By Cathy Moore of Moore Rock Shots & Reviews
There is no better way to kick off the summer concert season in Cincinnati, Ohio than with four kick ass female-fronted rock bands. That’s exactly what happened on May 4 at PNC Pavilion when Halestorm, In This Moment, New Years Day, and Stitched Up Heart rolled into town. And I was there – on the rail and rocking out every single second.
The epic show kicked off with a stellar performance by California rockers Stitched Up Heart. Decker (drums), Merritt (guitar), Randy (bass) and Nick (guitar) joined fierce and fabulous frontwoman Mixi to get fans riled up and ready to go. Stitched Up Heart played an energetic set of songs from their 2016 album Never Alone. There was plenty of headbanging and heartfelt words from Mixi who gushed about how grateful she was to be part of this tour. I have been a fan of Stitched Up Heart since their debut so I too was glad they were part of this tour!
Next up was New Years Day led by the unique and unapologetic Ash Costello. Ash and the guys – Brian (drums), Nikki (guitar), Jeremy (guitar) – kept things rocking with hits like “Kill Or Be Killed”, “Other Side “, “Scream”, and “Defame Me”. Ash made sure that the crowd honored the metal gods by keeping their horns up high in the air while the band also played songs from their new EP Diary of a Creep including the Pantera cover “Fucking Hostile” and the first track “Disgust Me”. Ash said her goal was to “make everyone scream” and she definitely accomplished that goal. The crowd was going nuts.
Then came the queen Maria Brink and In This Moment. Every time I see In This Moment it is a phenomenal experience. The theatrics, the stage setup, the dynamic showmanship of the entire band – you just can’t tear your eyes away from the stage the entire time. The setlist for this show included many of my favorite In This Moment hits including “Blood”, “Big Bad Wolf”, and “Sick Like Me”. Of course they also played plenty of songs from their latest album Ritual including “River of Fire”, “Oh Lord” and “Roots”. My favorite moment of the set was when Ash Costello came out and sang “Black Wedding” with Maria. It was live music magic. In This Moment ended their set with the mega hit and crowd favorite “Whore” and threw huge white balloons out to the crowd. The energy in the pavilion was absolutely electric at this point.
And then came Halestorm. Led by iconic and incredible Lzzy Hale, Halestorm rocked the roof off of the PNC Pavilion. They kicked their set off with a brand new song, “Black Vultures”, from their upcoming fourth album. It was hot and heavy and made me even more excited for the new album! Then it was just one hit after the other from this Grammy-winning band – including “Love Bites (So Do I)”, “Mz. Hyde”, “Freak Like Me”, “Apocalyptic”, “I Get Off”, and two of my favorite Halestorm tracks “Amen” and “Familiar Taste of Poison”.
Crew rolled out the magnificent white grand piano for Lzzy to play her empowering hit “Dear Daughter” as well as a cover of the Adele ballad “Someone Like You”. The band also played a deeper cut from their 2015 album Into the Wild Life called “The Reckoning”, which I had never heard live so that was a huge treat. Lzzy’s brother and band drummer Arejay not only showed off his mad drumming skills in a fast and furious drum solo, but he also showed off his vocal chops when he led the audience in a fun sing-along. Halestorm ended the iconic night with “I Miss the Misery” and I walked out of that pavilion with the biggest smile on my face. It was literally one of the best concerts I’ve ever attended – and I’ve been to LOTS of concerts.
This legendary tour will be making many stops across North America through mid-May including stops at a number of festivals and state fairs. Some combination of the lineup will continue throughout the summer before Halestorm heads off on the European leg of their tour. You do not want to miss this show. Near or far – find a date and get there! You won’t be disappointed.
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