Bristol rock & metal fans had a real treat in the form of Shinedown, Halestorm and the up & coming Liberty Lies. Bristol is the 4th date on the pre ‘Amaryllis’ UK tour for Florida rockers Shinedown, a tour that has been eagerly awaited being over two years since they last played the UK. This and most other dates on the tour have completely sold out, unfortunately in this venue it was packed wall to wall, making it difficult for some people to see the stage, especially with the metal grilling which obscured a considerable portion of the stage from the centre balcony. The minor problems with the venue where far outweighed by the wonderful air of excitement in the crowd, it was a clear that we were in for a real treat and with musicians of this calibre we were not disappointed.
The first band to take to the stage was Liberty Lies, they are an unsigned band from Wednesbury, UK, they don’t as yet have an album out but that is something they are currently working on. At the moment Liberty Lies have both an EP ‘New Addiction’ and single ‘Confessions of an Effigy’ both of which are available as downloads. If you are a fan of Airbourne or Slaves to Gravity then they are definitely one to check out.
When the lights dimmed and the five-piece walked out and the crowd politely cheered, showing support, although you could see a few people where not paying attention. The initial lack of attention is to be expected as they are not massively known, however when they started playing ‘Confessions of an Effigy’ you could feel the whole room focus on the stage; after that point the crowd was won over. They continued playing their entire catalogue of songs to date including ‘Beggars Belief’ and ‘The Wire’ all of which left the crowd wanting more. They definitely created quite a few fans that night, HTF being one of them!
After the short interlude there seemed more tension in the air then before; the stage was now set for Halestorm. Lead out by vocalist Lzzy Hale the band assume their positions and started off with their latest single ‘Love Bites (So Do I)’, with the crowd singing along with every word. After the first few songs Lzzy addresses the audience thanking them for their dedication to the band and their music, she asks for a hand with the ‘dirty work’ getting everyone jumping to introduce the song. The band are very audience focused performing not only the classic songs that endeared them to us but also played previews from the forthcoming album ‘The Strange Case Of…’, due out April 10th. Songs to include ‘American Boys’ and ‘Freak Like Me’.
A third of the way through the set the stage clears except for Lzzy Hale and after trying to calm the excited crowd to a silence she begins a vocal only rendition of ‘Crazy On You’ (originally by Heart), leading into ‘Familiar Taste of Poison’ for which the band re-joined her. The magnitude of this band is a true inspiration but nothing could prepare us for what happened next, Arejay Hale – drummer preformed an awe inspiring solo. At first with drumsticks then with whatever he had to hand and finally using only his hands. This was so powerful the entire audience was just stood silently watching in pure amazement and when he finished everybody broke into a roar that shook the ceiling, with everyone back on the stage they ended with their massive hit song ‘I Get Off’. Halestorm seemed to hit every note with military precision and we can’t wait to see them again!
Shinedown are a legendary band from Jacksonville, Florida and are known to have a massive following internationally. When the band came onto the stage they greeted the audience like old friends. The energetic mob started playing one of their most famous and respected songs, the title track from their last album ‘The Sound of Madness’. They follow this by giving us a preview into ‘Amaryllis’ playing ‘Enemy’ and ‘Adrenaline’. The new stuff did get a bit of mixed reaction, however that’s more than likely down to people being better versed in the classics which followed, including ‘Devour’, ‘If You Only Knew’ and ‘Cyanide Sweet Tooth Suicide’.
After playing ‘Diamond Eyes’ they slowed the pace and played ‘45’ before leaving the stage to the sound of an ecstatic crowd.
The band leave the stage and the house lights come up, but the fans won’t stop their chanting and stomping, the noise is truly defining. An encore is what they demand and an encore they will have, after five minutes or so the room darkens and Shinedown take the stage again. They play a heartfelt acoustic rendition of their Lynyrd Skynyrd cover ‘Simple Man’. This had many people hugging each other and singing along to the point of matching the output of the speakers.
Then leading man Brent Smith takes a minute to thank everyone for the support given to them over the years, before continuing to play ‘Second Chance’,
The grand finale has the focus pulled towards the guitarist, Zach Myers who is on top of the speaker rig on the left side of the stage. While band mates Eric Bass, Barry Kerch and Brent Smith distribute picks, drumsticks and the fabled setlist, he is still holding the last note of ‘Fly From The Inside’perfectly. As the note ebbs away to silence he jumps the considerable height from the speaker to the stage, slamming the guitar to the ground in classic rock-star form.
Shinedown are a fantastic band and know how to play a gig in a way that feels personal to everyone. The audience was a mixture of people of all ages and it was a bit of a roller coaster ride of emotion, but with a band as talented as Shinedown you would expect no less.
Reviewer: Phillip Stockton