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Halestorm, In This Moment, New Years Day; August 10th, 2018

Halestorm, In This Moment, New Years Day
August 10th, 2018
Stir Concert Cove
Council Bluffs, Iowa

It had been almost a year and a half since New Years Day had played the Omaha Metro Area, and even longer since I’d last seen the band live. April of 2014 was the last time I had seen them live, while touring with Combichrist and William Control, and a lot had changed. Ash Costello, founder and vocalist of the band, seemed more comfortable while on stage. Costello even made it a point during their set to dedicate their music “to the freaks and weirdos. Everyone who’s ever felt out of place.” Their unique style of industrial laced metal was the perfect sound to get several thousand fans pumped for a high energy evening.
The band’s all too short set was highlighted with their cover of Pantera’s “Fucking Hostile”. Paying homage to the late Vinnie Paul, and Dimebag Darrell, the crowd’s response was more than enough to please the Metal Gods.
While I have a deep respect for each of the bands who would play tonight, it was In This Moment’s performance that I was looking forward to the most. Tonight’s show would be my 19th time seeing the band live. You’d think that their stage show would become repetitive, but with each tour the band has evolved to a level of professionalism that has created a brilliant amalgam between their music and the visuals of the live show.
For the entirety of their set, from the curtain drop to the final bow, the cove shook with anticipation and excitement. As these Lords and Lady of Metal thrashed on stage, a cacophony of voices carried throughout the cove. The band’s visuals and theatrics have shifted greatly over the course of their career. Brink’s costume changes reflect the atmosphere associated with each song and have been streamlined and perfected. There was very little downtime between songs.
On stage, as in person, Brink’s presence shines as brightly as the sun, and love is her color. Even with the repugnant themes of the band’s music, Brink’s voice calms our tumultuously beating hearts. But the set wasn’t entirely focused on the band’s sultry vocalist. Midway through the set, bassist Travis Johnson, guitarist  Randy Weitzel, found and guitarist Chris Howorth, and drummer Kent Diimmel churned out their “Monster Jam”. It’s always amazing to see these 4 men, usually incredibly serious and gruff looking while on stage, smiling and laughing while jamming out.
The band took us to Church during “Roots” and “River of Fire” as Brink worked the crowd like a Southern Baptist Preacher and dared us to fight our inner beasts with Big Bad Wolf.
Adding the Blood Girls back to this leg of the tour, we were again graced with the 6-armed Goddess choreography that originated years ago with “Sick Like Me”. The Blood Girls glided across the stage with Brink, each in flowing black or white robes, and hung next to the SIN podium in SHAME during “Whore”.
Regardless of what our expectations for In This Moment were before today, the band once again raised the bar on what a live concert experience should and could be.
Tonight’s show was also a chance for me to reflect on how far the tour’s headlining act had come. There are only a handful of band’s currently active that I have had the opportunity to follow since their inception. Halestorm are one of those bands. My first time seeing the band, a cold February night in 2006 seems like a lifetime ago, and a lot has changed. While the band’s line-up has remained consistent since their “One and Done” major label EP release, their style continues to grow and evolve. Halestorm have gone from the opening act for Seether, to direct support for Shinedown, to headlining yet another tour that continues to sell out venues across the globe. I have seen Halestorm play in front of 500 people, and 10,000, They give their crowds 100% each and every time.
For over an hour, the band smashed through an incredible 14 song set. Having released their 4th studio album, “Vicious”, last month, this tour’s set focused on the band’s new material. Vocalist and founder Lzzy Hale said that “Vicious” is “gonna be the first record where you can really hear all four corners of Halestorm and what makes us a band.” Most importantly, newer tracks like “Black Vultures” and “Uncomfortable” mixed perfectly in a live setting with the band’s older songs.
It was an unforgettable experience to hear those thousands of voices united and singing along with Lzzy for “Here’s to Us” and “I Miss the Misery”. It was also great to see these adults, most of which were teenagers, continuing to perform on such a grand scale.
I don’t think today’s generation truly appreciates how lucky they are to see not one, but three rock & metal performances from female fronted bands on such a massive scale. The scene is shifting, thankfully, and now we get the chance to see these women for the true Goddesses that they are. Within these genres of music, these powerful women have found the platform to spread their messages; Love. Community. Acceptance. Tolerance.
That is the power of music. Whether blasting from our stereos, or performed on stage, these bands each have the undeniable ability to transport us to memories past and stir emotions that we’ve buried deep. The thunderous beats and churning guitar chords are meant to preoccupy our minds from the daily stress of life. Music has the power to take us on a fascinating journey, and our bags were already packed for the trip.
I leave you with a quote from another inspiration of mine; “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart.” Helen Keller

New Years Day setlist:
Kill Or Be Killed
Fucking Hostile (Pantera cover)
Disgust Me
Scream
Epidemic
Defame Me

In This Moment setlist:
Salvation
Blood
River of Fire
Adrenalize
Roots
Monster Jam
Big Bad Wolf
Serpents
In the Air Tonight
The Infection
Sick Like Me
Oh Lord
Whore (with Natural Born Sinner intro)

Halestorm setlist:
Skulls
Love Bites (So Do I)
Mz. Hyde
I Miss the Misery
Do Not Disturb (with ‘I Get Off’ first verse intro)
The Silence
Amen
Drum Solo
Freak Like Me
I Am the Fire
Black Vultures
Vicious
Uncomfortable
Encore:
Killing Ourselves to Live
Here’s to Us

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