Halestorm have returned to the road for another run of US tour dates on the back of their 2015 release Into the Wild Life. For this batch of dates, the Pennsylvanian rockers are joined by the legendary Lita Ford and Los Angeles-based newcomers, Dorothy. Halestorm frontwoman Lzzy Hale has expressed her excitement with the lineup by pointing out that each of the bands showcases a powerful frontwoman who has each seen her share of hard times and come out on top. With the tour just starting to hit its stride, the bands stopped at the Ritz in Raleigh, NC and Concert Addicts was there.
Kicking off the evening was the up and coming sensation, Dorothy. Fronted by vocalist Dorothy Martin, the band which also features guitarist Mark Jackson, bassist Eliot Lorango, and drummer Zac Morris played with a refreshing energy and sound that combined hook-laden guitar riffs and a driving rhythm section with powerful attention grabbing vocals that oozed emotion. The band has produced a well-received EP and was tapped by Rolling Stone as one of the 50 Best New Artists of 2014. Based on the crowd reception to their short but engaging set, the band’s forthcoming debut album will definitely be worth checking out.
Next up was the iconic Lita Ford. 2016 is proving to be a big year for Lita, she has released her memoir Living Like A Runway, and is preparing to release her latest album Time Capsule. Lita took to the stage with an energy and enthusiasm that defied her age. She began as a 16 year old lead guitar player in the 70s with the all-female rock band The Runaways. She had a successful solo career that saw her release eight studio albums, and now at 57 Lita Ford is still kicking ass. She is currently backed by Patrick Kennison on guitar, Marty O’Brien on bass, and Bobby Rock on Drums. The group was sharp as they effortlessly churned through a tight set of songs from the span of Lita’s career. Virtually every song was a “greatest hit” with highlights including, “Can’t Catch Me,” “Relentless,” a great take on the Runaways classic “Cherry Bomb,” and a cover of Elton John’s “the Bitch Is Back.” She closed out her entirely too short set with her two biggest hits, “Close My Eyes Forever” (featuring Patrick Kennison filling in for Ozzy‘s vocals) and “Kiss Me Deadly.”
Finally the restless crowd got what they came for. The lights went down and Halestorm hit the stage, immediately launching into “Mayhem” from Into the Wild Life. The band, which features siblings Lzzy Hale on vocals and guitar, brother Arejay Hale on drums, as well as Joe Hottinger and Josh Smith, has been touring relentlessly over the years and steadily building a large and dedicated fanbase. With each song, the crowd at the Ritz responded with louder and louder roars of approval. The band were feeding off the energy from the crowd, and the charismatic Lzzy and her bandmates could barely contain smiles as they worked through a lengthy set of songs that included “Mz. Hyde,” “Scream,” and “I Am The Fire.”
On Halestorm’s studio albums, Lzzy has always delivered strong vocals, but on the stage, in front of a crowd is where she is really able to cut loose and showcase her powerful singing. Her take on Janis Joplin’s “Mercedes Benz” was inspiring and did justice to the original. The band were well rehearsed and kept the crowd engaged, often chatting and telling stories between songs. After explaining that she had been in the band since the age of 13, Lzzy provided a bit of Dave Grohl inspired advice suggesting that kids should take the time to learn and play an instrument. Just past the midpoint of the set, Arejay was left alone on stage to pound his way through a lengthy drum solo that featured a guest appearance by Bobby Rock, and ended with him using over-sized novelty drum sticks. The set wound down with the Grammy-winning song “Love Bites (So Do I)”, before closing out with “Here’s to Us,” and “I Miss the Misery.” Halestorm were a force to be reckoned with. Their energy and enthusiasm never wavered as they delivered a thunderous performance.