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Halestorm - O2 Academy, Birmingham 24.09.2018

It's 'Rews' who are first up, a female Alt-Rock two piece from London, they take to the stage with the O2 Academy, Birmingham already nearly fully rammed, and seem keen on making it count as they get the night underway excellently. Their set mainly consists of songs from their debut album 'Pyro', but it's latest single 'Can You Feel It' that is the stand out for me. Both guitarist/vocalist Shauna Tohill and drummer Collette Williams are on top form and don't stop smiling throughout. Their very fun and bouncy set gets the crowd warmed up nicely for the night ahead.

Next up and taking it up a gear or two is Avatar. Fans who are unfamiliar with Avatar probably don't know what they're about to be in for, as they go so much further than just the music, they literally put on a whole spectacle, further proven by their circus like uniforms, theatrical make up and Johannes Eckerstrom's wide eyed pantomime like stare. Even their crew are kitted out in uniform - they really go all out. They kick off their set with 'Hail The Apocalypse' and we are instantly greeted with the Kings 'Jonas Kungen Jarslby's mammoth windmill headbanging. Johannes takes the time to talk in between songs (as chaotically as you'd expect) and he does a great job of causing a stir - some of the crowd are absolutely loving it, some look scared and others are just trying to figure out what's going on.

They play well know favourites such as 'The Eagle Has Landed' before moving on to singles from their latest release 'Avatar Country' with songs 'A Statue Of The King' and 'The King Welcomes You To Avatar Country' and appropriately bring the set to a close with 'Smells Like A Freakshow'. I can't help but think to myself - how on earth do you follow a band like Avatar? I have to admire Halestorm for bringing them out as support as they definitely have to be on their A game to top that performance!

With the crowd well and truly warmed up Halestorm finally take to the stage, opening with 'Do Not Disturb' before moving onto old favourite 'Love Bites (So Do I) much to the crowds approval it has to be said! Lzzy Hale is known for having one hell of a voice and certainly puts it to good use throughout the 90 minute performance. Lzzy tells the crowd on a number of occasions how grateful they are to be in the position that they are, and at one point reminisces of when they were kids just starting out - "Will we ever take Halestorm abroad? Will we ever be able to play in the UK?" With the tour being a sell out, there's no denying Halestorm have well and truly answered those questions!

About half of the songs in the set are off of new album 'Vicious' and they seem to go down a treat with fans. The whole setlist is like a perfect blend of their old and new material with highlights being 'Mz. Hyde' and the closer to the normal set 'Freak Like Me'. They end the night with mammoth jams 'I Miss The Misery' and round off with 'Here's To Us'. Fans leave with beaming smiles after soaking in one hell of a Rock show - no doubt already looking forward to the next time Halestorm are back in town.

It's safe to say it was a great night of live music, Halestorm seem to only be getting bigger and better and their massive following is exactly what they deserve - it has to be said though that Avatar take home the prize for band of the night - although I'm sure the hundreds of fans in Halestorm t-shirts would probably disagree with me on that one!

Photos & Review - Sam Robinson Photography

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