Halestorm, Port City Music Hall, Portland ME, 5/6/10

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Halestorm, Port City Music Hall, Portland ME, 5/6/10

Postby Jonny B » Tue May 11, 2010 11:35 pm

A lot of things went wrong for me on thursday....I missed both my rest stops...blew by both exits to the Old Port on the first run...came out almost empty on my shopping...tell you honestly, I was real close to just turning around and going back home. If I did, I would've missed out on one of the best shows I've seen in years. I tell you what, the firefighters really missed their call while they battled the blaze that claimed the former Jordan's Meat Factory, for the real fire and energy came from the crowd, when Halestorm hit the stage at the Port City Music Hall.

I will say though that the opening acts were pretty bad. Janus was a no-show...Madam Adam had a tight sound, but grunge is grunge no matter how you slice it: 4 chord songs and a 1 octive voice. Burn Halo was awful; they had the Nickelback-clone sound, but the mix was unlistenable, and the singer dressed like some 50's greaser and couldn't hit a note to save his life. Trust me when I say there was no upstaging Halestorm.

At the end of this post are a couple video clips uploaded by another person who attended the show, but I'll tell you it does no justice to just watch Halestorm on a video as it did when I was there, in person, watching the stage presence, listening to the powerful voice of Lzzy Hale, how she held the mic as far away from herself as she could possibly go, yet you could still hear her voice above the rest of the band; she's got some lungs, no doubt the best I've heard live, and even after a solid hour and a half, she was still hitting the high notes to the final song. Lzzy, she sounds great on the studio album, but it doesn't capture just how powerful her voice was during the show.

Some of the highlights that I witnessed, of course, the drum solo by Arejay Hale, which included speed and technical elements, using his arms and legs to manipulate the sound of the drumheads, switching to baseball bat-sized drumsticks and continuing to solo at blazing speeds. Then there was the synchronized drumming sequence performed by the band using converted galvanized trash cans. Not sure what it is about watching people beating on things.

Adding to the technical aspects of the concert was during the guitar solos. Now, Joe Hottingger is the main guitar shredder of the group, but Lzzy Hale was also equipped with a guitar of her own, and during the solos, the two of them would switch off between the rhythm guitar and the solo seamlessly and never skip a beat. Lzzy would do more of the technical aspects (like the squeal or the unusual note combinations, and Joe took over when the speed shredding kicked in.)

To put it simply, Halestorm rocked, and it does no justice typing about it. Next time they come to a show near you, just go see them.

It was to my surprise that there was a meet & greet at the end of the show. Usually it's reserved for people who spend the extra coin for the VIP Pass...yes, they got to meet the band first, but they gained nothing extra otherwise; everyone got to meet the band.

For the most part, I was the typical fan, praising the group for their show and asking for autographs. Arejay, Joe, and bass player Josh Smith were pretty generic with greeting the fans, it was basic fan praising the performance/musician praising for the fans' support type of deal. It's obvious that there was only one person the people wanted to talk to, and that was the amazing Lzzy Hale herself.

She was a class act, a real pleasure to talk to. I asked Lzzy about her knowledge of the ladies of metal, back in the 80's. She mentioned a few of the common ones: Warlock, Lita Ford, Vixen...her voice reminded me of those higher-end powerful voices, including Doro Pesch (or Warlock,) Chrissy Steele ('That good?' she replied,) and Gundrun Laos (Even fewer know this singer, and even Lzzy was impressed. 'I didn't think anyone knew who she was.') From there, I explained to her how I got into 80's hair metal, and how I got tired of the sound after collecting 100s of cds. The thing is, for the longest time, I listened to these bands, who dressed more and more like women, and often sang those girly falsettos...it was so fake, the fashion statements these bands put on. I figured, if I'm going to listen to this style, why can't it be actual women, dressing like actual women, singing like actual women? This music, the lyrics, it was made for a female singer. From that point on, I sought out the lesser-known ladies of metal. The sub-genre of female-fronted rock remained obscure even after Evanescence hit the scene.

The amazing thing was that Lzzy's background regarding music was near-identical. Her brother got her into hair metal as well, she felt the same way about hair metal and how she looked for female voices in rock. They've been a band since Jr. High but didn't get signed until now (over 10 years of waiting.) It was when they heard the success of Evanescence that they decided to become more serious and seek out a record deal.

...Despite recent success from the likes of Halestorm, Evanescence, and the numerous groups who play overseas, Female-Fronted Metal continues to remain an obscure genre. It was the first time I've had a conversation with another woman, and had anything in common regarding my views in music. She even agreed that the Kelly Clarksons and the Avril Lavignes were pretenders; they may have an 'attitude' look, but they're still just pop singers...just not the same as when a lady sings real metal.

...But the dream came to an abrupt end when the band management told me to move along. Yes, there was a line behind me waiting for their own time. What's the rush? They're all drunk on alcohol; All they'll do is talk out of their asses and get their pictures rather then have a serious conversation of any kind...damnit, I'm a musician too! A failed musician, but a musician none-the-less.

But alas, I had to move on....The serious conversation about music became the usual fan praise to end it. 'Good luck on your first headlining tour,' I said. 'I hope in the future we'll be talking about Lzzy Hale as we do about the Amy Lee's and the Lita Ford's of the world.'

Her thank yous were very sincere, like if every fan mattered, regardless of their disposition.

To conclude, here are a couple links to videos that were posted by another fan who attended the show. I was hoping to find one more link to one of the heavier songs, but I guess the other fans kept their picture phone videos to themselves.

Middle-of-the-show Drum Solo
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6KWg8lbSSps

'I'm Not an Angel' (acoustic)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a7UWXNB787g

I apoligize that I don't have the setlist. But to sum it up, they play every song on the album in a slightly different order, including one of the bonus tracks. And of course the drum solo in the middle.
"I once had an understanding that everything would go my way. But now we’ve come too far along for me to hold on to my own beliefs" -- Delain
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Postby trekman » Wed May 12, 2010 7:07 am

Nice Jonny. :D Glad you DID decide to go instead of turning around. :wink: And very glad that Halestorm kicked ass! And you enjoyed it so much. I really love their CD. I hope that they do/are able to get a really good break and hit it big. Its so hard for "Rock" to do that now days. Did anyone ask about their next CD? Or did they mention a new one?
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Postby Jonny B » Wed May 12, 2010 9:31 pm

trekman wrote:Nice Jonny. :D Glad you DID decide to go instead of turning around. :wink: And very glad that Halestorm kicked ass! And you enjoyed it so much. I really love their CD. I hope that they do/are able to get a really good break and hit it big. Its so hard for "Rock" to do that now days. Did anyone ask about their next CD? Or did they mention a new one?


I think they're still touring extensively for the first album. They didn't play any new material during the show.

I'd like to have words with their booking manager. They're pretty much doing a show every day in towns 250 miles apart from each other. They should be entitled to a break once in awhile. What's the point of going to a city to play if you don't even get time to explore the city you're about to play in? I'd much rather have a day off in-between shows to look around.
"I once had an understanding that everything would go my way. But now we’ve come too far along for me to hold on to my own beliefs" -- Delain
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