On March 10th 2013, Halestorm played a gig in one of the smaller rooms at Cardiff Students Union. Two years and three days later, they return in the biggest room the venue has to offer, and they sell it out. This alone is proof of how much the band have grown these past two years since they were here last as an army of the band’s ‘freaks’ fill the venue for a night of hard hitting rock ‘n’ roll.
Wilson (****) kick off proceedings as they storm the stage with their own brand of party rock. Full of energy frontman Chad Nicefield climbs onstage wearing a drummer boy jacket and hat, complete with a extra drum, showing that Wilson aren’t your ordinary rock band. Packing their set with songs such as ‘College Gangbang’ (which they renamed ‘University Gangbang’ due to the venue), a cover of AC/DC classic ‘Back In Black’ prompted the biggest sing-a-long of their set.
Nothing More (***) don’t bring the party as much as Wilson, but they’re technically very impressive. Following in Wilson‘s footsteps, topless frontman Jonny Hawkins comes onstage and starts banging an extra drum, but that’s where the similarities stop. For a start, the topics of the songs couldn’t be more different, as Nothing More tackle issues of politics and the environment with their radio friendly rock. The band perform flawlessly and in unison, at one point three of them play one bass at the same time as it rests on a steam-punk style stand. However, while watching the band live is a remarkable spectacle, they never really get the crowd going.
Halestorm (*****) have no such problem as the crowd is with them from the off set, singing along with every word as the band erupt into an opening trio of ‘Love Bites (So Do I)’, ‘It’s Not You’ and ‘Freak Like Me’. What really stands out is just how good Lzzy Hale‘s voice is as she hits every note. She sounds just as incredible as she does on record, something that a lot of bands can’t do live. Ahead of the release of upcoming album ‘Into The Wild Life’, the band play some new material; ‘Apocalyptic’ and ‘Amen’ are both received well, while heavier ‘Mayhem’ lives up to its name, as everyone goes crazy to a song that has only been out a number of weeks. An encore of new song ‘I Like It Heavy’ and ‘Here’s To Us’ closes the show, and an amazing night that shows Halestorm are only going to get bigger and better.
Written by Rhys Hawke