STONE SOUR / HALESTORM / THE DEAD DEADS – Convocation Center – Ypsilanti, MI – 2/10/18
Review and Pictures: Tara Lakatos
Stone Sour, Halestorm and The Dead Deads performed at the Convocation Center in Ypsilanti, MI on February 10, 2018. This tour is supporting Stone Sour’s newest release “Hydrograd” which was released on June 30, 2017. Halestorm is still riding the wave of their 2015 release “Into the Wild Life” and their most recent EP “Reanimate 3.0” which was released on January 6, 2017. The Dead Deads are touring in support of their brand new EP “Sketches and Animation” which was released on January 26, 2018.
For me personally this was a dream tour package. I followed this tour for the last 4 shows and hit a Dead Deads headline stop on their off day. I attended shows in -20 degree weather in Minnesota, warmed up to -2 in North Dakota and battled snow, ice and flight delays to Michigan and upstate NY but I made it to all the shows, some with minutes to spare.
THE DEAD DEADS
The Dead Dead’s are a quartet based out of Nashville, TN. The current lineup includes Meta Dead (Leticia Wolf) (lead vocals/guitar), Daisy Dead (Mavis Turner) (vocals/bass), and recent additions Dolly Dead (Jonathan Jircitano) (vocals/guitar) and Johnnie Dead (Tosha Jones) (drums). I reviewed their set while on tour with Seether in December, since then they have released a new EP and added some amazing new songs to their set.
The Dead Deads recent lineup changes have certainly reinvigorated the band. Johnnie and Dolly joined the band in November and went right out on tour. They took a little off after New Years; then wrote, recorded and released a new EP all in a couple weeks time. The EP “Sketches and Animation” has 5 new songs recorded in both full electric and acoustic versions.
The realigned band has a magnetic energy that draws you into their “space”. They opened their set with a new song called “Ghosts”. This song is anything but your basic rock and roll tune. The beat and melody grab you instantly. Johnnie’s drumming oddly enough is something out of this world. She goes from a funky rim tapping sequence to a blazing heavy hitting rock beat. Watching her drum is a show in itself. Meta has her signature vocals all over this song. She starts out with her clean vocals in this fast paced track then goes into her growling screams. Her voice is well rounded and she uses it to her advantage. This song is quickly becoming a fan favorite in their set.
They included one other new song in their set called “Push Me”. Meta and Dolly’s guitar work on this song is flawless. Subtle nuances played by Dolly makes the song seem like there are more than two guitar players. Daisy’s bass is also blazing on this track; her and Johnnie have meshed really well as a rhythm section.
They played several tracks off of previous albums including “Space”, “Animals”, and “Blackout” closing with “Nope”. The new lineup has definitely shaken this band up for the better. The chemistry between the four members is undeniable, the new EP is outstanding and they are having a ton of fun hitting the stage every night. I see a big, bright future for The Dead Deads.
Halestorm consists of Lzzy Hale (lead vocals/guitar), Joe Hottinger (vocals/guitar), Josh Smith (vocals/bass) and Arejay Hale (vocals/drums). Halestorm has released three studio albums, “Halestorm” in 2009, “The Strange Case of…” in 2012 and “Into the Wild Life” in 2015. “The Strange Case of…” scored a Grammy in 2013 in the Rock/Heavy Metal category for the song “Love Bites (So Do I)”. This show happened to fall on the 5-year anniversary of their Grammy win. They also have 3 cover EP’s released, “Reanimate 1.0”, “Reanimate 2.0” and “Reanimate 3.0”. They record these EP’s for fun between studio albums and they are a Freak favorite. They’ve covered everything from the Beatles to Lady Gaga. They are touring while finishing up recording of their fourth studio album set to be released later this year.
If any one knows me, they know that I am a die hard Freak (Halestorm fan). Halestorm is a band that I have traveled half the globe to see perform, from London to Honolulu and everywhere in between. Their incredible live show and genuine personalities off stage make them a special breed in the world of rock and roll.
Halestorm opened their set with a new song “Black Vultures”. In recent interviews the band explained that this would be their heaviest album to date. If this song is any indication they are right. Lzzy stepped up to the mic growling “black vultures circling the…” several times then let out a screeching “…sky!“. Lzzy’s vocals are second to none; she’s the best in a generation. This song is a great showcase of her powerhouse vocals. Halestorm has a very distinct guitar sound led by Joe Hottinger. This song showcases his tone meshed with Lzzy’s chugging rhythm’s to generate a song that makes you want to head bang and throw stuff when the chorus hits. Lzzy’s brother, Arejay, is the drummer; he, like his older sister, is the best at his craft. He is the front man from the rear of the stage. Arejay’s drumming style is entertaining and his fun personality always shines through. “Black Vultures” showcases his talents in spades. Arejay has a huge stage presence and rarely sits through an entire song. This performance was no different even though they have only performed this song a handful of times. Josh Smith, the man in the shadows, holds down a heavy, fast paced baseline on this track. He and Arejay are one of the tightest rhythm sections in rock music. This new track has all of the Freaks dying with anticipation for the new album.
