On November 6th, the highlight of the evening’s double whammy event at Montreal’s Metropolis was, without question, Halestorm’s bitchin’ set of heavy, alt-rock bangers. “My name is Lzzy, I’m gonna be bossing you around for the next 30 minutes or so,” declared the current first lady of hardrock, Lzzy (that’s actually how she spells it) Hale. She then incited the crowd with a rousing singalong of “Scream.”
Halestorm is basically Motley Crue with a female lead, but they wear the party rock banner proudly on their sleeves. Huge bangers like “Freak Like Me,” and “I Like it Heavy,” are meant to be blasted and sung along to in arenas around the world. Drummer, brother to Lzzy and band cofounder, Arejay Hale, also got his moment to shine that night with a solo. It was more of a miniature one man show in and of itself. He led the crowd through some more singalongs, including Kiss’s “Rock & Roll all Nite,” AC/DC’s “Highway to Hell,” and, of course, headliner, Three Days Grace’s “Chalk Outline.” He repeatedly jumped out of his chair while playing a beat, and that’s pretty fucking cool.
Wrestling-rock, poster boys, Three Days Grace are the rare case of a band that is able to continue with a new frontman and with some degree of success. I have always had mixed feelings about this band to be honest. On the one hand, their breakout hit, “I Hate Everything About You,” makes me cringe. On the other hand, songs like, “Animal I Have Become,” and “Never Too Late,” are ragers that I can always sing along to. Similarly, while I have never seen My Darkest Days’, Matt Walst, as a suitable replacement for Adam Gontier’s uniquely powerful pipes, he still is an incredibly engaging frontman.
So, it was that after a solid forty minute wait, and a sample of some guy telling the crowd “you are not machines,” that Three Days Grace lumbered onto the stage with “I Am Machine,” a track from their latest album, Human. See what they did there? Themes and stuff. As expected, Walst took control of both crowd, and stage, formidably in a manner akin to Iron Maiden’s Bruce Dickinson, though, naturally without the latter’s incredibly operatic voice. While the hungry crowd ate up new tunes and old classics like “Pain,” and “Just Like You,” an out of left field cover of Tool’s “Sober” had most of their fans scratching their heads. Whatever, I was into it, and that’s what matters. There was also a pretty solid drum and keys interlude featuring touring member, Dani Rosenoer, which led into a ripping drum solo by Neil Sanderson.
All in all, Three Days Grace did nothing to pull my mixed feelings for them significantly in either direction. But, they provided an awesome night for their fans, and Halestorm will definitely be taking up more space on my IPod from now on.
Written by Syd Ghan
Photography by Isa Hoyos Ishca Photography
*edited by Danielle Kenedy