Review by Mickey ONeill for MPM
Halestorm return to Belfast to what can only be described as an eager audience. Judging by the crowds that are queued around the iconic Ulster Hall.
The American quartet have not been to Belfast since 2018. Of course the world is a different place in the four years since they were last here. Post lockdown touring can be difficult for international acts such as Halestorm.
On their current 2022 tour due to the different restrictions in countries they were planning on travelling to, it was logistically impossible to bring their show to mainland Europe. The band have been forced to cancel their European leg of the tour for now. Making the UK and Ireland shows that little bit extra special.
Special being the appropriate word for this show. It’s a slightly different performance to your normal rock show consisting of an acoustic set and then an electric set.
With house filled to capacity and the lights dim, the band casually stroll onto the low lit stage. It is evident from the first track of the evening Familiar Taste of Poison that Lzzy Hale is the real deal. The passion and power of her voice in an acoustic setting is jaw dropping and compliments her talent in a different light.
She has the command of every single person in the audience. Addressing the crowd in great form singer Lzzy tells us a little of what tonight’s show is all about ”an evening with Halestorm with some deep cuts and play whatever the bleep we want”.
After an anthemic version of I Am The Fire which has the crowd singing almost louder than the band. Lzzy, obviously delighted to be here, tells the crowd ” it’s been a long bumpy ride to get back here so glad you could join us” she then explains that in every city they play in they learn a song from as she put it ”a local”.
This being Belfast the ”local” they chose to cover is Van Morrison and Into the Mystic from his 11th studio album of the same name.
After rounding off an emotional and powerful acoustic set the mood is lighter with a thankfully short and slightly baffling stand up comedy set from Lzzy’s brother and drummer Arejay.
I’m sure Arejay is a nice charming young man he comes across that way but the series of dad jokes fall a little short but entertaining nonetheless.
After a brief 20 minute change over to prepare the second portion of the evening the band reappeared battle ready with the stomper Back from the Dead , The Ulster Hall then erupts into cheers and excitement as an explosion of red & Blue light floods the room.
The band continue to play a mix of music from different eras of their career. A something-for-everyone approach that shows their progression as musicians and their ability to maintain quality over the years.
They take us back to 2006, their formation in 1997 all the way up to unreleased tracks from their next album Back From The Dead due to be released May 6th 2022.
In addition, Lizzie displays some serious multi-tasking ability throughout. Playing screaming lead parts and rhythmic chord progressions all whilst singing with power and agility. Each of the members, however, show immense skill and accuracy throughout.
Halestorm hold the Belfast fans in their hand throughout the performance, in a seemingly effortless way.
Arejay takes centre stage again this time to show off not his comedic skills but what is really here to do play the drums. It’s rare to see younger acts opting for the drum solo these days.
There is a big reason why in this case. Arejay is a fantastic drummer and even when showing off his prowess humour isn’t far away. Ending his solo playing with comically oversized drumsticks.
The band close out their set with an encore of their big hitters Here’s to Us/Apocalyptic/The Steeple and I Miss The Misery.
What can you say about tonight’s gig? Halestorm can really put on a show and this was a special one to be attending. Two contrasting moods both executed brilliantly by a well toured outfit.
Photos by MPM