Review + Photos by Frank Ralph

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Rews sound powerful. They have great energy and for a two-piece they make a hell of a lot of noise – most of all look like they’re having fun, which is infectious, and everyone enjoys their short set. They are definitely a band to check out further.

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The completely batshit Avatar from Sweden are a bit theatrical, a bit fun and genuinely a bit good. They are all the great bits about Alice Cooper and Eurovision kitsch mixed up and spat out in the faces of a crowd that isn’t really theirs at the beginning, but by the end well and truly is.

Frontman Johannes plays the role of ringleader effortlessly and whether he’s singing, head banging or gurning at the front rows he has the crowd in the palm of his hands throughout their hour long set. In his own words they look like a freakshow, sound like a freakshow and they smell like a freakshow. Sounds like our kind of show. They are custom built to play somewhere like Bloodstock and we wouldn’t be surprised to see them quite high up the bill next year.

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About 8 years ago I was completely blown away by a voice that captured everyone inside an arena within 30 seconds – completely acapella. It gave everybody goose bumps and stopped them in their tracks – and the performer wasn’t even on stage yet.

It was an offstage intro from Lzzy Hale from Halestorm and it had everyone mesmerised from the get go. 8 years and 4 albums later and they have lost none of that ability to instantly capture a room full of people. If anything, that ability is even stronger now with a catalogue of incredible tracks to choose from.

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Opening up with Skulls – the first of 6 tracks showcased from latest album Vicious, they literally storm the stage. The new album is even more fierce than previous outings and everything feels that little bit more aggressive, especially when the intense Black Vultures follows a beautiful acoustic The Silence with just Joe and Lzzy sat at the front of the stage later on in the set.

With Lzzy channelling her inner Joan Jett she’s certainly not messing around. Love Bites is an early highlight along with Apocalyptic. Do Not Disturb is introduced with an acapella intro of I Get Off which yet again showcases one of the greatest voices on the planet before an extended jam version of Amen took everyone to church and replenished their souls.

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Now, not may bands can pull off a drum solo without people moaning about it, but Arejay Hale has that big a personality that it comes through in his playing and it is really enjoyable to watch, especially when he pulls out a pair of giant drumsticks to finish his solo.

In 5 or 10 years there will be a glut of female fronted bands that cite Halestorm and particularly Lzzy as their inspiration – and the world will be a better place for it. They must be high on the list of bands that will answer the eternal ‘Where are the next festival headliners coming from?’ question.

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See the complete photoset from tonight’s gig here.

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