Who: Halestorm, In This Moment, New Years Day, Stitched Up Heart
Where: Tsongas Center, Lowell, Massachusetts
When: May 11, 2018
“Female-fronted” has been used too often in the past as a way of putting a band down just because their vocalist happens to be a woman. Halestorm and In This Moment’s co-headlining tour stop at the Tsongas Center proved that the girls in rock and metal have been kicking ass for a long time and continue to do so.
Stitched Up Heart was a new band to me going into the show. The rock band from California opened the show and did a great job. Sound wise, they have two guitars, which I really liked. Vocalist Mixi has a really big voice with great screams. One of the highlights of their set was Arejay Hale of Halestorm and Kent Diimel of In This Moment joining drummer James Decker for one of the best drum solos that I have gotten to see live. Stitched Up Heart did a great job and are definitely a band to watch. At this point in their career, opening the show was the perfect slot for them. They were energetic and vocalist Mixi was very cognizant of not forgetting anyone in the audience; she moved from side to side and made to sure to sing to the fans right at the barricade, as well as the ones who had gotten to their seats further back early. Towards the front, you were hit by all of the band’s energy, but as you started moving a little bit further back the energy receded a little bit; as the band gets more experience, they will not have a problem reaching the back of any size crowd.
New Years Day was the second band on the bill and was the only band on this bill that I have seen live before. A few years ago, New Years Day was on tour with Crown The Empire and I went to see them at the Worcester Palladium. It was my second GA show and my first time on the barricade. New Years Day was one of the most highly anticipated bands that night and I did not understand why until vocalist Ash Costello took the stage; I became a fan that night and remain one to this day, so I was really excited to see how they would do in an arena. Costello looked like she had years of experience under her belt when she took the stage. She did a great job of reaching most of the people in the audience, with it just slightly waning towards the back; in a few years, she will definitely be able to reach everyone in an arena. New Years Day were very energetic, jumping around the stage and giving a great show. Their set included “Kill Or Be Killed,” a cover of Pantera’s “Fucking Hostile,” and “Disgust Me.” The band looked just as energetic on their last note as they did on their first. They gave a great performance and were pros at warming up the audience for the next act.
In This Moment had the early set on the co-headlining tour. The metal band is renowned for their theatricality on stage; there were several audience members who had made themselves up in the style of the band, which was cool to see. The set started with “Blood,” and had a dramatic opening, with vocalist Maria Brink coming out in a black robe and crown. The carefully choreographed moves were performed impeccably. When a song ended in the set, she went back behind the curtain to change into her outfit for the next song; the band also went off stage and came back onstage when she did. “Adrenalize” was a huge hit with the crowd. “Black Wedding,” which originally features Rob Halford of Judas Priest, was performed live with Ash Costello of New Years Day and was a lot of fun. “Big Bad Wolf” was also impressive, but the highlight of the set was the final song “Whore,” which was preceded by a great speech about female empowerment; balloons dropped during the song, which really made the audience feel connected to each other. In This Moment put on a very big show and are pros at what they do. After seeing their set, I fully understand why they have such a great reputation of being a fun band to see live.
Halestorm was the final band to take the stage. I have been a fan of Halestorm for years, but have never gotten to see them live until this show. They performed a lot of fan favorites, like “Mz. Hyde,” “Amen,” “Freak Like Me,” and “Apocalyptic,” which the audience absolutely lapped up. “Dear Daughter” was also performed and was preceded by a great 90-second cover of Adele’s “Someone Like You.” Halestorm has a huge sound and vocalist Lzzy Hale knows how to work an audience; they were laughing at her jokes and soaking in every word. She did not talk too much, but rather let the music do it for her. Drummer Arejay Hale was one of the strongest and most energetic drummers I have ever seen live. Guitarist Joe Hottinger played through every solo like he was not even trying. Bassist Josh Smith was a pro at both vocals and bass. Halestorm is one of the best rock bands around right now and they gave a killer performance.
All four frontwomen, no matter how much experience they have, gave a killer performance and proved that the girls in rock and metal do it even better than the boys.
Post and photos by Karen Shalev
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