They stayed heavy for the first part of their set with “Love Bites”, “It’s Not You” and “Mz. Hyde”. These 3 songs are faced paced, true rock and roll anthems. Lzzy was influenced by a lot of classic rock. She has said she grew up listening to any band that had a color in their name, such as Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and Blue Oyster Cult. You can definitely hear her influences come through in her writing.
The set slowed down a bit for one of my favorite tracks off “Into the Wild Life” called “The Reckoning”. This song while slower in tempo showcase’s Lzzy’s amazing clean vocals. There’s about a 20 second stretch of vocals in the bridge that are probably some of her best that have been recorded. Then they pulled out one of their hardest covers in my opinion, “In the Still of the Night” by Whitesnake. This song has such distinctive guitar parts and David Coverdale’s vocals are in a league of their own. Halestorm performs this song with such conviction that you’d never know that it wasn’t their own. Lzzy has an incredible vocal range and the build to get to the scream is like literally waiting for a climax.
The stage cleared out and Lzzy’s piano was rolled on stage. You never know quite what she will pull out of her back pocket when this happens. Her ballad “Dear Daughter” is always a must but she has in recent months sung Bette Midler’s “The Rose” and Whitney Houston’s version of “I Will Always Love You”. On this night that surprise was an incredible version of Adele’s “Someone Like You”. I remember someone asking Lzzy what artists she would never cover and one of them was Adele. I believe her confidence has grown because she knocked it out of the arena.
Another special part of Halestorm’s set is Arejay’s drum solo. Like I had mentioned Arejay is the front man from the back. This gives him his 10 minutes to own the entire venue. It’s a spectacle of incredible drumming, singing with the audience and drumming with his big sticks, which are the size of Louisville Sluggers. He is larger than life and everyone always looks forward to this part of their set.
The rest of the show was packed with pure rock and roll including “Freak Like Me”, which pays homage to their fans, “I Get Off” and “Mayhem”. They closed with “I Miss the Misery” which Lzzy always starts with her signature scream. I have seen this scream go on for nearly a minute at headline shows. This was another great show that had the crowd losing their minds the entire set. Halestorm never disappoints, if you haven’t seen them yet you are missing out on real, live music.
Stone Sour closed the show with a 13-song set keeping the energy up from the previous two bands. Stone Sour consists of Corey Taylor (vocals), who also is the front man of Slipknot, Christian Martucci (guitar), Johny Chow (bass), and Roy Mayorga (drums). Josh Rand (guitar) is out on hiatus dealing with a medical issue. Corey’s friend RJ was filling in on this tour stop.
This is my second review for Stone Sour for this album cycle and they are still going strong. They stepped off of Shiprocked in Florida and immediately started this tour on the west coast of Canada two weeks ago.
Stone Sour opened the show with “Tapei Person/Allah Tea”. This song is a heart pounding song that had Corey running back and forth across the stage while singing. He has a ton of energy that cannot be contained when he is on the stage. His vocals were spot on. They continued the heavy route with “Knievel Has Landed” and “Made of Scars”. Johny Chow and Christian Martucci have become two of my favorite musicians recently. Chow spends nearly all of his time shredding the bass at the front of the stage while interacting with the audience. Christian spends 95% of the show with the world’s biggest smile on his face while playing and dancing around.
I met up with the band during a meet and greet and told him that his smile was one of the best parts of the show. There is nothing better than watching a concert when the people on stage are genuinely having a good time. That vibe rolls right out into the audience. Drummer Roy Mayorga is an absolute monster. Feeling the beat of the drums makes your heart race. Stone Sour knocked out several more heavy tracks including “30/30-150””, Do Me a Favor” and “Absolute Zero”. Corey spent a lot of time engaging the audience, throwing a lot of water bottles, and blowing off confetti cannons.
Corey slowed down the set with an older ballad “Hesitate”. He told all the guys if they want to impress the ladies they better know all the words. It’s a pleasure to see Corey’s softer vocals and him playing the guitar. Most people equate him with Slipknot, which showcases his hardcore metal vocals. Songs like “Hesitate”, Through Glass” and “Song #3” couldn’t be more opposite from that. Nearly everyone in attendance sang along with all of these songs. One of the highlights for me was “Rose Red Violent Blue (This Song is Dumb and So Am I)”. This is just a fun song to bounce around to; it has a funk beat and a happy vibe.
They closed their set with “Fabuless”. It was a great way to close out the high-energy show. It was a packed house filled with rock fans that braved snow and ice to get there. Stone Sour did their best to keep everyone inside nice and sweaty.
This tour package has ended with Halestorm stepping off to finish recording their album. There are still some dates left with The Dead Deads and other bands jumping in, including Red Sun Rising and In This Moment. Stone Sour was just also announced as the opener for Ozzy Osbourne’s final tour so be sure to catch them there.
Full galleries of all 4 shows as well as The Dead Deads headline show can be viewed at www.rockdnaphotography.com/photo-albums