Due to silly things like needing to eat and put a young boy to bed, we made it to the Garage about half way through Heaven’s Basement‘s set. Now, I swear I’ve heard their name before and might have seen them opening for someone else but I don’t remember. They’re not bad – confident, professional and definitely capable of warming up a crowd for the headliners.
Any band which can have the lead singer stagedive at the end then be surfed around without being covered in beer or dropped on the floor has obviously made a good impression.
From a possible up-and-coming success to a band that’s managed to get its foot firmly on the stepladder – the brother-and-sister fronted Halestorm. I first missed this act when they opened the Taste of Chaos tour in 2010, finally saw them earlier this year opening for Shinedown and bought tickets for their headlining Cathouse gig the day they went on sale. Which was a good thing as they were upsized to the Garage and promptly sold out.
Halestorm have had a fairly quick rise, but this is well-deserved. The band are all talented musicians, especially the core of Lzzy and Arejay Hale. All four members are great on stage, too. Josh Smith looks meaty and moody as any bassist should, Joe Hottinger is a good-looking guy who poses and bounces around on guitar, Lzzy Hale is stunning and incredibly talented vocally and musically, while Arejay Hale is one of the funniest and most entertaining drummers you will ever see playing live.
It’s also very, very obvious watching them that they’re loving every moment of being up there. All too often you hear bands telling the crowd how awesome they are and how it’s the best place to play. Halestorm go that little further and mention that it’s simply being on stage and being able to tour that means so much to them. You know, I’d rather be classed in with every fan who’s helped them get there than be complimented because “[insert city here] is just so great and we always want to play here, and you’re the best crowd and blah.” Lzzy does tend to gush a little about this, but it just emphasised the sincerity – they’re incredibly fortunate to have this life and they appreciate it.
With nothing but a light show and their talent to carry the performance, the quartet did splendidly. Halestorm have a range of songs from rock anthems to ballads and all the stops were pulled out, including a passable cover of Judas Priest‘s “Dissident Aggressor” (yes, Slayer covered this on South of Heaven as well). Lzzy’s vocals work well to hit Halford’s infamous high notes!
With a bassist who also plays keyboard, a singer who does guitar and her own keyboard duties and a drummer who’ll happily perform a solo using his hands, feet or umbrellas to play his instrument of choice you know you’re in for some top end entertainment and Halestorm certainly didn’t disappoint.
The set ran for roughly an hour and a quarter and covered both albums plus the aforementioned cover song. “I Get Off”, “A Familiar Taste Of Poison”, “Love Bites (So Do I)”, “Mz. Hyde”, “Rock Show”, “You Call Me A Bitch Like It’s A Bad Thing”… and more. Every song thoroughly lapped up by the audience who punched the air, bounced and waved their arms depending on the tune.
With the ever-present curfew, the band didn’t take more than a minute to walk off before their curtain call and as the deadline hit them they ended with a toast to the audience… including their first taste of Buckfast. Oh dear. Arejay left with a lovely souvenir of his visit to Glasgow, too – a pair of rather frilly knickers thrown at him by (one hopes!) a female audience member.
The only disappointment with the gig was that we couldn’t take Little Miss. There are very few “all ages” gigs in Glasgow as most venues are licensed so they tend to have an “over 14’s only” policy, even when accompanied by a parent. Having said that, a crammed Garage isn’t really somewhere an eleven year old girl would have been happy, I don’t think, and this show was sold out.
Halestorm are a band who would not be out of place on a much larger stage. They have the presence and the charisma to carry it off, and I’m sure they’ll keep on going. Best of luck to them, and we’re really looking forward to seeing them again – hopefully at a more spacious, youngster-friendly venue!