On Saturday November 24th a trio of female fronted bands brought their very own Hard Roll to a Sold Out crowd at New York City’s Hammerstein Ballroom. Already on the third leg of this revolutionary all female fronted hard rock tour, Co-Headliners In This Moment and Halestorm along with direct supporter New Years Day showed the male dominating Hard Rock genre that they have well earned their top spots in the industry.
With a very odd and early show time along with Hammerstein’s typical come one come all line that always causes unnecessary entrance delays by not having any form of separation for general ticket holders, VIP’s or anyone needing to get to will call. The line of the sold out crowd stretching around the barriers and down to the corner of the block was not given much time in-between doors opening and the start of the show would lead to some finding themselves, myself included missing most of, if not all of New Years Day’s tight 6 song set that included front woman Ash Costello dedicating their cover of Pantera’s “Fucking Hostile” to the late drummer Vinnie Paul.
As the stage crew prepped for co-headliners In This Moment the white curtain dropped displaying a large black widow spider, causing the crowd to erupt in a roar as parts of Queen’s “We Will Rock You” and Jouney’s “Don’t Stop Beleivin’ ” played over the house P.A. The lights went dark with strobe lights illuminating the image of the large black widow on the curtain as silhouettes of the band appeared stage on stage to sounds of “Salvation”. As curtain lifted with smoke blasting from the stage the crowd cheered at a deafening tone as the queen herself Maria Brink stood atop of the alter of crosses with the Blood Girls seated in front of her side on the steps emerged in a cloud of fog along with bassist Travis Johnson and lead guitarist Chris Howorth on her left and guitarist Randy Weitzel and drummer Kent Diimmel on her right, the band ripped through the opening track “Blood” under the red lights of the fog filled stage as bright strobes of light illuminated the alter as blast of smoke shot into the air for the chorus wowing the crowd right from the start.
Like any live performance by In This Moment it is a mind blowing visual experience from start to finish along with the musical talent to back it up very bit of the way. With the constant wardrobe changes of the charismatic Maria Brink, the bright and colorful stage lighting, fog machines, and a ton of other visual effects that theatrically set the tone for each song of the set individually is enough for any first timer to immediately fall in love with seeing In This Moment live.
The band continued to power through the set with “River of Fire”, “Adrenalize”, and “Roots” before the notorious monstrous instrumental jam session held by members Johnson, Howorth, Weitzel, and Diimmel that includes covers of Metallica’s “For Whom The Bell Tolls” and “Creeping Death”. The real treat for fans came after the jam session where New Years Day front woman Ash Costello joined Maria Brink for the duet on “Black Wedding” covering the verses from the metal god himself Rob Halford of Judas Priest. The alter brightly lit with bright spot lights pointed down on a podium that read “SIN” in big bold letters completely covering the entire front as the Blood Girls stood in place on either side with signs reading “Shame” hung around their necks with the fog continuing to fill the stage as the intro to “Natural Born Sinner” played or the house P.A. Fans cheered as Maria Brink yelled out to the crowd “I’m home ladies and gentleman”, with Maria Brink letting the fans know that this song goes out to Ash and Lzzy as she thanked everyone for coming out, this In This Moment went onto to end their incredibly live visual set delivering the empowering fan favorite “Whore” as giant overside red and white balloons were dropped into the crowd and bounced around. The band all come together center stage and take their final bows and say goodnight to the tune of the very fitting Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York”.
Halestorm can be arguably known to be one of the biggest names in Hard Rock music today, since the release of their self titled debut LP the band has toured with some of the biggest names in music from Alice In Chains to Rob Zombie as well as just about every major hard rock and metal festival year after year. Lead by the thunderous screams of hard rocking front woman Lzzy Hale, Hale brings empowerment and strength to her lyrics backed by some kick ass hard rocking riffs.
As ACDC’S “Back In Black” plays over the P.A. you can feel the overwhelming energy of the intense crowd of fans for that filled Hammerstein Ballroom as they eagerly wait with anticipation for Halestorm to take the stage. The P.A. cuts and the band of silhouettes begin to walking out onto the dimly blue lit stage, as the crowds roars the light go full blast as Halestorm rips into the set opener “I Am The Fire” with the roars deafening further into the song it was clear this was going to be one hell of hard rocking show. Tearing into what would definitely be the crowds favorite song of bands set “Love Bites”, the energy of the crowd as they sang along to the chorus was so intense you could feel it run right through your body and the band was only into the second song of the set.
Lzzy along with the rest of the band guitarist Joel Hottinger, bassist Josh Smith and drummer Arejay Hale were sounded nothing short of perfect that evening playing like a well oiled veteran group. Halestorm pounded on through their set, with her smile lighting up the stage as bright as the incredible display of stage lighting the filled the backdrop Lzzy continued to belt out her high pitch screams and hammer down the vocals as she wowed the crowd with every note. The moment came that I’m sure had almost everyone in the building wondering as to what the grand piano was for? The stage was dark and spotlight was on the piano as Lzzy would lay down a stellar rendition of the classic Dolly Parton (and later Whitney Houston) “I will Always Love You” that left the entire crowd amazed at Lzzy’s talent and ability to take a song so far from the hard rock path and nail it. Rounding off the rest of their set with a nice mix of tracks covering the bands last three LP’s and a drum solo by Arejay to blend it all together nicely.
Returning to the stage for the start of the encore, Hale would join Hottinger for the acoustic duet “The Silence” further showcasing frontwoman’s vocal ability as she captivated the hearts of the crowd on the ballad. With the band back on stage in full it was full blast with an extended version of the hard hitting “I Miss the Misery”. Inviting the members of New Years Day and In This Moment out onto the stage as the band went into a fitting “Here’s to Us” as Hale would toast to New York and and everyone in and apart of the bands that had help make the tour such a huge success.
With the rains falling heavy as fans poured out of Hammerstein Ballroom and onto the streets of New York City one thing was certain, everyone had just witnessed arguably one of the best tours of 2018.