@ Koko, London
18th August 2015
Review by Rowena Lamb
Photography by Taya Uddin
The first thing that you couldn’t fail to notice that evening was the sheer size of the bloody queue wrapped several times around Koko and the surrounding pavements. By far the longest queue I’ve seen in a long time; it seems everyone had arrived well before doors opening to try and ensure their view.
The second thing I noticed looking around at those in the queue was the clear differences in ages, backgrounds and musical tastes. If you have never seen Halestorm live, that right there tells you a great deal and what you need to know to induce you to buy a ticket for one of their shows. Their appeal is extremely wide and just from standing in the queue for a short while you can feel an intensity, an anticipation that speaks of more than just a passing fancy; this speaks of a stronger connection, and one after that night I don’t see breaking anytime soon.
Walking into the venue I’m struck again at the sight that Koko presents with it’s old fashioned theatrical glamour. The theatre inside for some reason even more apparent to me than it has ever been, with even the large glitter ball at the ceiling seeming to cast ethereal flickers of light of the gathering crowds.
You could not have chosen a more suitable venue for a live show called ‘An evening with Halestorm’ as the structure of the building lends to it perfectly. Not to mention allowing for a variety of views from it’s many layers. Squished down at the front on the right hand side I couldn’t see the whole stage such as the drum kit, but I had a great view of the rest of the stage, and although we all love watching Arejay show off, I wouldn’t have traded my view for anything.
I’ve seen Halestorm live many times and I have never once been disappointed in their performance; they always throw themselves completely into it providing a polished but still slightly raw show. However, for me the first part of the evening’s events replaced all their previous gigs.
As it was just an evening with Halestorm there were no warm up acts, but two sets from Halestorm with the first performance being an acoustic set of songs from ‘The Strange Case of..’. It was clear from the atmosphere before the show began that this was going to be a great night and this was reinforced almost as soon as the first song (Mz Hyde) began; with the crowd singing along loudly throughout. If Halestorm usually played live shows this way I’ve no doubt they would still have gotten as far as they have. I would have been more than happy if the whole evening had been played in this way as there’s still a lot of energy and it gave the songs a new voice and edgier sound.
- Mz Hyde
- Familiar Taste of Poison
- Rock Show
- I Get Off
- Here’s To Us
Cutting down the gap between the sets to give space for more songs Halestorm are back after very short break to play their latest album ‘Into The Wild’ in full and in order (aside from one switch around later in the set). I hadn’t listened to the album before this evening and this was a great introduction.
As ever it’s played with their usual full throttle performance and the audience clearly knew the songs well as they sang the songs right back at them. Though everyone likes to be able to sing along to songs you know, that evening I preferred not knowing any of these songs as I didn’t know what to expect nor in what direction the next song would take.
What I could expect was a lot of energy and attitude from their songs and ‘I Am The Fire’ is a good example; I could easily see this song being taken up as a female anthem and looking around at the audience I would hazard a guess that it already had by some. ‘Sick Individual’ and ‘Amen’ throw some old school influences in, with each song getting better than the one before. They may only be songs, but they’ve got balls.
There’s a shift in style and mood with ‘Dear Daughter’ telling you to be brave and reach for your dreams. It’s beautiful song, done with emotion and honesty and I can assure you it holds that whether performed live or listen to at home.
Given this is a Halestorm gig the mood doesn’t stay dipped for long as the next songs have the crowd jumping away and it’s great to see. Looking around everyone was enjoying themselves and again I’m struck by the variance in the ages of their fans. Young or older they’re jumping away and throwing their hands in the air alongside each other.
The break for the encore consists of the usual entertaining drum solo much to the audiences delight, and again its clear that for many there this is not their first time seeing Halestorm, as they are visually and audibly anticipating this moment. There’s a lot of banter between the band on stage throughout the night and it seemed clearer than at previous gigs how much they enjoy what they do. It seemed more relaxed and open that evening and makes them even more the likeable for it.
Ending with by far the best rendition of ‘I Miss The Misery’ really rounded off the evening and you were left feeling energised and ready to do the whole night all over again. If I had to pick two words to sum up the night it would be ‘absolutely superb’!
- I Am The Fire
- Sick Individual
- Dear Daughter
- New Modern Love
- Bad Girl’s World
- Gonna Get Mine
- The Reckoning
- What Sober Couldn’t Say
- Jump The Gun
- I Like It Heavy
- Love Bites (So Do I)
- It’s Not You
- Freak Like Me
- I Miss The Misery