The Revolution Concert House and Events Center proved the place to be Wednesday night as hard rockers Halestorm rolled into town with their guests Rival Sons and Royal Thunder. The Pennsylvania-based quarter of frontwoman Lzzy Hale, brother and drummer Arejay Hale, guitarist Joe Hottinger, and bassist Josh Smith, have been Treasure Valley favorites for over half a decade. The crowd for a mid-week concert, while not a sell-out, was still impressive. The mood of the room hummed with expectation.
Georgia’s Royal Thunder opened the show. Most in the crowd were unfamiliar with the band and its bluesy hard rockthat resonates with a moody heaviness. Guitarist Josh Weaver moved about the stage like a human metronome while bassist and vocalist Mlny Parsons soulful vocals were plaintive yet powerful. The band is touring in support of its stunning sophomore album, Crooked Doors. Parsons’ thick bass lines and drummer Evan Deprima’s rhythmic machinations laid down a dynamic foundation for Weaver and fellow guitarist Will Fiore to fill the space with their own emotive atmospherics.
The buzz about SoCal rockers, Rival Sons has gotten so big they can no longer be contained to the underground scene. Wednesday night’s performance celebrated the one-year anniversary of the release of the band’s fourth studio album, Great Western Valkyrie. From the moment Rival Sons hit the stage they exuded cool. From guitarist Scott Holiday’s opening riffs of “Electric Man”, the crowd went wild. From there it was 30 minutes of ballsy, bluesy, badassery wrapped up in a whole lot of fantastic rock and roll. Singer Jay Buchanan commanded the stage with his darkly pensive presence, while the animated stick-work of drummer Michael Miley propelled the songs forward. Bassist Dave Beste rumbled right in the pocket, and touring keyboardist Todd Ögren-Brooks added depth to the sound. Among the night’s sonic treats were the tracks “Secret”, “Pressure and Time”, “Torture” and “Keep on Swinging”. The band next heads to Europe for a series of dates with Deep Purple.
It has been a while since the Treasure Valley got the full headline treatment from Halestorm. Their last appearance in Boise back in January found the band setting the table for country superstar Eric Church. As Halestorm winds down the current leg of its North American tour in support of the new album, Into the Wild Life, the quartet picked Wednesday night’s performance to switch up the set a bit, moving songs around and adding in a track from their second covers EP. They made fantastic use of their light show to add a nice cinematic effect to their performance.
Lzzy and company have been giving fans a healthy dose of Into the Wild Life this tour and the show at the Revolution was no different in that sense; opening the set with “Mayhem”, “Apocalyptic”, and “Scream”, which gave fans a nice cross-mix of the new record’s sonic diversity.
The band teased fans with “Rock Show” from 2012’s breakout album, The Strange Case Of…, but immediately returned to new music, kicking off “Bad Girls World” with a bluesy interlude. Arejay snuck in a little drum solo action as part of “Gonna Get Mine”, and Lzzy twisted the crowd up with the vampy, “Sick Individual”.
Lzzy thanked the crowd for indulging the band’s desire to play so much of the new record, and as a reward they cranked up fan favorite “Mz. Hyde” next. This was followed by Halestorm’s most recent hit single, “Amen”. The band has been playing another new track, “The Reckoning” much of the tour, but switched it out for their cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Gold Dust Woman”.
Arejay, Josh and Joe cleared the stage leaving Lzzy alone with her keyboard and the crowd. She shared her love of “Cheeseball” rock ballads, ala Journey and Whitesnake, and proceeded to perform her own ballad, “Dear Daughter”. Smith returned in the latter half of the song to take over keyboard duties and free Lzzy up to roam the stage.
Halestorm tuned up one more track, “New Modern Love” from Into the Wild Life before digging into its past hits including the Grammy winning track “Love Bites (So Do I)”, which was preceeded by Arejay’s big-stick drum solo. They also performed “It’s Not You” and “I Get Off” from their 2009 eponymous debut album. Halestorm then returned to the stage to close it out with an explosive version of their smash, “I Miss the Misery”.
In all, the band served up 16 tracks in a tight 80-minute set. While Halestorm left fans with nothing to grumble about as they poured out with contented smiles, you could still hear the murmurs of, “I wish they had played” this, or that, amid raves about the night’s lively performance.
All photos © 2015 Katarzyna Cepek Photography.