LIVE REVIEW: Halestorm @ O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire
When is a good time for a band to hold “An Evening With” events? Should they be considered a legacy band that has decades of material behind it? Or could it be removed by a “smaller” group? On a rainy Sunday evening, fans packed into the O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire for an evening with HALESTORM.
The Pennsylvania rock band promised two and a half hours of nothing but HALESTORM. A scene straight from heaven for feverish fans of Lzzy Hale and co. “It’s us all the timeThe singer spoke into the mic after taking the stage to little fanfare. Armed with a keyboard, the modern-day powerhouse stormed into the acoustic part of the evening with Lapping.
It would be remiss not to say HALESTORM took a huge risk not only by being the only band on the bill, but by starting the night off with stripped down renditions of some of their most popular tunes. With audiences eager to get back into the live arena, it could have gone bust. However, there was not a dry eye in the house because Vigorous open dear girl with a catchy talk about how supportive parents can help you achieve your dreams. While VigorousThe voice of sent shivers throughout the room with well thought out acoustic compositions, this route has not always been the most traveled path.
The wheels began to wobble with redesigned versions of HALESTORMuptempo tunes. While Mz. hyde housed a nice groove to entice a few bobble heads, he was leaning towards the mild-mannered Dr. Jekyll. The addition of apocalyptic served to further threaten to upset the apple basket. The song about a last night of burning passion was lukewarm. Questions have been circulating about whether this part of the set was entirely necessary. This indeed added another dynamic to the evening. A last minute addition SHOCKit’s Should I stay or should I go has been added to the list of examples that Lzzy Hale can sing absolutely anything and everything goes well. With that in mind, the evening would have benefited from having a backing band in place of this segment.
HALESTORM great when fully plugged in. This does not mean Lzzy Hale does not have a remarkable enough vocal range to carry the ensemble. The acoustic rendering of Familiar taste of poison was spectacularly haunting. Opening of the electric group with Back from the dead from their forthcoming album of the same name gave the band the boost they needed for the next 90 minutes.
Navigate in rock show, the group did not fail to describe the atmosphere for the fans present. Loyal fans who had faithfully followed the band across the country melted into the treble of Joe Hottingeris solo. Looking around the room, there was a great amount of love and release seeping through the air. After a welcome joke to newbies in the crowd of Lzzy Hale (which were fortunately better than Arjay Hale‘s), I go downThe crowd’s tantalizing chug dictated the crowd’s subtle nods. Lzzy Halethe delivery of lyrics such as “It’s so much more exciting / Watching when you can’t touchwas brimming with confidence and charisma as she was rooted behind a mic. As the climactic solo slips into the staff, we’re thrown into a loop as the band go rogue, opting for a slower change of pace. While that could mean no two female orgasms are the same, the decision surprised some.
With material ranging from their self-titled debut (2009) to the impending Back from the dead, the Pennsylvanians wanted to give their fans a mix of much-loved singles and what could be described as deeper cuts. The problem was that they only had four full albums to select from for their setlist. As a result, we had jam sessions at the end of certain songs that were too long. AmenThe signature groove of sped up as the song continued, to the point where the celebration of ourselves seemed rushed. When the next jam session ends, it becomes an inconvenience. There’s no denying HALESTORM are great musicians. Their presentation of this perhaps shouldn’t have come in the form of an extended outing straight into a drum solo from Arjay Hale. Where onlookers should have absorbed the sights and sounds of Big Sticks, many were checking their watches.
A highlight for us came with the uplifting anthem I am the fire. The group and the crowd were brought together to defeat the demons they faced. Therein lies the strength HALESTORM. Their ability to bring people together in a live setting and almost have them eating out of the palms of their hands. Apart from some slight technical difficulties throughout, the hip part of the evening was HALESTORM on the fire.
The evening carried an “us against the world” message as freak like me and Uncomfortable pumped the crowd full of energy. All eyes were on LZZY HALE as she led her people with the mantra of “I did it because I fuck the man”. The band has an amazing message about being confident and accepting yourself for all that you are. For younger members of the crowd, now is a very important time to pass that on. What better model than Lzzy Hale? Throughout the night, she delivered phenomenal vocal performances that left many left in disbelief at what they were witnessing. Yet she also confessed to being human and admitted that she messed up some of the lyrics of Lapping.
As the night drew to a close after a four-song encore, we were left with just one question. Was this type of live performance premature for HALESTORM? Yes but not much. That more fitting time will come with another album cycle or two out. That doesn’t mean it shouldn’t have been done in the first place. HALESTORM know how to put on a show. The 90-minute electric set was solid proof of that. They are more than capable of delivering a show. It was purely a case of a good idea at the wrong time.
Check out our photo gallery of the night’s action in London from Adriana Vasile Photography here: