Fresh off the release of their latest album Vicious, Halestorm has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that they are at the top of their game. Vocalist Lzzy Hale and her brother Arejay Hale originally formed the band which also includes guitarist Joe Hottinger and bass player Josh Smith. Since signing with Atlantic Records in 2005, Halestorm has produced five outstanding albums: One And Done (2006), Halestorm (2009), The Strange Case Of … (2012), Into The Wild Life (2015), and Vicious which was released just last month. In 2013, the band won a Grammy for Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance, the first female-fronted band to do so.
Stone Pony fans exploded as the hard rockers shook the stage with their brand-new hit, “Skulls.” Half of the evening’s 15 song setlist contained material from their new album, and it’s no wonder why. Vicious has already produced a top-ten hit with “Uncomfortable” and it wouldn’t surprise me if additional tracks break the top ten as well. In addition to “Black Vultures,” “Do Not Disturb,” “The Silence,” “Uncomfortable,” “Killing Ourselves To Live,” and “Vicious;” Halestorm added “Heart of Novocaine” to the set after several fans requested it during the meet and greet. You know an album has succeeded when fans are requesting a song that was released only two weeks prior.
Lzzy’s voice is as strong as ever and she can scream a song as beautifully as she can sing it. Her powerhouse vocals were assertive, dominant, and emotional as hell. The energy behind her singing was matched perfectly with the high intensity of the driving guitars, pumping bass line, and frenetic drumming. Showing off her versatility, Lzzy also wowed the crowd with a beautiful performance of the love song, “The Silence.” It was one of the sweetest highlights of the night.
Arejay Hale kept the pace moving fast with a five-minute drum solo that showcased his percussive skills while playing with the biggest drumsticks I’ve ever seen. Rounding out the setlist were many crowd favorites including: “Love Bites (So Do I),” “I Miss The Misery,” “I am The Fire,” “Freak Like Me,” “Amen,” and the encore “Here’s to Us.” Fans were dancing and singing every word with pumped fists in the air.
Lzzy took time to show appreciation for the fans and thanked everyone for choosing to spend the night at a Halestorm show. She pointed out a fan in the front row who has seen the band seventy-five times and it seemed to genuinely humble her. The connection between Lzzy and her fanbase is strong and she wants Halestorm’s music and message to be meaningful to them. In a recent interview with Backstage Axxess, Lzzy was explaining why their new album is titled Vicious. She said, “... it’s just so much more in life right now than being strong and weathering the storm. You kind of have to come at life with a little bit of teeth and be fierce about it – be bold and forceful and force yourself into these situations that maybe make you uncomfortable, maybe make other people uncomfortable.”
At the show she told the audience the importance of being “unapologetically you.” “It’s ok if others don’t understand it,” she added. “It’s all about overcoming the impossible.” The lyrics of "Vicious" say just that:
What doesn't kill me
Makes me vicious
I'm not gonna break, I can take
All that you can give, this is survival
Of the sickest
I am not afraid, bring the pain
Watch out 'cause I'm vicious
And I'm not asking for forgiveness
Yeah I make you go ballistic
Your torture is our business
And I won't leave a witness
Halestorm should be on every concertgoer’s must-see list. Even if you’ve been to one of their past shows, it is definitely worth seeing them perform again in order to hear their incredible new material. Check out their upcoming tour dates here.