HALESTORM AND THE PRETTY RECKLESS BRING THE HEAT TO PNC BANK ARTS CENTER

Words & Photos by Anthony Vito Cosentino

August 2, 2022

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On one of the hottest days of the summer with a potential storm looming in the forecast for the evening, passionate fans of rock still rolled out in droves to catch Halestorm & The Pretty Reckless put on a fiery co-headlining performance, weather warnings be damned. These rock n’ roll powerhouses made their stop at PNC Bank Arts Center on July 28th, 2022, with support from The Warning and Lilith Czar. Each band on this tour is female fronted, and they all more than proved themselves to be some of the most badass and passionate performers in the rock scene today.

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First to take the stage was Lilith Czar, who’s commanding presence onstage was sure to entice those new to the band, such as myself. Formerly performing under her birth name Juliet Simms, she recently rebranded herself as Lilith Czar to signify her genre evolution from pop/indie to pure rock n’ roll. Her attitude as she strutted across the stage was both confident and enthralling, directly engaging with the crowd and feeding off of their energy. I would be remiss not to mention the equal talent of each member of Lilith’s band - from the cheer and enthusiasm of the drummer, to the pure passion of the guitarist, as well as the multi-tasking prowess of the bassist/keyboardist - everyone shined in their respective role and certainly contributed to Lilith Czar’s incredibly impressive opening performance.

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Next up was The Warning, a band that was likely new to many in the audience, but one that I have personally been a fan of for a few years now. This trio of young sisters hailing from Monterrey, Mexico, already exhibit the true spirit of rockstars at just twenty-two, twenty, and seventeen years old. This is likely due to the fact that this rock power trio has been performing since they were children, covering the likes of AC/DC, Foo Fighters, and Metallica, among others, to the tune of millions of views on YouTube. Speaking of Metallica, The Warning treated the crowd to their own rendition of the classic “Enter Sandman,” which they recorded last year as part of The Metallica Blacklist compilation album. Though they wear their influences proudly on their sleeves, The Warning’s original music rocks just as hard as the bands they grew up idolizing, and their synergy onstage as a cohesive unit is simply unmatched. Seeing a band this young and talented getting the recognition they deserve and opening for some of the biggest names in modern rock music gives me immense hope for the heights they will continue to reach in the future.

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As day turned to night, The Pretty Reckless were third to take the stage, and the anticipation in this New Jersey amphitheater was as palpable as the humidity on that hot summer evening. Smoke slowly filled the stage, and soon enough the band emerged from the cloud to the roar of an eager audience excited to sing along and rock out. The demeanor of frontwoman Taylor Momsen onstage is what I would coin as “casual badass;” she knows she will have this crowd in the palm of her hand for the entirety of the band’s set, and as such she can be unapologetically herself as she works the crowd with her performance. Her movement on stage is akin to that of a fierce yet reserved cobra, jutting her head forward at the crowd for emphasis as she sings and meandering about the stage in mesmerizing fashion. She has a clear adoration for her bandmates as well, leaning on them as she sings and headbanging alongside them as the instrumental parts grow with intensity. When it was time for them to play their critical hit “Heaven Knows,” all hands were clapping to the beat and every voice that knew the words sang along to “oh Lord, heaven knows, we belong way down below.”

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Not to be outdone, lastly it was time for Halestorm to take over the stage, and they most certainly know how to make an entrance. The curtain raised to reveal the band standing proudly together in unison, ready to rock the faces off the excited Jersey crowd. Lzzy Hale belts out to the crowd “I’m back from the dead!” and the band begins their set with this opening title track from their brand new album released just a few months ago. From that point forward, Halestorm’s electrifying energy never wavered for a moment as each member of the group emphasized their individual strengths, coming together to put on one of the most passionate rock n’ roll shows in recent memory. The guitar work from this band is absolutely incredible, solos fiery enough to melt faces off. Halestorm hit us with the hard rockers as well as the ballads, rolling out the piano for a couple songs to slow things down before ramping the intensity back up to eleven. Drummer Arejay Hale performed a drum solo for the ages about halfway through their set, increasing speed and complexity while casually spinning and flipping his drumsticks like it was child’s play, and finishing off the performance with a switch to cartoonishly large drumsticks that he still somehow managed to use with the same accuracy. As is to be expected from a Halestorm show, front woman Lzzy Hale was at the top of her game this night, handling her guitar with wicked precision and holding lengthy high notes with a level of grit and ferocity that is unfathomable until you hear and see it for yourself.


To say that each of these bands are some of the best in female fronted rock music would be doing them an incredible injustice; Halestorm, The Pretty Reckless, The Warning, and Lilith Czar are a few of the most talented bands in modern rock today, period.

HALESTORM

THE PRETTY RECKLESS

THE WARNING

LILITH CZAR

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Born and raised in Brick, NJ, I’ve had a strong passion for music for as long as I can remember. I found my love of photography in high school when I took an intro photo class my junior year, and realized over time that I could find a way to combine my two greatest passions, which is how I became a concert photographer. I graduated suma cum laude from the Honors School at Monmouth University, where I majored in Art with a concentration in Photography. I started shooting shows my senior year of college, practicing and learning at basement shows and local bar venues primarily in West Long Branch and Asbury Park. When I joined the on campus record label, Blue Hawk Records, that opened the door for all of the local shows I would frequent nearly every weekend at the start of my journey as a concert photographer. I’ve gained amazing connections though every band that I’ve photographed over the years, building my portfolio and making friends along the way. Now after over six years of shooting shows, I’ve had the opportunity to photograph some of my favorite bands at some of my favorite Jersey venues, including Rise Against, Blink 182, Sum 41, Silverstein, Bayside, Four Year Strong, A Day To Remember, Atreyu, The Used, Coheed and Cambria, and Greta Van Fleet, just to name a few. Each new show I have the opportunity to shoot becomes my new favorite show, and I love it more and more with each concert I attend. I hope that my passion shines through in my photography, as well as the accompanying reviews for all the talented bands that I have the pleasure of photographing.

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