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Halestorm at O2 Academy Brixton

Coming off latest album Vicious, hard-hitting rock band Halestorm (consisting of lead singer Lzzy Hale, drummer Arejay Hale, guitarist Joe Hottinger, and bassist Josh Smith) have gone on to support the album cycle with a string of UK shows, the last of which saw them selling out London’s O2 Academy Brixton. And damn what a show. Relying on minimal production, this is a band whose gigs show that rock is still well and truly alive; a task which can simply be achieved by getting up on stage and playing your heart out. While some may associate the reduced production (such as an absence of major lighting sequences or pyrotechnics) as a lack of showmanship (especially in comparison to opening act Avatar), what it instead does is add a level of authenticity to the show. At the end of the day, this is Halestorm at its simplest and doing what Halestorm knows how to do best which is putting on a rock show. Whether this is getting everyone in the room to headbang and scream to fan favourites such as Freak Like Me or stripping things back and slowing the night down with newer songs such as The Silence this is a band who have come to hone their live show and can easily make a night with them worth the trip. Indeed, at no point in the evening is there a dull moment with the band powering through new and old tunes alike only to finish with a heartwarming sing-a-long to the evening’s closer Here’s To Us.

Whilst there were many stand out moments of the night (with Arejay’s five-minute drum solo being a particular favourite and showing why he is arguably one of the best in the business) one cannot write a Halestorm review without focusing on the frontwoman herself Lzzy Hale. Lzzy’s vocals served to provide one of the stand-out highlights of the evening with her persona and vocals owning the stage (particularly when left on stage to herself to do an a cappella version of I Get Off) Testament to Hale’s ability was the reworking of songs so as to give her voice increasing time to shine with many numbers having longer vocal sequences than found on the albums so as to accommodate for her ability and to let her show the audience what she can really do. Indeed, whilst each of the band members had their moment of glory the night was definitely Lzzy’s.

Overall, whilst the music on the show may not be for everyone’s liking, there is no doubt that for those looking for a rock show worth the time and money, Halestorm are the way to turn. And for those asking if rock is still well and truly alive? Hale-Yeah!

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