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Halestorm at The Myth

I think it was about three in the afternoon when my Facebook started to light up.  Friends expressing remorse that they were not in St. Paul.   What?  I’m in St. Paul and bored to tears.  What the hell is going on?  Why do people want to be here?  It wasn’t until my friend The Fan posted that I had some actual details.  She was on day two of what turned out to be a three day recovery from food poisoning and was going to miss her all time favorite female performer.   The Fan is never wrong about a show.  Her politics on Facebook maybe another story, but a show never.  I had to go.

Lzzy and Arejay Hale on stage with HailstormMusic was to start at 8:30 I showed up about 35 minutes after to avoid the rush of people at the entrance.  The lady at the door looked at me, looked at my ID front and back.   Compared me to the photo.  Felt it, bent it.  Checked for the hologram.  It seemed to be the *exact* same procedure for every person even if that person has been twenty one for over twenty one.  I could see it being slow going to get a long line of people through that door.  So I was glad I showed up when I did. But I digress.  I will get to bitching about The Myth later.

This was my first time to see Lzzy Hale and Halestorm.  I also have to confess, I didn’t really know their music.  I didn’t have any way to print online tickets so I took a late break from work and rode up to buy them at the door.  Then when I got back about five I spent half an hour or so with some of their YouTube videos playing in the background while I finished out my workday.  That is really the sum total of my familiarity with their songs.

Before the music actually started, Lzzy was on stage talking.  I wasn’t really listening.  I was getting a beer, being told where I couldn’t stand by the bouncers.  So when the show started out,  it was really mellow.  I was kind of confused.  I thought this chick rocked?!  Still the music was good.   In particular a cover of Fleetwood Mac, _Gold Dust Woman_, slightly modernized, a little rock-ified.  I liked it.  One of their songs, Get off, was also played during this time.  I like that one as well.  It wasn’t until a few songs in that they band took a short break and I realized really what was happening was they were their own warm up band.  Doing a few slow songs to get the audience tuned in.  Cool.

After this point the show picked up the beat and the volume.  I really had a good time.   I liked the music.  The show was impressive.  All in all I had a really great time.  The band seems very tight.  From what I understand they tour nearly constantly.  Lzzy has a fantastic voice.  Her guitar playing was largely rhythm but she has a great guitarist, Joe Hottinger, to do the heavy lifting on the solos. 

Joe spent the majority of his time on a Telecaster but Lzzy featured an impressive number of guitar changes including a gibson double neck that had to have weighed about as much as she does.  Interesting.  Yeah, they all sounded different.  It seemed a touch over the top.

Lzzy and Joe on stage with HalestormHere are some words I never would type out…  “The cool thing about the drum solo” because, yeah, I usually hate drum solos.  That is often when I make a trip to the bathroom.  But what I thought was really cool was Arejay Hale (Lzzy’s brother), the bands drummer, for the final part of the solo did cover beats.  It impressed me because I didn’t really understand how recognizable these songs are by the beat alone.  He would do a beat and then get the audience to sing a line of the song, then he would be off to the next one.  I had never seen this done before and I just thought that was really interesting.

One thing I was really impressed by were the songs Lzzy announced as new ones.  Where so often I am disappointed by new songs bands come out with.  Usually, thinking those new songs are weaker.  In this case, the one new song either just released or maybe expected to release shortly was my favorite of the night.  Very cool.  To me that shows a band that is still growing, not just putting out lifestyle maintenance.  

I have to say, if this were a guy in a Chippewa band I would have ranked all over him about wearing his own band t-shirt on stage.  I know this because I have done it.  I would ask the question, “can’t he afford to buy a shirt?”  Can I give, grammy award winning, national act, Lzzy the same hard time?  Oh boy, I don’t know.  I guess i just think it is kind of self serving and tacky.  People look to bands like this as their style gurus, it shouldn’t be to advertise the band.

All in all I thought the whole thing was great.  Loved the band.  Loved the music.  I came home and hit the iTunes store for several of their songs.  I would totally go again the next time they play in the area.  I recommend you put Halestorm on your must see list.   The Fan was not wrong!

My only negative comments deal with the venue.  Here is the problem with The Myth.  Either you can fight your way through the press of bodies and get onto the main floor, where you are packed shoulder to shoulder with all the other hot sweaty bodies.  …Or, you are in the back where you can only listen to the music.  There is no in-between.  When I first arrived I went over to the far side, hoping to find somewhere I had line of site to the stage.  No way.  The only way I could see was to turn on my camera, hold my arm up and zoom it in.  Yeah, just like sitting at home watching TV except my arm gets tired.  I tried to push a little closer but had no luck.  It wasn’t until a group of five, three girls and two guys came along that I was able to join in with them.  They were aggressive enough to push through and I followed them all the way up to maybe twenty rows of people back from the stage.  As fate would have it I still ended up more or less behind the tallest guy in the place.  He was maybe eight inches taller than anyone else on the main floor.  He must have had a great view!

Want a second beer?  Not a chance.  It would take two songs to fight your way to the back of the club.  Then, getting back to the front again would be totally impossible.  It seems to me like they could reduce the number of tickets sold by ten percent and readily make it up in beer sales.  People would actually be able to get to the bar. 

If I'd written all the truth I knew for the past ten years, about 600 people - including me - would be rotting in prison cells from Rio to Seattle today. Absolute truth is a very rare and dangerous commodity in the context of professional journalism. 

Hunter S. Thompson