Stone Sour, Halestorm and The Dead Deads rolled their 2018 Winter Tour through Lethbridge last night, February 1, 2018 at the Enmax Centre and although there were a lot of fans ready to get their faces peeled off by the headliners, the ladies owned the evening.
I haven’t seen Stone Sour singer Corey Taylor live since I attended a crazy Slipknot show over a decade ago in Calgary and let me tell you — Stone Sour is not metal. Do they have metal tendencies? Sure, there were some heavy tracks and Taylor’s growls echoed throughout the Enmax, but the precise moment I realised I wasn’t at a metal concert is when Corey Taylor brought out the big gun. Literally. During the first couple songs into Stone Sour’s set, Taylor proceeds to grab what looked like a rocket launcher from the side of the stage and I’m thinking to myself – “he’s gonna shoot a couple T-Shirts into the crowd! That’s wicked, cause concert T’s are expensive as Hell”. Then Taylor, the man who sometimes wear’s a rotting face mask and screams about death and mayhem — pulls the trigger and smothers the crowd with glittery ropes of confetti. Taylor blasted the Lethbridge crowd repeatedly with his glitter confetti cannon and I couldn’t believe what was happening. Am I officially an old guy? I’m old.
Taylor addressed how rhythm guitarist Josh Rand couldn’t make the tour due to a medical issue and urged the fans to give him a round of applause. He also mentioned that his voice was “shot” and that he’d been fighting an illness the week leading up to the concert. Honestly — I couldn’t tell for most of Stone Sour’s set. They were ferocious and Taylor was hitting quite a few high notes (with his non screamy voice) but as the night went on, you could tell he was off. I would have just preferred if he sang more of the songs with his growls instead – I love it when things get heavy anyway. They played through a lot of material, including my favourite song of the night “30-30-150” and some hits from their newest release Hydrograd. However — I don’t think they played a single song from their self titled debut and that kind of blows. I love that record. So that was disappointing but I get it – they have a lot of material to go through, it just wasn’t what I expected. I’m an old guy… They also ended their set with wacky waving inflatable flailing arm tube men popping up from the stage and I was puzzled more than ever. First the glitter cannon and now giant colorful floppy balloon people? Ok.
Halestorm stole the show. By a mile. Singer Lzzy Hale is amazing. Her vocals were unreal and took me to another dimension – hell – she didn’t even stop singing between the songs. You know the typical singer/crowd banter? She sang to the crowd. She didn’t need to do that – she could have chilled and talked for a bit, but nope – she sang and she sang hard. Also – the sound was killer (even better and more crisp than Stone Sour, which boggles my mind). Halestorm is great on the album but it’s their live performance that made me a true fan (in fact I went right to the merch table after their set and bought their tour shirt). They struck such a glorious balance between the beautifully melodic (the piano performance of ‘Dear Daughter’ was stunning) to the fast and heaviest stuff (their showstopping performance of ‘Mayhem’ was the song of the night).
Now — my favourite Halestorm track is “Here’s to Us”… They didn’t play it. I don’t know why and to my own surprise – I didn’t care when the dust settled. Halestorm was so damn good, that they didn’t need to play my favourite song and they still kicked my ass and made me like it. That’s the true sign of a great live performer. Lzzy Hale was equal parts punk rock, heavy metal and 80’s glam. The combination won the crowd over too – I saw one dude wearing a Stone Sour T-Shirt screaming for Halestorm midway through the headliner’s set.
Openers The Dead Deads reminded me of the 90’s grunge movement which I adore, but their choice for opening song was too laid back and that level of energy never managed to get the crowd moving from that point on. It literally looked like a sea of statues just staring at this great rock band who sounded a lot like Hole — but BETTER and it made me uncomfortable. However — I heard nothing but great things from the audience and after the Dead Deads’ set, their merch had sold like crazy. So people loved them – they just didn’t show it during their performance. I don’t know if that’s a Canadian thing or what, but The Dead Deads won over a lot of fans that night and they probably had no idea that they did.
The venue filled up nicely, the crowd was loud, but I do feel that the audience energy level was low and maybe that’s because everyone was tired as shit on a Thursday night. I know I was – and I think you had to factor in that this was the first time that 99% of the Lethbridge fans were seeing any of these bands live. Noone knew what to expect, so there was this aura of mystery throughout the night which made for a weird level of energy. Halestorm was astounding, The Dead Deads impressed (though you all probably should have showed them more during their set) and Stone Sour was definitely off their game due to Taylor’s sore throat and Josh Rand missing in action. However – in spite of the headliners’ hiccups, including a screw up of ‘Through Glass’ which made the band laugh mid-song, everything came together for a memorable evening that celebrated the spirit of rock n’ roll.
— Jaime Vedres (@JaimeVedres) February 2, 2018
— Ian Martens (@IMartensHerald) February 2, 2018