REVIEW: Halestorm’s electrifying return to London

Halestorm is regarded as one of the greatest modern hard rock bands working today, with an incredibly devoted fan-base that were ecstatic to see them finally return to London to a packed Shepherds Bush Theatre.

The charisma of lead singer and guitarist Lzzy Hale, bluesy swagger of lead guitarist Joe Hottinger and pounding drive of rhythm section Arejay Hale (drums) and Josh Smith (bass), have made Halestorm one of the most beloved and highest rated hard rock bands of the century. 

Halestorm made their return to London on March 13, their first performance since 2019 at Alexandra Palace. The tour, An Evening With Halestorm, took a relatively small-scale approach in comparison to previous tours, opting for intimate theatres over arenas.  

Stripped back

There was genuine shock, surprise and delight from the crowd when they discovered there was no opening act, instead Halestorm used the time to perform an eight song acoustic set. The first three songs, Break In, Dear Daughter and Raise Your Horns featured Lzzy performing alone on the piano. It was one of the most touching and memorable moments of the evening, hearing her powerful vocals soar above the crowd and reverberate through the hall. 

Soon Lzzy was joined by her fellow bandmates for a relaxed acoustic set, filled with entertainment and banter between themselves and the audience. Aside from the performances, this set felt incredibly personal. It created a casual atmosphere which lent itself perfectly alongside the acoustic music.

It was both interesting and bizarre to hear some of their more electric and nastier rock songs such as Mz Hyde and Apocalyptic re-imagined for an acoustic arrangement, but it allowed the audience to flex their own vocal abilities.

One enjoyable surprise was their cover of The Clash’s Should I Stay or Should I Go as a tribute to the London locals. Where the music itself had a fairly simple arrangement, it was the vocal performance of Lzzy that made this track a show highlight. The same could arguably be said of the entire first set, with Lzzy’s vocal range standing as the true star of the show. Although the set was slightly odd to hear from the loud rockers, it served as a surprisingly touching and suitable introduction to the evening.

Electric set 

After a twenty minute interval, the electric set was when the concert truly came to life. This was hard rock at its finest and Halestorm at their loudest. The opening riff to the new track Back From The Dead deafened the hall as Lzzy let out the first of many of her chilling screams. Everything from the performances to the stage production and even the outfits completely shifted gears, it was as if the crowd was watching an entirely different band, and the performance was all the better for it.

Back From The Dead served as a perfect opener for the hard rockers. Not only was it a song celebrating the return of live music, it burst through the speakers like an explosion. The atmosphere completely changed, and the crowd had been jump-started with new energy. It hit the audience with a hard and piercing sonic blast which more than got the ball rolling.

After Back from the Dead the band jumped straight into their discography of classics including Rock Show, I Get Off, I Am The Fire, Freak Like Me and Uncomfortable. Where Lzzy’s vocals overshadowed the entire first set performance, it was the electric set where the band truly felt like an ensemble. As enjoyable as the first set was, it felt as if Lzzy was the focus point and the rest were merely her backing band. It was the second set where it felt like a real band, one that gave room for everyone to breath and express themselves.

Many of the electric tracks were extended, giving Lzzy and fellow guitarist Hottinger extra space for solos and extended jams, particularly on track Amen. Hottinger in particular stood out for some of his groovy licks and dirty riffs. His performance instrumentally was possibly the strongest of the entire group.

The electric set was filled with brutal riffs and chilling solos. Softer and more melodic ballads were thrown aside making room for hard rock only. The only track that slowed things down was Do Not Disturb. But that was a track that featured some of Hottinger’s grittiest and sleaziest guitar playing, while Lzzy delivered some beautifully dirty and seductive vocal melodies. Despite its slow pace, it was one of the strongest performances of the night.

The electric set came to a close with The Steeple, an appropriate thrasher celebrating the genre. This song was pumped full of energy and it got the crowd moving like no other in the set. Some of Lzzy’s vocal notes were breathtaking, and Arejay Hales’ drumming left everyone thirsting for more. It was a perfect track to end the set.


Where many bands use encores to quickly perform one last song and wrap things up, Halestorm took the opposite approach, opting for a twenty five minute final act. Kicking things off with the catchy sing along track Here’s To Us, Halestorm once again took time to really express their musical abilities. 

Following Here’s To Us they performed some of their heaviest and most popular tracks Love Bites and Black Vultures, before erupting into final song I Miss The Misery, with an extended outro nearly doubling the length of the track. This was definitely one of the most grandiose pieces they delivered. Where the track itself was originally around four minutes, Halestorm provided a long, loud and genuinely epic conclusion to the evening. This was by far the most adrenaline fuelled song the band had played, and it served as a fantastic finale.

The performance lived up to the name, it really was an evening with Halestorm. From the touching piano ballad of Break In to the brutal riffage of I Miss The Misery, it was a three act production. Halestorm’s volume, attitude and energy were matched only by their audience. Their performance reaffirmed why they are so highly regarded as one of modern rock’s must see live bands. 

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