Halestorm, In this moment & Sacred mother tongue – Rock City, Nottingham – 11th March 2013

CZ2J1101First up tonight are a fairly small British band – Sacred Mother Tongue.  If you’ve never listened to them then you really should – as an indication of what to expect, their guitarist Andy James has been nominated for the Dimebag Darell Shredder award in this year’s Metal Hammer Golden Gods awards.  So heavy metal with seriously impressive guitar work would be an accurate idea of the band.
Tonight’s setlist is pretty much their latest EP (A light shines), with ‘Demons’ added to it.  The songs are great and the band put in a great performance in front of a capacity crowd.  A great start to the night.

Sacred Mother Tongue setlist:
The City Is Crying
Bleeding Out

Next up were In this moment.  Much heavier than Halestorm they seem like a slightly odd choice to support Halestorm, but they’ve had good  receptions on most nights of the tour, so clearly they do share some common fans.  Their stage show is very theatrical with Maria Brinks taking centre stage on a raised platform that allows her to tower over the crowd and be seen by everyone in the venue.  Various minor changes to the costume take place during the set and these are reflected in Maria’s act.  For example, she don’s a very short skirt and a  pointed dunces cap adorned with the word ‘Whore’ and sits on a stool brandishing a long ruler while singing ‘Whore’.  Her use of a hands-free microphone clipped in place near her mouth allows her to use both hands during her performance.
While Maria remains the centre of attention, the rest of the band put in a great performance, headbanging away while playing some really heavy stuff.  The Nottingham crowd clearly enjoy what they’re hearing tonight judging by the huge amounts of applause and cheering.
Maria is a superb frontwoman and gets the crowd waving their arms, putting lighters or phones in the area or generally making lots of noise on command.  A great set – probably their best one of the tour.

Check out our photos of In this moment’s set

In this moment setlist:
Beast Within
Maria’s Dance

CZ2J1250Next up were tonight’s headliners – Halestorm.  They’re a band that’s been going from strength to strength in the last few years, both musically and in terms of popularity. Many of the dates on this latest tour have sold out (and indeed sold out very fast), so it’s no surprise that Rock City tonight is absolutely packed.  The band are greeted with huge cheers as they take to the stage and they go straight into their first number, ‘Freak like me’.  You can’t beat starting with a hit to get the crowd going, and Halestorm quickly follow it up with ‘Love bites (so do I)’ and ‘You call me a bitch’.  They really are on form tonight (and on the other UK dates I’d seen).  After ‘Dirty work’ they do a cover version of the Dio song ‘Straight through the heart’.  Dio song’s are always hard to cover as his vocals are so powerful, but Lzzy makes it look easy – her voice just seems perfect for the song.  A truly excellent cover version.
After a couple more songs, the band go off leaving Lzzy alone on stage to perform ‘Break in’ on piano and vocals.  It’s a great performance and shows a slightly different side to her voice.  Rejoined by the band she head’s into ‘Familiar taste of poison’ and gets a huge number of people in the crowd singing along with her.
During ‘Daughters of darkness’ the band take a break leaving Arejay to do a drum solo.  His drum solos are more entertaining than most and are different every night, although some elements such as the oversized drum sticks and playing the drums without sticks, just beating the drums and cymbals with his hands are common elements to all his solos.

After a storming version of ‘Mz Hyde’ we get another cover version.  I wasn’t sure which one they’d perform as it’s varied through the tour, with them having covered Judas Priest, Pat Benatar and Guns and Roses so far, and indeed when I spoke to Arejay a couple of hours before the show he wasn’t sure which they’d perform that night.  In the end it was Judas Priest’s ‘Dissident aggressor’.  It’s not an obvious choice being a less well known song, but they made a good choice – they really get it spot on, very heavy and again Lzzys vocals making it seem easy.
Ending with ‘I get off’ the band leave the stage for a short break before coming back out for the encore – ‘Here’s to us’ and ‘I miss the misery’

Check out our Halestorm photos.

An excellent night of music – a great performance from Sacred Mother Tongue, a first rate performance by In this moment, followed by a stunning performance from Halestorm – a fantastic night.

Halestorm setlist:
Freak like me
Love bites (so do I)
You call me a bitch
Dirty work
Straight through the heart
Rock show
Break in
Familiar taste of poison
Daughters of darkness
Mz Hyde
Dissident aggressor
It’s not you
I get off

Here’s to us
I miss the misery.

About Ant May

I spend half my life at gigs or festivals and the other half writing the reviews and editing photos, and somehow find time for a full time job too. Who needs sleep - I've got coffee.