Halestorm brings new set to Fort Wayne

It’s rare for a band to be on a star headlining level on only their sophomore album cycle. It’s one of those rare situations that, when it happens, you sit back, watch and enjoy every minute of it because you may not see it again for a long time. When a female-fronted band does it, it’s even more fun to watch and be a part of. That’s why, when Halestorm comes to town, you go- regardless of how many times they come. Halestorm’s self-titled debut was one of the strongest rock debuts in recent memory and their sophomore record, The Strange Case Of… was an even bigger success and catapulted them to headline status and a spot on numerous tours and festivals. Their latest headline tour, also the last before they take time off to write their third record, recently hit Fort Wayne’s Piere’s and featured support from Redlight King and Stars in Stereo. Stars in Stereo may be one of the most impressive young bands in the game today. Led by frontwoman Bec Hollcraft, Stars in Stereo are your typical rock band- there’s nothing groundbreaking and gamechanging about their music but it’s got that catchiness to it that you can’t help but love. [lg_slideshow folder=\”2013/Halestorm Winter Tour/Stars in Stereo/\”] Hollcraft and company know how to work a crowd, interacting and engaging them in almost every minute of their set and Fort Wayne was no exception. With Hollcraft toying with security and posing for pictures while singing and the rest of the band motioning for more noise throughout, Stars in Stereo have the tenacity and charisma to go far. When Redlight King burst onto the scene with their debut, Something for the Pain, and singles “Old Man” and “Bullet in My Hand,” their popularity began to grow at a rapid pace. Slots on all the major festivals as well as 2012’s Uproar Festival gave them the exposure and attention they needed and deserved and they’ve been on a roll ever since. Their sophomore record, Irons in the Fire, released this year and featured the hit “Born to Rise” and this tour was just the icing on the cake for 2013. They hit the stage with intensity in “Comeback” and rolled through an impressive setlist that showcased frontman Kaz’s impressive rock-infused rap vocals while guitarist Jules and the rest of the band played an adrenaline-pumping set that had the crowd roaring with enthusiasm.[lg_slideshow folder=\”2013/Halestorm Winter Tour/Redlight King/\”] Even though Redlight King are on their second album, Kaz and Jules have been playing together for much longer and it shows in their chemistry and translates to a high-power rock set that you can’t help but love. Following up Redlight King were the headliners of the night, Halestorm. Fresh off the heels of their second covers EP, it was almost like a new show, regardless of how many times you’ve seen them this year. If you want a good old fashioned rock band that has the attitude that once made rock so notorious and set it apart from other genres, Halestorm is your band, led by Lzzy Hale, who is a modern day equivalent to Lita Ford or Joan Jett- she’s got the rock girl badass attitude we all love. Her younger brother, Arejay Hale, leads the percussion section with powerhouse drumming that was worthy of his 2013 Revolver Golden Gods Award for Best Drummer. Joe Hottinger on lead guitar and Josh Smith on bass round out a lineup that will go down in history as one of the all-time best rock bands and there’s no arguing they deserve every bit of support and acclaim they’ve received. They kicked off their set in Fort Wayne with “Love Bites (So Do I)” and went straight into “Mz. Hyde” and “It’s Not You” and it was clear this would be one hell of a night. When listening to a CD, everyone has their favorites that they think would sound great live. Often times, though, those bands don’t do any of those songs and stick to the hits. However, with Halestorm, when you hear a song that you think would translate live, it’s like the band knows- obviously they feel the same way. Each song on The Strange Case Of… that you think would sound good live, Halestorm performs live. Their set was a 19-song avalanche of destructive perfection that included virtually every song new fans and longtime veteran diehard  fans alike wanted- “Freak Like Me,” “You Call Me a Bitch Like it’s a Bad Thing,” “Innocence,” “Break In,” “Familiar Taste of Poison” and numerous other favorites were in the setlist, just to name a few. Lzzy Hale knows exactly how to work a crowd and get them going- probably because she too, like the rest of the band, are still fans themselves- they don’t have the rock star attitude. They know what fans want because they know what they would want from their favorite bands. Hale talked to the crowd in depth about how she was the only girl at the rock shows when she was younger in Pennsylvania. Now it’s the complete opposite and shows are packed with girls- many of which come up to her and tell her they’ve started a band because they see what she’s done and it inspires them. [lg_slideshow folder=\”2013/Halestorm Winter Tour/Halestorm/\”] With their covers EP, Reanimate 2.0, having just been released, they played three tracks from the short EP- Judas Priest’s “Dissident Aggressor,” Fleetwood Mac’s “Gold Dust Woman” and, of course, Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky.” Piere’s Entertainment Center is famous for their insane crowds and party atmosphere and it was definitely there on this night but, on numerous parts of the night it seemed as if the crowd was just standing there watching and not doing much. Though it was still a rock and roll party, it was a bit toned down and it’s hard to tell why- Halestorm did everything to take it to the next level and succeeded numerous times. Halestorm are the real deal when it comes to a rock band. There’s no bullshit and no rock star mentality with them. If you want a show where you’re gonna get the full experience- rocking your brains out and feeling like you’re a part of something bigger than yourself, Halestorm is your band. -Reggie Edwards