great bands and great songs, the crowd started singing and matched Lzzy’s vocals almost word for word, but it was during the chorus that you could really hear the crowd belting out the lyrics like they truly meant it.
The whole time Halestorm was on stage Joe shredded on the guitar and Josh hammered the bass but it seemed like they were content to stay out of the limelight. Those two guys keep the music going and sounding great but the entertainment factor was definitely left up to Arejay and Lzzy. Entertainment was also to be found in the crowd as women were lifted onto their male counterpart’s shoulders for a better look at the stage. That doesn’t happen much at shows anymore and when it does you can be sure people are having a damn good time, and with Lzzy and company leading an all-out rock assault I guess that’s to be expected.
You never know how Lzzy is gonna come at you with her voice. It can either be melodic and soft as a kitten purr or it can be grating, raging, and tough as nails. Either way, there is power in that voice of hers and she sounds every bit as good in a live setting as she does on the albums, although I have to admit I didn’t think Halestorm would be able to pull off Gn’R’s “Out Ta Get Me” as well as they did. Lzzy definitely put that voice to full use though when Halestorm ripped out “Daughters of Darkness” and as soon as Lzzy started growling the “na, na’s” the crowd picked up on it and once again stated singing along.
The only slowdown of the night came when Lzzy approached the upright piano at the side of the stage and started plinking the notes to “Break In”. The song went off without a hitch and she sang it beautifully. Compared to the growling, throaty rasp of her voice on the faster, harder songs her voice on “Break In” was angelic, gentle, soft, and soothing, and the difference between the two voices is night and day. But, that just goes to show that the lady has some serious talent when it comes to singing.
After a killer cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Gold Dust Woman” the Halestorm crew lit into “Familiar Taste of Poison” before Arejay jumped into his drum solo. As I
said earlier the guy is an entertainer and his solo was definitely entertaining to say the least. It wasn’t over the top and there have definitely been better drum solos but not many finish with drumsticks the size of small trees. The solo itself was not what was impressive. What was impressive was the amount of showmanship Arjay displayed during the solo.
After Arejay’s drum solo Halestorm got the crowd back in music mood with “You call Me A Bitch Like It’s A Bad Thing” and “It’s Not You”, but the crowd really got going when Lzzy started talking about “getting off” on the crowd “getting off” on watching her. We knew what was coming but……..I can almost certainly say there was probably not a straight guy in the house that didn’t have some kind of a fleeting dirty thought as Lzzy stood up on stage belting out “I Get Off”. As it turns out this was the last song of the set for the night, but we knew “I Miss The Misery” was sure to be the encore song and we were right. But what I didn’t expect was for Halestorm to play “Here’s To us” beforehand.
Listening “Here’s To Us” on the radio, IPod, CD player, etc. is one thing but to hear it played live is a whole new experience. When Halestorm plays this song live it’s like you’re included in a select circle of friends. It’s like they’re playing and singing this directly to you, and even though it’s a slower song it’s the perfect set up song to play before ending the night on another high note with “I Miss The Misery”.
All in all it was a great set from Halestorm and the crowd obviously agreed because I have never seen so many smiling faces, or so many giddy people leaving a venue. If you have never been to a Halestorm show and you ask someone what they are like live you’ll probably hear, “That was one of the greatest shows I have ever seen”, or “You have to go see them! You don’t know what you’re missing.” Listen to the people that tell you that, because it’s all true.
Halestorm has become one of my favorite top ten live acts which includes the likes of the Scorpions, The Offspring, and Dropkick Murphys, so that’s saying a lot. Check em out and let me know if you agree!
For more information on Halestorm please visit:
All Photos Copyright © 2012 Interstatelive.com
Halestorm on stage at Summit Music Hall. Photo by Paul Edmisson
Lzzy Hale of Halestorm. Photo by Paul Edmisson
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