Halestorm and support Wilson and Nothing More at The Ironworks, Inverness, 7/03/2015. A Review and pictures.
Halestorm and support rolled into town on Saturday night and all three bands conspired to pull off one of the gigs of the year so far.
Opening act Wilson don’t mess around, every minute of their set is a frenetic blast of noise and big, big riffs. Frontman Chad Nicefield marches on with a bass drum strapped to his chest and beats the shit out of it for a minute before the band aurally beat the shit out of a now near rabid Ironworks audience for the next thirty minutes.
Rock star posturing from the off and cries of, “Come on motherfuckers let’s see those fists,” sets the tone for the rest of the night. The Detroit band is here to get the party started and they do, they really bloody do. Playing a number of tracks from their latest album, ‘Full Blast Fuckery’, Nicefield is the Arch Fuckerer and conducts the chaos with evil glee.
This is Party metal at its best, tongue firmly in cheek, grins splitting their faces, duelling guitars and a faultless blitzkrieg cover of AC/DC’s ‘Back in Black’ cover that they carry off superbly.
Towards the end of their set Nicefield bellows, ‘Inverness, are we friends now?!” The answer is a resounding ‘fuck yeah’.
Texans Nothing More manage to match Wilson in the hyperactivity stakes and shirtless frontman Jonny Hawkins whirls and leaps about the stage like a man possessed.
They’re are bit proggy and don’t have the immediacy of Wison, but technically they are excellent. Despite all members of the band noodling on a bass guitar mounted on a large spinning stand for a few minutes leaving a number of folk a bit nonplussed, they put on a clever and versatile performance. They reminded me a lot of modern prog bands like Tesseract and The Mars Volta.
Not the most accessible of bands but I suspect they’re a grower and certainly worth further listening. I’m definitely keen to go see any band again that challenges me to try and pin them down.
After all that you can’t help worry for Halestorm having to follow two very high quality support bands. The main act arguably isn’t anywhere near as heavy as the support but all credit to them for picking two very solid bands to join them on tour. There was no real cause to worry though; Halestorm’s catchy hooks and sing-along choruses keep the excitement level ratcheted up to100 for the next 90 minutes.
Entering the stage singing a cappella to a new track ‘She Won’t Mind’, Lzzy Hale’s voice is enough to give you goosebumps. I might get criticised for saying it, but there are very definite echoes of Janis Joplin here, that gravelly husky tone that she has is really very impressive.
From then on it’s a solid set of hit after hit. They might not be megastars on the world rock stage but the strength of the material off the first two albums surely means this is one of the last chances we’ll get to see them in smaller venues in the UK. Tracks like ‘Love Bites (So Do I), ‘Rock Show’ and ‘I Get Off’ are great tracks in their own right and live they really come to… life! Hale and Co really seem to have nailed the knack of writing the perfect three minute rock song.
It was fitting that on the eve of International Woman’s Day Lzzy chose to remind the female members of the audience that if they can put their minds to it that they really can achieve anything. Lzzy and her brother, drummer Arejay, have been at this since they were twelve which gives an idea of how much work they’ve putting into forging a career in the music industry.
She dedicates ‘Daughters of Darkness’ to them, ‘we’re blowing out the speakers, there goes the neighbourhood…’ as the father of a 13 year old daughter I’m more than happy to have Lzzy Hale putting herself out there as a role model. As long as she leaves my speakers alone of course!
New singles ‘Amen’ and ‘Apocalyptic’ are introduced to the Ironworks and both are in a similar vein to the material in the first two albums, plenty to punch fists in the air to and a fair whack of Halestorm sass to boot.
This is a ‘proper’ rock concert and proper rock concerts have drum solos. Introduced as ‘living proof that there is a Loch Ness Monster’, Arejay Hale duly obliges and manages to fit in audience participation and the most ridiculous pair of oversized drumsticks you’re likely to see this side of a Pipe Band.
Finishing off with ‘Mz Hyde’ and ‘Here’s to Us’, sweaty and euphoric rock fans drift off into Inverness’ own storm raging outside…. but it takes a real Hale Storm to make us hardy Highlanders really pay attention.