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New Adventures In Live Music
With Paul Blake

There is nothing like the thrill of hearing well written songs coming to life before your very eyes. Knowing that what you are experiencing is unique to that particular time and place and will never be heard in the same light again. The room, the people, the atmosphere, the mood of the artist whilst performing, can change the way you hear a song, invoke a feeling singular to that moment. I guess that’s why we keep going back, to try and relive that perfect gig. And why we find ourselves returning to the same setting and styles of music again and again.


It was whilst on this train of thought I began to realise that I had become very set in my ways as to the sort of gigs I attend. I love a good pub gig, somewhere you can sit down with a pint and enjoy the music. Or if it’s a bit lively and I’m feeling up for it, I can easily muscle my way to the front and not have to worry about losing my spot if I have to nip out for a pee………….. Holy Horlicks! I’ve reached middle age!!!


After expressing my concerns with a fellow Music Unbuttonier it was decided that I needed to re-broaden my horizons, dust off the old bones and head off to the city.

The band: Halestorm. The Place? O2 Guild Hall, Southampton.

Bought the tickets on line… easy enough. Had a quick read though of Music Unbuttons ‘Giggers Guide to Travel’….  Figured I’d take the car and just wing it…….. Fail!


First impressions of the O2 Guild Hall were impressive. A huge white stone building up-lit with cold blue lighting stood towering over a paved square the size of a football pitch. The only thing detracting from all this were the queues emulating from the front doors. However, after the thirty minutes or so it took to find somewhere to park it was just a case of walking straight in. I was surprised to see such a diverse amount of people. From sixteen to sixty, leathers to anoraks, it seemed as though everyone was here.


The support acts left me uninspired. The first act ‘Willson’. A heavily bearded man shouting over clichéd drop D guitar riffs was warming the crowd before ‘Nothing More’ took to the stage. I guess some might say their songs were very emotionally charged….  sounded like a lot of whinging to me. It struck me that despite their efforts to come across all hardcore they must spend a lot of time in the gym posing in front of the mirror…...


At last the main act walked on with the apparent ease and confidence of a band deserving of such a stage. With cries of encouragement and jubilation from the crowd, Halestorm launch in to their opening song. Before starting their second song, band leader Lizzy Hale announced that she was suffering from a very bad cold and in danger of losing her voice, asking the audience to help.


And there it was, the magic of live performance. With the crowd fully behind her and in good voice, Lizzy strove on putting everything she had and more in to the show and it was not lost on her adoring fans.


Now I’m not going to end this by saying it has dramatically changed my life. Standing up for three hours straight, sipping overly priced water from a bottle of which you are not trusted to keep the screw cap, is still not my idea of the perfect night out. However, it will be a gig that I will remember and Halestorm will always have a special place in my heart.