Halestorm are a band that certainly polarise opinions amongst rock fans.Since they started in 2009 they have chosen a path of commercial easy on the ears music. Factory produced for Us Radio and with an over reliance on image rather than quality, heavy on huge choruses. True the bands singer is a pin up with a great pair of……..lungs but the rest of the band just may as well be session players. Certainly perusing their back catalogue in advance of the Belfast show for research purposes it largely left me distinctly non plussed.
However the band have picked up quite a reputation as a formidable live act through extensive touring since their inception. Latest album release “Wild Life”had a much harder musical edge so it was with a curious mind that I approached this early date on their UK tour.
Support tonight came from the strangely monikered “Wilson.”. With no prior musical knowledge I was very pleasantly surprised to find a balls out and in your face brutal hard rocking sounding act. Unfortunately the band fell victim to the usual mentality with audiences in this part of the world-ie spend time quaffing more beers instead of watching the support acts. They thus then immediately faced a tough uphill challenge from the outset. It was however tackled willingly embraced and faced with a fearless mastery in onstage craft. A direct and sharp set which was powerfully executed with a clinical precision. Vocalist Chad and the rest of the band devoting all their energies to winning over a small in numbers crowd that were quite literally battered into submission. The bands popular merchandise sales following their set merited a satisfactory job well done with heavy sales of both their Cd’s and other products-This being despite an absence of shirts due to a early tour glitch.
Headliners Halestorm began with a solo Izzy Hale singing a slow melodic piece which was easy both on the ears and eyes before the rest of the band took to the stage. Showcasing a set ranging right across their back catalogue they still largely focussed on the more commercial and huge chorus type numbers. The band as individuals were tight and competent musicians but it still came over as largely the Izzy Hale show (plus backing band). Throwing a drum solo early into the set was also a tactic that allowed the direct approach of an audience engaging performance to drop by several levels.
However maybe it was just myself personally as everybody around me seemed to be enjoying the show. The bands stage production wasn’t too over elaborate and did a satisfactory joy with a quality sound.Tunes from the bands latest release “Into The Wild Life”did come over live with a grittier more rocky sounding edge. It was those tracks which certainly sounded better to me. These fused with their huge popular singles “Freak Like Me” and the modern “Apocolyptic”
In conclusion I would have to say that the band delivered an entertaining show which was a successful combination of commercial sing along songs and harder edged newer tunes. The band didn’t blow me away but I did have an enjoyable evening.