It’s a clear Saturday evening and in the middle of Sheffield, ques are forming to enter the O2 Academy. The reason for these lines of people all dressed up for a rock show is because it’s the first night in England on Halestorm’s UK tour. In support of their latest album Vicious, the band has crossed the waters to play to their “Freaks” who have shown support with each show being sold out.
First up were UK based Rews and their two-girl band. They have spent the summer working the live music and festival circuit and seem to have their performance down to a tee from what they put on tonight. Despite fans still coming through the doors and the arena being half full, they came on with bundles of energy. From start to finish these girls put on a show using the stage and clearly having the best time doing it. For those who managed to catch the set they were clearly impressed with them and no doubt the band has some new fans.
Avatar took over the stage next and just in case you missed who they were their name was lit up as their backdrop. With their long hair, makeup and theatrical flair they were a sight to behold. But it doesn’t stop there for these guys as their performance only enhances their stage presence. With frontman Johannes Eckerström taking center stage, he took control as he interacted with the crowd through his performance. From the faces he pulls to how he sings towards the crowd, his whole demeanor pulls you in. With the rest of the band standing their own ground behind him, it’s difficult to know where to focus as they take entertainment to the next level. From start to finish of the set it was a complete performance from the crowd interaction to how they conduct themselves, they are a must-see live band whether you know them or not!
By this point, the crowd was more than warmed up for the headlining act. The band took to the stage and headed straight into “Black Vultures” before hitting “I Am The Fire”. These first couple of songs got the crowd singing and moving around from the get-go. It was already clear to see that there were some die-hard fans in the audience who have followed the band from the beginning as they sang with every single song. But it’s Lzzy Hale who really brings the crowd out and gets them going. She is one of those frontwomen who can stand on stage and really interact with the crowd. This can really make the difference between seeing a good band live and seeing a great band. The other side of this is a band that can play live and sound as good as when they are in the studio, and these guys certainly deliver on this. Lzzy’s voice is outstanding live and the notes she is able to hit are beyond impressive. The real stand out moment for this was for the opening section of new track “Do Not Disturb”. Before heading into the main track the stage goes black and Lzzy’s voice can be heard over the crowd as she performs an acapella version of their classic hit “I Get Off” slowed down. As she performs this moment it’s clear the rest of the crowd is just as in awe of her talent as she receives a huge round of applause and cheers as she ends. But this is not the only Hale with talent in the family as her counterpart Arejay gives the crowd one hell of a drum solo. As drum solos go some can become long and find the crowd loses interest, however, Arejay can’t be classed in that category. He plays to a beat that keeps the crowd moving but also has his own trick up his sleeves as he pulls out two completely oversized drumsticks for the end section of this which definitely grabs your attention back to the stage and really must take some talent to be precise with such large instruments.
The set as a whole was a really good blend of tracks old and new from “Mz Hyde” and “Love Bites” to “Skulls” and “Vicious”. They were spaced out throughout the set in a way that kept the room’s energy up so that those unfamiliar still with the new album could still join in. As the night drew to a close the encore was a perfect example of this. After returning to the stage, Lzzy took the time to thank the crowd for allowing to come over and play in the UK and wanted to perform a love song for the crowd. This acoustic moment of Lzzy and her guitar was just another highlight of the night as she slowed things down. But every encore needs some huge sing-along hits and the band delivered. With the whole band on stage, it was time for “I Miss The Misery” which is a favourite among many fans from the bands back catalogue. By this point, there was time for just one more track which the band set up perfectly with a “cheers to us” as they drank a shot and performed “Here’s To Us”. It seemed the right way to end the evening and close the first night of the tour. Halestorm managed to pull it out the bag once again and provide their fans with a killer performance.
Halestorm UK Tour Dates:
Wed 19 Sep – DUBLIN Academy SOLD OUT
Thu 20 Sep – BELFAST The Telegraph Building SOLD OUT
Sat 22 Sep – SHEFFIELD O2 Academy SOLD OUT
Sun 23 Sep – GLASGOW O2 Academy SOLD OUT
Mon 24 Sep – BIRMINGHAM O2 Academy SOLD OUT
Wed 26 Sep – MANCHESTER O2 Apollo SOLD OUT
Fri 28 Sep – LONDON O2 Academy Brixton SOLD OUT
Sat 29 Sep – BRISTOL O2 Academy SOLD OUT
Words by Emmie Ellis. Photos © Mark Ellis