I was a teenage hard rocker (well, who wasn’t in the 80s)… and while my musical tastes have become more varied since those days, I’ve always been a sucker for catchy melodies. That is exactly what makes Halestorm stand out as THE number one hard rock band in my current listening habits. They totally 100% master the art of great melodies and anthemic rock. (OK, I have to admit that their pretty perfect front figure Lzzy Hale has a lot to do with my fandom beside the song material).
So when the Grammy winning and rock chart topping band once again made a stop in Stockholm on their latest tour, I was full of anticipation knowing full well what they are capable of live.
The wait is over as Arejay Hale takes his place behind the drum set and starts banging away to the beat of Mz. Hyde as his sister Lzzy enters the stage to the cheers of the audience. “Welcome to the nightmare in my head!”… I find my head making slight banging movements in between snapping the photos.
They continue full-steam with It’s Not You and as I aim my photo lens on Lzzy, I can’t help but overhear the young fangirls in the front row going on about how good Lzzy looks. And she really does… Call it star quality, charisma or just plain confidence, she’s got it. She totally looks the part of rock chick extraordinaire in those ripped skinny jeans, that leather jacket … AND those nine inch heels!
Dang, those heels! And I’m guessing a fair portion of the girls in the audience are crushing on her as much as the guys.
They go on with a proper rock anthem, Freak Like Me and get the audience chanting along with the Hey Hey Hey’s. These people are more than happy to be freaks like Lzzy and the boys. Our three songs in the photo ditch are up and we are ushered out to the rest of the audience. The buzz from that intensive start at a touching distance from Lzzy, Joe Hottinger and Josh Smith still lingers on though.
Lzzy tells Stockholm is one of the band’s favorite places to play and I have a feeling she might pretty well mean it. Can I get an Amen? Yeah, people sing along to that latest chant-worthy release as well.
Where are my proud bitches at?, Lzzy shouts. That gets many hands up and the show obviously goes on with You Call Me a Bitch Like it’s a Bad Thing. The girl power segment continues with Daughters of Darkness, as Lzzy tells the guys in the audience they’ve got some of the most beautiful rock’n’roll women standing right next to them.
More new music… Baby love me Apocalyptic! And they go on with the song that perfectly describes the feeling that draws me and many others to live music. You know that feeling, when your heart really does beat like a kick drum:
At the Rock Show
You’ll be right in the front row
Heart and soul they both know
It’s where you gotta be
The band cool it down a notch to play a Fleetwood Mac cover, which Lzzy introduces as her mom’s favorite song: Gold Dust Woman.
But there’s not much time to chill, as it’s time for Arejay to bring on the mayhem on his drum kit. He has got to be one of the most entertaining drummers around! He has the audience eating out of his hand and finishing his lines when he starts the choruses of I wanna rock’n’roll all nite… and Dirty deeds done dirt cheap, and then doing the chant from Seven Nations Army. Arejay ends his solo by pounding on the drums with his over-sized drum sticks (not as ridiculously huge as on previous occasions I’ve seen them). Obviously, the band goes on to play Mayhem, as a little more mayhem never hurt anyone.
Then it’s time for some voyeuristic pleasures… I get off on you getting off on me… It’s all give and take between the audience and the band as Lzzy asks the crowd to use their voices loud and proud to sing along to Love bites, but so do I! I just can’t get over what a great voice Lzzy has and that set of pipes works wonders also on I Miss the Misery that ends the set.
The crowd stomps and shouts for the compulsory encore and the band comes back on. Lzzy says she has an important question to us: Do you like it heavy, Sweden!? Well of course we do, so they promise to keep coming back as long as we’ll have them. As the band plays I Like it Heavy, I observe a lady, most likely in her fifties, shouting along and pumping her fist, totally enjoying herself and liking it heavy, like the rest of the crowd around us.
Thank you for holding that rock’n’roll flag flying high, Lzzy says, Here’s to us! A sea of hands starts waving to the sounds of the last gem of a rock anthem of the evening. Well thank YOU Halestorm!
All photos (c) Nina Uddin