Sunday, April 24, 2016

Concert Review: Halestorm @ Von Braun Center - Hunstville, AL 04/19/16

I don't listen to a lot of female artists.  I don't trust most women.  My childhood friends were all boys, by my choice.  Boys have a disturbing yet refreshing habit of pretty much always telling you the truth.  Girls, on the other hand, are usually petty, jealous, spiteful, and generally ugly.  Girls demonstrated those facts to me time after time as I was growing up and spoiler alert: Grown ass women do it even more, their resources are just better.

So I project this disdain for my own gender onto female music artists also.  I don't usually like their lyrics because they're riddled with too many sexual double entendres and I most certainly cannot take an artist seriously if they don't play an instrument.  The first thing I ask when I look at an artist is 1.  Do they write their own lyrics?, and 2.  What instruments do they play?  This matters to me.  Do I judge female artists more harshly than male artists?  Maybe but remember that I'm a chick, too, y'all.  I have all those dastardly traits I mentioned in my first paragraph.

It was with this attitude that I begrudgingly listened to Halestorm's third album "Into The Wild Life" last year, after declaring a personal listening embargo against them and getting into an argument with Fran over them because he deigned to publicly say that he liked them.  I believe I called him a sell out and then pointed to Halestorm songs like "I Get Off" and "Love Bites (And So Do I)" to prove my point to him - that Lzzy Hale was nothing more than a marginally talented chick who made it big using sexually charged lyrics as a crutch.

I owe Lzzy Hale an apology.  A big one.

I confess I liked "Into The Wild Life" and the album even made it into my Top 15 Albums Of 2015 List.  It was my second most listened to album of 2015, actually.  Lzzy had won me over for the most part but I still held some reservations about her.  Lzzy blew every single one of those reservations out of the water last Tuesday night.

The concert was held at the Von Braun Center in Huntsville, Alabama.  I had never been to the venue before last Tuesday night.  The little old lady ushers guarding each exit were intense with their little flash lights and it was all very civilized and everyone was in their assigned seats.  I was wearing my Photo Pass but the Grannies still wouldn't let me down to photograph Lita Ford when she was on stage.  As a side note, Lita still looks fucking great and can still belt it out.   

I waited right outside the door to the front rows as Lita finished her set, double checking my camera settings and drinking a beer.  As soon as Lita was done, I flew to the side of the stage and made friends with security there but that didn't help me much because security had never dealt with Photo Passes, so they said.  There was no roped off area for press.  The front row was taken by people who paid good money to be there and they weren't going to move for me.  I took the best pictures I could under the circumstances.

Halestorm stormed on stage (sorry, I couldn't resist) and started rocking immediately.  I'm sometimes torn between doing my job as a member of the press and battling it out with the fan in me when I'm down front at a concert.  There are bands that make me want to say "screw it", throw my cameras down, throw my fists in the air, and sing along to the songs I know by heart.  Halestorm was one of those bands that made me want to say "screw it".

Halestorm sounded great.  The crowd was on their feet the entire time and that was a long time.  The band performed a whopping total of 20 songs with tons of personality thrown in.  Between songs not quite half way through the set, Lzzy stopped and said, "I've never done this before" then started a beautiful song that stopped me in my tracks.  She sang it almost a capella.  I thought at first it was a Johnny Cash cover but it wasn't.  Here's a really good recording of it from that night.  


If that number wasn't a shining example of Lzzy's talent, it went on and on.  Song after song, she belted out the band's many hits.  My favorite of the night, besides the mystery song linked above, was "The Reckoning".  It's a song about heartbreak and retribution.  It's been a favorite of mine for a while and was even more beautiful live.    

Lzzy had a lot to say between songs.  All of it was well thought out but nothing felt fake.  It was sincere and heartfelt.  Lzzy said, "The ebb and flow with the band and the crowd is addicting.  I'm not trying to save the world.  I would do a show on a Tuesday night for free.  I'm living the fucking dream.  I laugh so hard I'm in tears every single day, we have so much fun."  

Lzzy addressed the fact that the band DOROTHY and Lita Ford, who opened for them, are fronted by females. Lzzy is well aware of the path Lita Ford and others made for her, so her talent could flourish in rock music.  She said, "This tour is an important representation of women in rock.  Lita kicked down the door so Dorothy and I can do what we do.  They are living fucking proof that you can do whatever you want in life, as a human and as a female."

The rest of the band wasn't too shabby, either, for the record.  Joe Hottinger on lead and acoustic guitar and backing vocals was very interactive with the crowd as he riffed his way through the band's greatest hits.  He and Lzzy played off each other and have great chemistry.  

Josh Smith on bass guitar, keyboards, and backing vocals was a quiet rock on stage, anchoring everything with his deep bass and keyboard.

Arejay Hale is the drummer and also Lzzy's brother.  His drum solo was like no other drum solo I've ever heard in concert before.  Up front was the typical drum solo but after that, it became the Arejay One Man Show.  Arejay was not happy unless the crowd was screaming.  He yelled at the crowd, telling us how much he loved us, Huntsville, and all of Alabama.  He demanded to know who in the crowd wanted to "fuck the drummer".  This was met by much noise, as I'm sure you probably can guess.  It's apparent Arejay works out and he's pretty easy to look at.  We'll leave it at that.  I didn't scream that I wanted to "fuck the drummer" because I'm a professional.  Stop laughing.  

The Arejay show continued with legendary drummer Bobby Rock from Lita's band coming onstage to play as Arejay integrated various other drums into his one man show.  DOROTHY drummer, Zac Morris, joined in the wonderfully decadent drum solo turned ensemble.  The whole spectacle climaxed with three different drum sets and all three of the drummers playing each other's drums at the same time.  It's kind of hard to describe but it was FUCKING AWESOME.

The rest of the band came back and finished the set, with Lzzy singing "Dear Daughter" while standing playing at a white baby grande piano.  It was breathtaking.  You can't fake talent like that in a million years, under any circumstances. 
Lzzy said that since so many had to go to work the next day (and even later that night) that the band wasn't going to do that "encore bullshit" routine to waste our time, they were just going to launch into it.  And they did, right before a stage hand delivered blue Solo cups to each band member and they toasted the crowd as they sang "Here's To Us".  The finale of the night was their hit "I Miss The Misery".  Lzzy delivered the lyrics flawlessly, her voice not faltering even after the extreme vocal workout she'd already been through the entire night.

Lzzy Hale is already a rock superstar and her band is only going to get better and bigger with each album.  She is the single most talented female artist I've ever seen live and I hope to see her and her band onstage again someday.  Lzzy may be storming down a path paved for her by the likes of Lita Ford, Joan Jett, and Pat Benatar, but she's on that road because of her own God given talent and hard work.  

Besides all of that, it became clear to me on Tuesday night that she's a chick I'd love to drink with. That is, if she doesn't kick my ass for throwing all that shade at her the last few years.  No wine or light beer, we could hang with each other.  All of those things combined makes her okay in my book.  I hope you accept my apology, Lzzy, and seriously...  I have whiskey.  Come by any time.

If Halestorm comes to your town, I advise you to get tickets.  The band puts on an incredible show, from start to finish.

'Till next time, y'all!


Recent Articles By Stephanie

No comments:

Post a Comment

Popular Posts