The historic Fox Theatre in Pomona was rocked by HARDDRIVE.com’s 5th annual HARDDRIVE LIVE TOUR, featuring the Metalcore icons Bullet for My Valentine and Hard Rock trailblazers Halestorm. Playing to an all ages crowd, both bands were winners on stage, playing to a packed house, teaming with energy and ready to explode at either band’s command.
Promoting their current album, The Strange Case of…, Grammy award-winning Halestorm didn’t miss a beat when they hit the stage. Lit solely by a single spotlight, AreJay (the drummer and frontwoman, Lzzy Hale’s brother) sprung into action, disguised as a vibrant caricature of a marching band Drum Major that could only
otherwise be imagined by Tim Burton. His outfit was royal blue and canary yellow, emblazoned with flair buttons and the appropriate Drum Major hat to match. AreJay’s face was obscured by a black bandana featuring an eerie white skull. Taking center stage, he stood on a speaker, banging a single snare drum (sans snares), as to rile up the fans like a one man parade. The audience was hooked from this point on. Though they had a great grasp on show aesthetics, that wasn’t all their show was about. They proved that pure talent was definitely in the mix, as well.
In a world with so few women rockers, Lzzy Hale single-handedly proved with grace, style and balls to the wall badassery that women can and WILL hold their own in the male-dominated genres of Hard Rock and Metal. Sounding every bit like her recordings, Lzzy hit the high notes in “Rock Show” perfectly, wooed the crowd with
her piano prowess during a haunting performance of “Break In”, featuring just her beautiful voice and the ivories. She effortlessly switched vocal intensities between her sweet and soulful voice to the angry growl of a lioness in “Mz. Hyde”, all this while switching to a different guitar for almost every song. Stepping out from the shadow of
the guitar, she dominated the stage during “The Familiar Taste of Poison”, bearing her killer physique and memorizing stage presence. Her leather vest, baring her midriff and painted-on leather pants were indeed an audience favorite, as well.
Lzzy wasn’t the only gem in the band, AreJay, her younger brother held his own during an inspired drum solo. With an infectious, clown-like energy, he’d alternate from sitting on his thrown to hopping atop of said throne, twirling sticks in the air, never missing a beat. At one point, he threw his drumsticks into the audience, played the full drum set with his bare hands, then pulled out two humongous sticks that he twirled and played to
finish his solo.
Every member of the band sang, creating luscious harmonies to rival their recordings, all without track. Josh and Joe, bassist and guitar respectively, were fantastic at maintaining the crowd’s energy with their un-ending energy. Joe even had a few guitar solos of his own.
This young band is a sign of great things to come in rock. Long live Halestorm!
BULLET FOR MY VALENTINE
With the crowd all buttered up by the previous act, the headliners Bullet For My Valentine made no hesitation in opening their own show with a bang. Queen’s “We Are The Champions” emanated from the speakers as a massive cover of their new album, Temper Temper was a backdrop for their high adrenaline set. Though not as many bells and whistles, B4MV put on a sonically beautiful show that whipped their loyal fans into a moshing frenzy.
Performing hits like “Waking The Demon”, “Your Betrayal” and their title track, “Temper Temper”, lead vocalist Matthew Tuck’s vocals were on point, his Welsh accent sneaking out once and again, adding a quirky charm amongst his Metalcore growls. Early in the show, Matt ordered the crowd to form a mosh pit in the center of the main floor and they all happily followed suit, singing along to every growl scream and catchy melody. Rich with angst and the desire to break things, the mosh pit was really respectful, as they even stopped mid-mosh to watch Lzzy Hale’s stellar guest duet on “Dirty Little Secret”.
Lending richness, Padge and Jason would harmonize and growl, respectively, while Moose played the drums with machine gun syncopation . Padge’s guitar solos were awe inspiring, while Matt defied all laws of nature, playing so fast while singing that his fingers were sure to catch on fire.
Just before they returned for an encore, the audience in the balcony began stomping with the rest of the house following suit, chanting “Bullet, Bullet, Bullet…” Upon their return to the stage, they had the whole house literally jumping up and down to “Pleasure and Pain” and their monster single, “Tears Don’t Fall”, satiating everyone’s appetite for great metal!
Bullet for my Valentine’s Temper Temper and Halestorm’s The Strange Case of… are in stores and on iTunes now. Catch the both of them on their HARDDRIVE LIVE 5 Tour through May.
Freak Like Me
Love Bites (So Do I)
It’s Not You
AreJay Drum Solo
Familiar Taste of Poison
Here’s To Us
I Miss The Misery
Waking The Demon
4 Words (To Choke Upon)
Take It Out On Me
The Last Fight
Padge’s Guitar Solo
Her Voice Resides
Dirty Little Secrets (ft. Lzzy Hale of Halestorm)
Scream Aim Fire
Pleasure And Pain
Tears Don’t Fall