Devilskin’s set begins with an epic intro track that hypes up a very keen an already very sweaty crowd. Through the darkness drummer, Nic Martin appears atop his kit and the packed room goes wild in anticipation.
As Devilskin launch full flight, vocalist Jennie Skulander makes her mark swiftly. The power in her melodic vocals is immediately apparent and her guttural growls amp the crowd even further. The amount of control Skulander has over her vocals is incredible and the whole venue is in the palm of her hand by the end of the first song.
Everyone was boiling even before entering the venue and three songs into the night, the Factory Floor is basically a hot tub. It’s safe to say however that our New Zealand friends up on stage are probably feeling it most of all.
‘All In Black’ is a highlight and had a killer solo courtesy of the guitarist known simply as ‘Nail.’ Their cover of Dio’s ‘Holy Diver’ is impressive, as is the ballad, ‘Voices.’
On this two-band line-up, we don’t have to wait too long until the headliners of the night arrive. There is no grand entrance from frontwoman Lzzy Hale who takes the stage at the same time as the guys, flying V plugged in and ready to destroy. Halestorm opens their set with ‘Apocalyptic’ from their 2015 album, ‘Into the Wild Life.’
We know what’s coming next the second we hear drummer Arejay Hale hit the cowbell. ‘It’s Not You,’ is the second tune and has everyone moving. Lzzy prowls around stage comfortably. Her voice as expected is exceptional live and her guitar skills are killer as well.
‘Mrs Hyde’ goes off as does ‘Freak Like Me,’ which has the audience are chanting along, fists in the air. During the break between songs Lzzy shocks us by announcing she actually has bronchitis. It’s hardly evident and in fact, she continues by screaming her way through an epic cover of Whitesnake’s ‘Still of The Night.’
All band members leave the stage except Lzzy who removes her guitar and begins sharing her experience as a teen being the only female at metal shows. She wasn’t a girlfriend, she wasn’t a groupie; she was seemingly an outcast. Nevertheless thirteen-year-old Hale announced to her parents she wanted to be a rock musician. Admirably they didn’t tell her to get a degree, get a job or get married first, they simply said, “Absolutely.” Her little bro Arejay jumped on drums and Halestorm was born.
“Gentleman, I love you. But this one’s for the ladies,” she beamed, before singing the heartfelt ballad ‘Dear Daughter,’ accompanying herself on keys. ‘I Like It Heavy’ injects some fresh energy and features a monstrous- drum solo from Arejay in the middle.
The night ends with ‘I Miss The Mystery,’ and Halestorm remain on stage until the very last pick and drumstick is dispersed into the crowd.
Photography by Gwendolyn Lee.