Halestorm at Slims in San Francisco, California

Slim’s, San Francisco, CA
November 16, 2012

By Dan Wall

Set List: Mz. Hyde, Love Bites, Freak Like Me, Dirty Work, Innocence, American Boys, Rock Show, Gold Dust Woman, Familiar Taste of Poison, You Call Me Bitch Like It’s a Bad Thing, It’s Not You, I Get Off. Encore: Here’s To Us, I Miss the Misery. 85 minutes.

Lzzy Hale is my sexception.

You know, that’s the one person you can have sex with that will not get you into trouble with the wife or significant other (of course, she gets one too). Ms. Hale is capable of straddling the thin line between sexual camp and rock and roll talent, and her voice is one of the most glorious instruments that I’ve heard in the last 10 years.

It’s the voice that makes Halestorm special, and it was on full display at Slim’s in San Francisco during a recent tour stop. There is no doubt that the band can write songs, produce hits, play well live and has a look that could have made them stars with another singer, but with Lzzy fronting the band, Halestrom is on the verge of superstardom-a term not thrown around loosely these days.

Everyone talks about Hale’s looks, and she is gorgeous, but I still go back to her voice. Ever since I heard the band’s debut album (and particularly the vocal in “Innocence”), I was sure this girl would be a star. She can rock like a little devil, but also croon like a demonic lounge singer (check out “Familiar Taste of Poison” for further proof).

So what does Halestorm sound like? Well, Pat Benatar on steroids is good place to start, but the band is definitely a modern rock group. The group plays bouncy, melodic hard rock that fits nicely aside Shinedown, Three Days Grace, Hinder and the like, but the quartet also mixes in the best of the classic rock catalog-Hale at times can sound like someone like Benatar, although Ann Wilson, Janis Joplin and Stevie Nicks are influences as well.

As far as the boys in the band go, Hale’s brother Arejay is a monster on drums, and guitarist Joe Hottinger and bassist Josh Smith are no slouches. Another great thing about this band-the guys don’t resent the tremendous spotlight that is shined on Lzzy, and have no problem with the fact that she is clearly the star.

This is a band that has built a following the old way-making good records, and then touring them to death. So if you go see them live, expect to fall in love with the band’s songs, music and singer, and probably not in that order.