Support from In This Moment and New Years Day
Motorpoint Arena – Nottingham, U.K. 11/25/19
Review and Pictures: Nicky Barker
So, the day finally arrived to get completely out of my comfort zone and travel alone to Nottingham to see Halestorm. They played at the Motorpoint Arena as part of their biggest ever UK headline tour. A far cry away from the first time I saw them in 2012 at a tiny venue in Leeds. The selfish part of me wishes I could go back to those days of small, intimate venues, but I am so happy for Halestorm who are proof that that hard work and determination to follow your passion really does pay off. The night was a testament to that as already the arena was packed with excited fans. Some of which were already queuing outside the arena when I passed by much earlier in the day.
New Years Day
The evening kicked off with the first of the three female fronted bands, American goth metal band New Years Day. From the off it was clear they meant business. Front woman Ash Costello up on her risen stage with her long red hair gave a powerful performance and completely owned the stage.
The band are out supporting their 4th studio album ‘Unbreakable’. They only played a very short set but managed to pack songs from this album and older tunes and even played a cover of Pantera’s ‘Fucking Hostile’. Ash said men have voiced that women could not sing this song so this was a bit of a middle finger up to those who might have made that comment. During ‘Skeletons’ the entire arena was lit up by torchlight as Ash thanked all women in Rock. This was a great opening act and certainly set the precedence for the evening. Following their set the band came down into the pit area and to meet and thank fans personally which was a nice touch. Unfortunately, there are not many images of the performance as they played in almost total darkness.
In This Moment
There was a brief interval while the stage was being prepared for the next band, In This Moment. Journey’s ‘Don’t Stop Believin’ rang out through the speakers getting the whole arena singing out loud. The lights went down and boom, the huge curtain fell to the floor, followed by a huge roar from the crowd. I was not familiar with the band but judging by the cheers, the crowd definitely were. Two women in haunting masks slowly came and stood at the side of a very gothic looking tent. Lots of smoke for dramatic effect and out from the tent appeared Maria Brink with her long blonde hair, wearing a full length robe.
The first song was a Steve Miller Band cover of ‘Fly Like an Eagle’ then into ‘River of Fire’. It soon became evident that the gothic tent was a make shift dressing room as Brink had frequent costume changes throughout the set. I do feel the head mic worn by Maria impeded the sound quality as her vocals seemed a bit lost among all the theatrics. The rest of the band added to the witchcraft feeling, drummer Kent Dimmel in his skeleton mask, Chris Howorth on guitar in his hooded robe and Travis Johnson on bass with his half face mask.
The entire set was full of atmosphere and dramatics. Giant black and white balloons were released across the arena before the last song of the set ‘Whore’ which saw Brink donning a cone shaped hat, wrapped in a white robe standing high up on a podium with the words “whore” written in blood red. Although musically the set was not my cup of tea, the mystic theatrics were brilliant and from a photographers view they made it a superb set to shoot. I really enjoyed it.
With the entire arena now buzzing, the anticipation and excitement for Halestorm’s arrival on stage was at boiling point. The wait was soon over as Josh, Joe and Arejay took up their spots on stage to thunderous applause and cheers from the crowd. The clapping and and cheers intensified several notches as Lzzy, with her signature Gibson Explorer and in her incredibly high heeled, black thigh boots, walked out on stage,. A quick acknowledgment of the crowd by raising her arm high in the air and straight into ‘Freak Like Me’, followed by ‘Love Bites’. Their sound is huge and easily filled the packed out arena.
Lzzy has an impeccable vocal range that never falters. ‘Vicious and ‘I Get Off’ before an outro of ‘Familiar Taste of Poison’ brought in ‘Amen’. Arejay and Josh were now left on stage alone and began a drum and bass guitar-off with each other. Josh then played a brilliant solo on his bass guitar followed by Arejay’s drum solo which never disappoints, especially when his crowd pleasing giant drum sticks come out. A guy sat next to me had never seen them before, his face was a picture as he chuckled away.
All four now reunited back on stage to play ‘Black Vultures’ a song that sounds fantastic in the live setting. up next were ‘Uncomfortable’, ‘I am The Fire’, ‘Chemicals’ and ‘Do Not Disturb’ after which the band all left the stage for what seemed like an eternity. Lzzy then came back out alone. Just her and her keyboard under the spotlight. She said to the crowd that “the night was magical” and then began her solo. Starting with ‘In Your Room’ and seamlessly blending in ‘Dear Daughter’ and Adele’s ‘Someone Like You’. The audience seemed to fall silent, captivated by her incredible vocals. It was a beautiful moment.
Calling Detroit out on stage with the drinks the band said thanks to the Nottingham crowd and raised their glasses to them then sang ‘Here’s To Us’ and ‘She Won’t Mind’. ‘I Miss the Misery’ was the final song of the evening but half way through and much to my delight incorporated into the song was Pat Benatar’s ‘Hell is For Children’. Being a huge Benatar fan, this made my night. Guitar solos by both Josh and Lzzy brought in an explosive ending to what was a phenomenal show.