As the old saying goes – hard work pays off. And with a work ethic that includes playing up to 250 shows a year, this phrase could well be Halestorm’s mantra.
Almost ten years ago the US-based quartet was cutting their teeth at The Garage on Sauchiehall Street. And since that time the Pennsylvania natives have spawned a decade long relationship with the city having played at all of the milestone venues that Glasgow has to offer.
And following numerous returns to Scotland including several arena guest spots alongside the likes of both Alter Bridge and Black Stone Cherry, Lzzy Hale declared that the band wondered if they would ever headline the SSE Hydro? Well tonight, that dream was realised.
This current run being the cherry on top of a year that has seen Halestorm become the first female-fronted band to headline the second stage at Download, as well as their track ‘I Miss The Misery’ being officially certified platinum. Impressive additions to their already glowing resume to say the least.
As the band takes to the stage, they are most certainly up for the occasion. Halestorm opens the set with the sultry ‘Do Not Disturb’, before belting through a pair of arena pleasing anthems in the shape of their Grammy award-winning single ‘Love Bites (So Do I)’ and ‘Mz. Hyde’. And all we can say is ‘Amen’ to that.
Whilst Lzzy Hale may well be the voice and the focal point of the band, younger brother Arejay proves he can also lead from the back. Positioned behind his drum kit on a gargantuan riser at the rear, Hale alongside his counterpart in the rhythm section bass player Josh Smith takes centre stage during an extended jam.
Arejay goes on to steal the spotlight with a thunderous drum solo. Not only is he a powerhouse drummer, but also he is incredibly entertaining to watch – particularly where his super sticks are concerned.
Sporting black PVC trousers and spiky platform boots that would even give Gene Simmons a run for his money, Lzzy Hale leads the group into fan favourite ‘Freak Like Me’. Current single ‘Black Vultures’ has all the hallmarks of a classic in the making. Whilst a frantic rendition of ‘Uncomfortable’ is dedicated to the ladies in tonight’s audience.
Twinkling cell phone lights flicker throughout the arena as Halestorm closes out their main set with a scorching performance of ‘I Am The Fire’. However, nobody was quite prepared for what was about to come next.
Illuminated by a single white spotlight and positioned behind her keyboard Lzzy took the Hydro through a spellbinding three-song solo segment that allowed Hale’s glorious voice to fill this huge and cavernous arena.
Lzzy segued together ‘Break In’, ‘Dear Daughter’ and most surprisingly Whitney Houston’s ‘I Will Always Love You’ one by one. Now the latter is probably the least likely song you would expect to hear at a Halestorm concert, but it was enough to take everyone’s breaths away. The sentiment of the track certainly rings true tonight, and for the Glasgow crowd in attendance, the feeling was mutual.
Halestorm quickly switches gears with ‘I Miss The Misery’ closing out the proceedings proper.
Tonight’s performance at the SSE Hydro cements Halestorm’s duly deserved arena status. All that is left to say is ‘Here’s To Us’ and the next ten years.
In This Moment made their eagerly anticipated return to Scotland with their first show in Glasgow in almost 4 years. And tonight the band spared no expense bringing an arena-worthy production that encapsulated their ambition, unrivalled creativity and theatrical personas.
With frequent costume changes to reflect the varying themes of the band’s eight-song setlist, Maria Brink captivated the audience as In This Moment gave the crowd a taste of what they are all about. The band certainly left the crowd ‘Adrenalized’ for tonight’s headliners and even filled the arena with inflatable balloons during the closing moments of their set.
With just a few short weeks left of 2019, New Year’s Day was a perfectly fitting opener for tonight’s explosive triple bill. With each band showcased bringing something a bit different to the proceedings – NYD was certainly one of the heaviest bands to feature tonight.
Ash Costello fired up the crowd furiously headbanging from a riser centre stage, whilst introducing their contemporary metal sound to the Glasgow audience. ‘Come For Me’ and ‘Kill or be Killed’ set the tone for their set, but the highlight came by way of their tribute to Dimebag and Vinnie Paul via Pantera’s ‘Fucking Hostile’, to which the band added their unique stamp. New Year’s Day closed out their short but sweet opening set with ‘Defame Me’.
With such a strong line-up on the bill tonight, the crowd in attendance certainly got more than their money’s worth.
WORDS AND PHOTOGRAPHY BY ADAM KENNEDY