Halestorm, In This Moment and New Years Day. One Center Syracuse, NY 11/23/2018
Halestorm, In This Moment and New Years Day made their way back around to upstate New York, shredding The One Center in Syracuse on November 23, 2018. Halestorm is out supporting their new release “Vicious” that dropped on July 27. In This Moment is out supporting their release “Ritual”; they are currently writing for a new album between legs of this tour. New Years Day is out supporting their 2018 EP “Diary of a Creep”, and recently dropped a new single “Skeletons”, which, in my opinion, is their strongest track to date. This tour has been so successful that they are on their third leg in the U.S. this year, and promoters across the ocean booked an arena tour for the U.K. in November of 2019.
New Years Day consists of Ash Costello (vocals), Nikki Misery (guitar), Frankie Sil (bass), Austin Ingerman (guitar) and James Renshaw (drums). They have kept their set list pretty consistent over this tour playing a 6-song set switching out “Disgust Me” for their new single “Skeletons”; this track is their strongest to date. “Skeletons”, has been on heavy rotation on Sirius XM’s Octane channel boosting the recognizability to even audience members that may not be familiar with New Years Day. This song is well written, catchy, radio friendly and worthy of all the horns being thrown their way. I’m hoping that all their new material is written with this kind of flair. They also performed their cover of Pantera’s,“F**king Hostile” and their tracks “Epidemic”, “Kill of Be Killed”, “Scream”, and closed out their set with “Defame Me”.
In This Moment consists of Maria Brink (vocals), Chris Howorth (guitar), Travis Johnson (bass), Randy Weitzel (guitar) and Kent Diimmel (drums). Their stage setup has been a little bit different for each leg of the tour with this one being pretty close to the summer leg. The visuals and performances have gotten tighter over the months and Maria seems to have found her comfort zone on stage.
In This Moment played an 11-song set including a very cool instrument jam midway through. I really enjoy this part of the show, as band members get to shine and showcase their musicianship. They performed many favorites including “Blood”, “Adrenalize Me” and “Sick Like Me”. One surprise of the night was Maria performing her usual duet with Ash Costello of “Black Wedding” by herself. This song hadn’t been in the set for the previous shows on this tour so it was nice for it to be included. Maria did a fine job performing this song solo. When a song is well written, it can be performed in many ways without losing the effectiveness of the lyrics.
In This Moment, while using lots of visuals and theatrical performances, has some of the best musicians in the business. Chris, Randy, Travis and Kent do an incredible job every night; it would be a shame for me not to mention their incredible talents. They are a pleasure to watch and their interaction with the crowd is always a treat. Any other band currently touring cannot match the balance between theater and rock and roll.
Halestorm consists of Lzzy Hale (vocals, guitar), Joe Hottinger (guitar, vocals), Josh Smith (bass, vocals) and Arejay Hale (drums, vocals). Their new album “Vicious” hit #1 on Billboard’s Hard Rock Chart and yielded a #1 hit single with “Uncomfortable”. This album has solidified Halestorm as one of the best rock bands of our time.
Lzzy Hale has been blazing her own trail and playing by her own book of rules since she was 13 years old. She and her band mates wrote a whole album and threw it out because they didn’t feel like it what was what they wanted. They didn’t want to repeat themselves or write an album to appease the label or their fans. They walked in the studio with producer Nick Raskulinecz, he listened to what they had and agreed that they should start at ground zero. While this seemed insane, it gave Halestorm a renewed sense of self, and yielded their best work to date. Lzzy Hale has really come into her own with this album and tour. Her unapologetic attitude, confidence and top-notch performance level has shot her to rock and roll icon status.
Halestorm has been mixing up their set each night of this tour, playing at least half of the new album each night. Normally bands would not incorporate so many new songs, but for them it works. On this cold night in Syracuse, NY they started in way that is not common to a rock show. The lights went down and Lzzy’s white, grand style piano was rolled out onto the center of the stage. Lzzy walked out and started to quietly play as smoky lights filled the stage. For someone with a larger than life on stage presence, she chose to start off in the most vulnerable way. When her mouth opened I nearly dropped my camera, she was singing “Familiar Taste of Poison”. This is a very dramatic song from their debut album, which is normally performed with Lzzy and Joe on his guitar through the first parts of the song and Josh and Arejay usually chime in about half way through. Every time that I think she can’t get any better, boom, she pulls out something extraordinary. I believe half of the front row was in tears, and she belted out this beautiful song. The rest of the band joined Lzzy as she walked away from the piano as they performed the latter half of the song together.
As everyone picked their jaws off the floor, Lzzy traded her piano for her Signature Gibson Explorer, talk about Mz. Hyde. Halestorm went full force rock and roll with new tracks, “Black Vultures” and “Uncomfortable”. Both are killer tracks and showcase different vocal styles. The next new track played was the title track “Vicious”. I heard this the first time it was ever performed live last spring at an interview and acoustic session in New York City. The band has spoken about how heavy this album is, and while yes, its heavy, it’s not Slipknot heavy. Even though this album is recorded masterfully and is probably the closest they will ever get a recording to sound like their live show, there will always be something missing. “Vicious” is probably their heaviest song live. While recorded its not really heavy, it has Lzzy’s signature smoky vocals, Joe’s buzzy riffs from his Manson guitar, Josh’s smooth grooves and Arejay’s unmatched rhythms. When this song is plugged into a live set the band channels some sort of otherworldly dimension.
Something Halestorm has incorporated into their sets is taking a song and extending into a jam session. They had in the past done it with “I Miss the Misery” to close out the show. On this night, they chose to do it with their song “Amen” off their “Into the Wild Life” album. There is something cool about this; they perform the song as usual and then go into a jam, its unrehearsed and different every time. Not every band can pull this off; it’s nice to watch a band actually be live musicians. In this day and age, with the common over use of vocal and instrument tracks, watching a band just jam out with each other is refreshing.
Halestorm played several other older fan favorites including “Freak Like Me”, “Love Bites”, “Mz. Hyde”, and “I Miss the Misery”. They closed out the show with a new track, “Killing Ourselves To Live”. When I reviewed “Vicious” over the summer I said that this was my favorite track and this still stands about 1,000 spins of the album later. I had remarked that this song would be a great set ender so I was ecstatic to see it this position. This song is a rock and roll anthem and showcases Lzzy’s best rock vocals. I hope that song will be released as a single; I think it would do incredibly well on the charts.
What a great night of rock and roll. All three bands did an incredible job of entertaining their audience, each leaving the stage with new fans. This tour runs through mid December and will hit the U.K. in November of 2019. Catch it before its all a distant memory in rock and roll history.