9th March 2015
Review and photography by David McKnight
Halestorm are well known as a heavy gigging band. You can tell how heavy gigging, as they are over from America yet still have the time to get an almost 3-week tour in in the UK.
Supporting Halestrom tonight were Nothing More. Much heavier than the headliner, they threw themselves at the performance from the very start, with lead singer Jonny rushing back and forth across the stage and climbing over everything on the stage.
As the fourth song started Jonny climbed onto what the casual observer might think was some sort of art installation at the front of the stage. It wasn’t some elaborate but pointless bit of stage furniture. Disguised under a lot of metalwork were a couple of kettle drums which Jonny was going to play with his feet. One guitar was attached on the framework as well and then played mainly by hitting it.
A melancholic introduction to I’ll Be Okay signaled some time for the audience to rest from the moshpit and allowed the very strong vocal talents of the band to shine through. It was time to get the lighters aloft with the change of speed. Well, okay, time to get the mobiles aloft. As the song built up towards the crescendo the feeling of anticipation rose and all of a suddenly the lighters and mobiles disappeared to be replaced by fists punching into the air.
The last song, Salem, was extended. They punched through the song itself and then stripped down the music to just the drums and Jonny stomping on the kettle drums at the front of the stage. Nothing More shows are known for their great and often epic percussion – exactly what we were getting here. Something being great doesn’t mean that it can’t get better. Everything went a little bit Kodo drummers, with the rest of the band coming back on stage having abandoned their guitars for sticks and picking up some drums. We were treated to drums being waved around Jonny as he swung around beating out the tune wherever the drum ended up. After a few minutes of this, which had me totally enthralled, we went back to guitars to play out the set with the audience singing the chorus.
After that support act, Halestorm weren’t going to be able to get away with a lazy, low effort set. Lzzy came onstage to roars from the audience. Though she came on with sunglasses the fact that this was a gig about the music not about the image was made as they quickly got chucked off to the side of the stage.
By the time we got just a few songs in the audience were already eating out of their hands. The chorus of Getting Off On You had Lzzy singing one line and the audience shouting the next back to her. People were here to enjoy themselves and that is exactly what they were doing. The drummer, Arejay, had a lot of keeping up to do with the energy at the front of the stage. That was fine though – he is an amazing showman with continual twirling and stick throwing . There were times when I realised that I’d just been staring at him for a few minutes.
In need of a guitar upgrade half way through the set Lzzy leaves and comes back on with a double necked guitar and then we realised how lucky we were to have picked this gig on the tour to go to. Halestorm chose Wolverhampton to debut another song from their new album, Into The Wild Life, due out mid-Apil. I Am The Fire whilst not being their most aggressive of heavy song makes full use of Lzzy’s powerful voice which is, as ever, belting out the vocals. Given their reputation for continual gigging the lyrics, “I am the fire, I’m burning brighter” seem very fitting.
After this treat things slowed down a little. Lzzy got rid of her guitar and an enthusiastic audience helped out though the chorus of Underneath My Skin,Lzzy holding out the mic to the audience through the chorus.
Now we had a chance to really look at Arejay and admire his showmanship. Everyone else left the stage, the lights came down and went to the drumkit. We must have had a good five minutes of solo with some if it being played from the top of the kit. Giant drumsticks were broken out and twirled. With this, how he played normally, and the support band f you liked your drumming then this was definitely the gig for you.
A revitalised band ran back onto the stage after their break with aggressive and fast version of It’s Not You before going off again. It didn’t take long for them to come back on for their encore. Kicking off with a cathartic rendition of I Miss The Misery, the singing was powerful and loaded with emotion. As it came to the end of the song Arejay got in on the act again for one last drum solo. The last song of the night, Here’s To Us, brought the pace gently down. By the time Halestorm had to take their final bows, and of course picture with the audience, everyone had been singing along.
This was a hugely enjoyable gig. So much so it was awfully tempting afterwards to just leave the venue and start buying tickets for all the remaining shows on the tour. That is a pretty good recommendation!
I Get Off
Freak Like Me
Daughters of Darkness
I Am the Fire
Familiar Taste of Poison
I Like It Heavy
Love Bites (So Do I)
It’s Not You
I Miss the Misery
Here’s to Us