Representing Detroit are the first band on the bill, Wilson. When they take the stage it feels like watching a band who’ve been kept secret from metal’s fraternity as they tear into a boisterous yet accomplished ‘full blast fuckery’ (as they call it) that swiftly fills the cavernous venue with energy. It’s hard not to be enthralled by frontman Chad Nicefield, who arrives dressed as a toy soldier, bashing a drum with full force and proclaiming, “We like to go fast!” before bounding into a note-perfect rendition of Back in Black. It all ends with more percussive exploits, this time on a homemade beer bottle kit swiftly chugged by the band.
If the openers were eye-opening then Texas’s Nothing More are nothing short of heart-stopping. Combining the arena-sized histrionics of 30 Seconds To Mars with A Perfect Circle-esque progressive nuances, Nothing More are emo and then some. The three-man bass tapping interlude is a real treat, so too is the acrobatic drum spectacle during a nerve-jangling outing of Salem, but it’s This Is The Time and its aching radio-perfect strains that causes the biggest eruption of praise.
You know it’s a good gig when you feel like you’ve got your money’s worth before the headliners have even set foot on the stage, and Halestorm play to an enraptured audience who lap up every second of Lzzy Hale and co’s debauched glamour. Steadily making their way to the dizzying heights of Roundhouse-headlining status via a Grammy and an eye-rubbing amount of YouTube hits, the Pennsylvanian four-piece are probably a lot bigger than you imagine. All you need to do is look at the t-shirts on show to confirm their widespread appeal – everything from Zeppelin and Seether to Nightwish and Alter Bridge.
As the band appear onstage the Roundhouse surges with teenage squeals and bloke-ish roars. Frontwoman Lzzy Hale rips into Mz. Hyde with snarling ferocity and asks, “Do you like Cowbell?” before unleashing Snot You, sung like a prettier Sebastian Bach. Powering their way through a formidable set of oldies and new songs from Into The Wild Life, Halestorm have every element of their show honed to deliver the best results. Without doubt, their born-to-be-a-rockstar frontwoman is their raison d’être, and anyone who can sing with such captivating, whiskey-soaked passion and shred like the best of them deserves recognition. But Hale is not the only star and while drum solos are normally the cue for a piss stop, her brother does a damn fine job of entertaining the crowd with his gymnastic antics and baguette-sized drum sticks.
Of course, the highlights of the set are the songs themselves, and the Girl Power anthems hit the right spot with the youngsters in the crowd, not least the unbridled grit of I Miss the Misery and Apocalyptic, and the brooding sleaze-fest of new song Amen. Rock Show’s ecclesiastic amble is another showstopper, while the closing Here’s To Us is the equivalent of a post-coital cuddle, leaving you hungry for more.