Halestorm, Dayshell, The Smoking Hearts @ The Forum, London 9 April 2014

Another night at The Forum in Kentish Town and another sold out show.  Given that this was the last night of the UK section of their touring schedule this was one hell of a way for Halestorm to say goodbye to their UK fans. 

the smoking heartsThe Smoking Hearts were up first and it was great to see a local band on the line up and this rock and roll outfit proved their popularity even before they started their set.  Waiting to get in there were fans in band t-shirts who were very anxious that (due to queue issues) they were going to miss the band they’d paid to see.  Luckily I think they only missed a short part of their set, but still that was a shame for them.

Overall I didn’t mind them, and I liked the interesting mixes they used throughout their set.  ‘The Natural Disasters’ gave you guttural vocals and lyrically began with ‘what the fuck is going on’ which contended with a short, hard rock beat and a cheeky guitar rhythm.  Judging from the crowd’s reaction this is a popular one.

‘Seatbelts’ reminded me of ‘Breaking The Law’ by Judas Priest with the bass rhythm at the beginning, though it altered to a more even tone later on,making it in my opinion more commercial.  I didn’t manage to catch the names of all the songs, but another later song clashed those shouty, guttural vocals with a slightly dirty rock sound and as I said before I liked the combinations in their songs.

They weren’t the strongest band I’ve seen and the crowd’s reaction was mixed, however they did have their own fans there and they loved it, especially when Ben (vocals) began climbing the balcony at the right hand side of the stage.




dayshellNow to be honest I’d not heard great reviews of the next band; ‘Dayshell’ and I was a bit apprehensive about what I was about to witness.  But though I had listened to the comments of crowd members who had been to some of the other shows on the UK tour, I was fully open-minded and ready to enjoy it.  I love discovering new bands I’ve not see before, I wouldn’t do this job if I didn’t.

One thing I did enjoy were the melodies and rhythms used.  The first song (again apologies but I never caught the names of the songs and can’t find them) started with a good chugging rhythm between the drums and bass and it mixed well with the backing melody.  The second continues this rhythm and the rapid gunfire style drums are really good, especially how loud they are for those in front of the wall of speakers as it really goes through you.  The only problem with this venue is that you have to stand in between both sets of hanging speakers to be able to hear everything.  On either side and you miss the intricacies and nuances of the melodies and guitar work which is a real shame not just for this band but every band I’ve head at this venue.

It also effects vocals as the bass beat is so loud that it really does dominate everything.  However, having said that (and I do really hate to say it) it doesn’t explain the vocals we heard that night.  I am all up for clashing rhythms and tones, but there were just times when it sounded like Shayley (vocals) was singing a completely different song to what the band were playing.  It all just didn’t sound right at all, and that for me continued throughout the set.

Vocally it changes throughout the set and also during individual songs (from screaming and singing) and at times it just sounded totally off key. Later in the set the two rhythms because closer together and their last song was much better; hinting at the alterations in vocal style and the challenging rhythms, but it was more streamlined and easier to handle.  It also had that lovely chugging rhythm and a good overarching melody behind it.

Looking about I could see some people really enjoying this set and the cheers sounded quite a bit louder for Dayshell than The Smoking Hearts.  However, this was the first and the last time I will ever watch them live, it was just unpleasant, I just did not get what was being done with the songs and vocals.  It was about a 25 minute set but it felt so much longer than that.




halestormThere may only have been about a thirty minute wait until the headliners took to the stage, but if felt a lot longer.  There was a real tension of expectation in the air from the crowd with shuffling going on to try and get a good a view as possible.

I’ve seen this band a few times before and I’ve never really seen anything about their live show that I didn’t like.  It’s high energy, very engaging and really well executed and obviously well practised, but still maintaining a raw edge.  It’s their ability to put on one hell of a rock show that had many members of the crowd (including myself) coming back to see them play again and again.

But it’s not just their live show that had the crowd gripped it is also their ability to write absolutely cracking songs, and there was a great combination of songs on the set list and a good order.  The first few are energy packed and just beg for the audience to sing and shout along.  Just take the first few as an example, they’re made for reaching out and getting right into the audiences’ faces and pulling them straight to the very heart of the show within seconds.  They’re also perfect for reminding you just how strong and versatile Lzzy Hale’s vocals are – I’ve come across few other female singers that can match her vocally.

This is continued before the encore with a line of songs aimed directly at the female contingent of the audience and they responded at  serious volume.  That’s another great thing about these songs and others is the positivity that flows from them, and how easily you can connect to them.

Then was also the requisite drum solo from Arejay and he was off to a jumping start, showing the crowd once again that he is one damn fine drummer.  After testing our music knowledge by getting the crowd to sing back the next lines of songs such as The Clash’s  ‘London Calling’, he starts up another drum solo, but this time with those giant drumsticks (no that’s not a euphemism).  Afterwards they kind of make it look a bit wired when he returns to the normal sized ones – for a second you think ‘how the hell can you play them drums with those’.

You also got to hear some of the cover songs off their ReAniMate 2.0: The CoVeRs eP (available now to buy) with Daft Punk’s ‘Get Lucky’ being a definite hit with the crowd, though Dio’s ’Straight Through The Heart’ was my favourite.

As ever, they ended with ‘’Here’s To Us’ and I’m not sure what the crowd would do if they didn’t end it with.  It feels like an anthem and there was a shift in the crowd’s atmosphere as soon as they started, with friends singing at each other and more togetherness overall.  It really is no surprise at all that they got a roaring cheer at the end as well as a standing ovation from the audience in the balcony.

Undeniably a great rock show and another example why Halestorm are one of the best bands to see live.




Set List

  1. I Miss the Misery
  2. Love Bites (So Do I)
  3. It’s Not You
  4. Freak Like Me
  5. Straight Through the Heart (Dio cover)
  6. You Call Me a Bitch Like It’s a Bad Thing
  7. Innocence
  8. Don’t Know How to Stop
  9. Rock Show
  10. Gold Dust Woman (Fleetwood Mac cover)
  11. Break In
  12. Familiar Taste of Poison
  13. Dissident Aggressor (Judas Priest cover)
  14. Mz. Hyde
  15. Daughters of Darkness
  16. I Get Off


  1. Mayhem
  2. Get Lucky (Daft Punk cover)
  3. Here’s to Us
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About Rowena

Interviewer, Reviewer, Radio DJ (Metal Nymph Presents) and Digital Media Wizard at Planetmosh.