Even though it had only been just over 12 months since Halestorm had been in Australia beforehand approaching the Triffid an hour before the doors had opened left me waiting in a line that sprawled out the front of the venue, half way down the street and around the corner. Guess you can’t really blame the fans, considering that a few shows on this tour had already sold out and that this wasn’t going to just be any normal night!
Opening band Devilskin were first up and having heard nothing of them before this show I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised with their set as the New Zealand quartet know how to throw one hell of a party. The group certainly didn’t take long to get the crowd pumping with their own style which bordered a very Evanescence sound while still remaining quite unique – but it absolutely weaved its magic over the crowd in a short period of time. Hell – not only did they perform a cover of one of Heavy Metal’s most revered songs in Dio’s Holy Diver, but the band did it justice – and that is something that not many bands that attempt this can actually attest to. As a matter of fact, probably the only thing I didn’t like about their set was the times that frontwoman adopted a harsher vocal style – not because they weren’t good, but because I don’t feel that they translated well in that setting. This could be something which could be tied down to the acoustics of the venue, so it’s only very minor in the scheme of things, but with that aside, the band was definitely a deserving opener and I can guarantee you that they made a ton of new fans and followers off the back of that performance.
From the very minute that Halestorm took the stage there was absolutely no question as to what the next 90 minutes was going to bring – purely unadulterated rock! It took very little crowd coercion for the band, and enigmatic frontwoman Lizzy Hale herself, to get the crowd singing along to opener ‘Apocalyptic’ – and from there the night never took a backward step.
What was presented up on stage worked incredibly well – a stripped back stage with minimal flair that gave each member the appropriate space to do their job, and do it very well. Where do I begin? Guitarist Joe Hottinger is absolutely incredible to watch with his stage energy and it’s through some of his solos and slides on the guitar that some of the greatest memories of the night come from; bassist Josh Smith performed well, but didn’t hit the energetic heights of his six stringed comrade across stage; Drummer Arejay Hale was captivating to watch as he put various little stylistic approaches into his playing that even made him a centerpiece of the performance at times, and even had the opportunity to set the room alight with a drum solo (with which he was joined by the drummer of Devilskin at one stage for a revolving drum throne drum duet) during the middle of the set.
And finally, if there was any person on the night that deserved the attention they received, it was the affable Lizzy Hale herself.Watching the way that she pours her effort into not only her singing but her guitar playing- and what a voice and ability she has! Perhaps the moment that best summed up the whole night was when Lizzy managed to get the entire crowd to be quiet while she spoke to them and thanked everyone for their support and for coming to the band’s shows. It’s this humility which just enhance the affection that the fans have for her and the band and is probably the true reason that a venue practically sold out on a Thursday night.
The band’s set covered a wide variety of songs throughout the bands career and seemed to appease the vast majority of the crowd. The intensity did however lift towards the end, and I’m not quite sure if the fans had ‘warmed up’ or just enjoyed the tail end of the setlist more but there definitely seemed to be more singing and movement throughout the last half of the set for songs like ‘I like it Heavy’, and ‘I am the Fire’.
So even though there was what would be considered a short gap between tours, the fans still flocked out in droves for the final night of the tour. Following the performance that Halestorm put on it’s very difficult to see why they wouldn’t as the band were difficult to falter for their entire set. It’s this commitment to perfection, coupled with the lovable nature of each band member and the incredible humility of the frontwoman herself that endears this group so fondly in the eyes of the Australian fans. Hopefully the next visit to Australia occurs in as short amount of time as this one did.