09 February 2012
It’s been a while since I’ve been to the Roundhouse. More and more I keep thinking that it’s a very ‘nice’ venue but fundamentally flawed. It’s sonically tilted in favour of the early door pounders who rush in to take up the central stage column views. Left/Right Balance is difficult to achieve in here mainly due to its lack of depth (what with being circular and all). So as close as you feel to the stellar bands who grace endlessly cool and historical stage (If your not behind one of the annoying pillars), you’re always feeling as if you are listening to one of the hugely oversized speakers stacks, rather than the band themselves. Although I have found alcohol a wonderful cure for stereo imbalance, so as our support took the stage, all worries were set aside.
Halestorm, introduced to us through a huge Download early afternoon tent slot were back to wow us once again. They did not disappoint as front woman Lzzy Halestorm let her overpowered pipes and tight clothing mesmerise the crowd for two very different reasons. Her rock and roll swagger matches some of the best in the business and her scowling vocals are as throat blazing as they are beautifully.
Although their Americanism’s shone through quite heavily their set went down a storm with body quaking rythmn guitars and enthralling lead lines. But Lzzy steals all the hearts in the room (again…in two very different ways), especially as she performs the sultry ballad “Familiar Taste Of Poison” a mediocre tune on record, but it comes alive through a simply stunning vocal performance. New tunes from their latest E.P. took a tougher edge such as “Love Bites [So Do I]” with its thrashier lead playing which was no bad thing. Possibly inspired by their recent cover of 80’s metal trailblazers Skid Row’s “Slave To The Grind” which also sparked heads a rollicking this evening. A super support slot from a band destined to be back on a headline tour soon!
Shinedown have perfected melodic hard rock over the last few years. But were they ready for the London crowd? I can confirm that largely, yes they were. Their stadium sized anthems were no match for the roundhouse roof as they lifted it clean off within a few bars of their power up. A hardcore following had amassed out front and vocals were being poured stagewards from every angle. A once sedate swaying crowd started to show what they were made of during a particularly rawkus rendition of “Devour” which lead singer Brent Smith had the whole crowd a jumpin’.
One thing which was considerable noticeable about Smith was that apart from his incredibly American outpourings of love to the London crowd, was looking like the All American Abercrombie “Buff Man”! He rattled on throughout the evening about love and life including this crowd stoking cracker “I rememeber watching festivals in london on my tv in my bedroom in the states…the crowds were always crazy” yeah! spark crown cheer <here>! Fine, but for me, the rapidity of the word left them pretty vacant, almost as if he struggled to remember which city he was in this week. Although I cannot fault his muscular Mr. rock vocals, they were absolutely spot on.
He and his band kicked out some cracking tunes including some massive mid-tempo sing-a-longs “Sound of Madness“, Fret flying “Cyanide Sweet Tooth Suicide” and the angelic ballad “Second Chance“. Their first 2 albums were briefly visited towards the set ends with their UK breakthrough single “Save Me“, moody slowie “45”, nu-metal thunderflyer “Fly From the Inside” and their stonking cover of Lynyrd Skynyrds Simple Man (my personal highlight).
An altogether ace show! Delivering body shocking powerful hard rock, which kicked seriously huge holes in this stylish Camden hangout.