Halestorm at the Forum Melbourne 10/12/19
Support by Villainy
Review and images by Paul Tadday
Okay, so I’m gonna cut right to the chase here and tell it like it is… HALESTORM in Melbourne was hands down, my favourite gig of the year! There… I said it! …and I’ve seen a few!
I mean, what’s not to like?
Blues-based hard rock/metal delivered in a blistering display of showmanship, precision, and intensity.
Crunchy, catchy rock riffs played LOUD with Gibson guitars led through Marshall amps. Raspy, wailing lead vocals, rib-busting bass lines and a genuine and intimate connection with an eager audience is exactly what was on show at the Forum Theatre on Tuesday night.
The show was kicked off in raucous fashion by Kiwi quartet VILLAINY. The band’s punk rock influences were definitely on display, with an attitude and energy that was palpable throughout its set. Another great band from across the ditch that is worth getting and seeing if you get the opportunity.
As the anticipation for HALESTORM grew, so too did the crowd. This was HALESTORM’S final show in the Aussie leg of this tour as well as the final show for the Vicious 2019 world tour. The manner in which this quartet played you could see that no punches were pulled. They were clearly leaving nothing on the stage.
Lzzy Hale’s vocals were in incredible shape for someone playing her last show after a year of relentless touring. She is mesmerising to watch. Charismatic, energetic and with all the moves and swagger you’d expect of a rock queen.
There were more than a few flashes of Paul Stanley, Joan Jett, Pat Benetar, and Chrissie Hynde, with a touch of James Hetfield thrown in for good measure.
Mind you, it would probably be difficult to wield a Gibson Explorer in any other fashion. There was no limping to the line by brother Arejay (drums), Joe Hottinger(guitar), or Josh Smith (bass) either. All band members were giving 110%. Mind you, I doubt that has much to do with this being the final show of the year, it’s just how HALESTORM gets shit done!
This is a band that has definitely come of age. The HALESTORM of 2020 will be one to definitely see live if you haven’t already. After 22 years together as a band, Grammy nominations and awards and five solid albums under its belt, this band has arrived. Thats’s not to say that the band has been less than brilliant previously either. But each time I have seen them play they just get better and better. More confident, tighter musically and killing the production (both visually and sonically).
The band ripped through a set of tracks from its latest album, “Vicious”, including “Do Not Disturb”, “Black Vultures”, “Skulls”, “Chemicals”, and “Uncomfortable”. While classics such as “Love Bites”, “I Miss The Misery”, “Here’s To Us” (with vodka shots!), and “Freak Like Me” all garnered incredible reactions from the crowd.
A highlight was Lzzy’s solo piano medley featuring “Rock Show”, “Dear Daughter” and a spine-tingling cover of Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You”. The latter demonstrated the incredible vocal strength and range that Lzzy has as a vocalist.
This vocal versatility was also on show during the bluesy/gospel intro into “Amen”, which also featured an extensive guitar-fuelled outro, with both Lzzy and Joe proving that their soloing chops are as solid as anyone in the genre.
Arejay and Josh both had time to shine as well, with a jazz/rock bass and drum jam that was awesome to watch. Arejay’s drum solo was as intense as it was entertaining. His use of over-sized sticks is a classic!
This was without doubt the best show I’ve seen HALESTORM play. I’m so glad that they made good on the promise they made during their Download shows in March, to return Down Under and give us a full show as soon as possible. Well, they certainly delivered. This band is incredible live, and after witnessing this tour, I cannot wait to see what HALESTORM has in store for us in the future!
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