Lita Ford and Halestorm rock New York
By Pete Troshak
If you live in New York City and heard a loud rumbling on Wednesday night around 8:30 PM it wasn’t the subway train that was rocking your world, it was the sound of a sellout crowd at New York’s famed Webster Hall erupting as iconic hard rock survivor Lita Ford teamed up with Halestorm’s Lzzy Hale to deliver a stunning version of one of Ford’s signature songs “Close My Eyes Forever.”
Ford and Hale, each wielding white double-necked guitars and standing face to face, delivered an intricate and powerful version of the 80’s power ballad with Hale expertly filling the shoes of metal godfather Ozzy Osbourne, who duetted with Ford on the original smash hit. Ford precisely picked out the chiming and haunting melody on the 12-string neck of her axe while Hale slashed out the cutting power chords of the song on her six string.The two women faced off alone at first and delivered the Romeo-and-Juliet-meets-heavy-metal-thunder lyrics of the song alone as fifteen hundred fans pressed closer to the stage in unison to soak in the moment and fifteen hundred pairs of eyes found Hale and Ford to be the still point of their universe. The rest of Ford’s band joined in as the song swelled to an emotional climax and conclusion which brought forth a roar from the crowd, who realized they had witnessed a memorable and powerful performance and a moment that bridged two generations of hard rocking, Explorer slinging, leather-clad badass women of rock.
The occasion that brought Ford and Hale together is Halestorm’s headlining tour for last year’s Into The Wild Life album. Joining Halestorm on the tour are up and coming Los Angeles rockers Dorothy and Ford and her band, forming a hard rock power triad that represented a legend (Ford), a Grammy winning act (Halestorm) and a band that might be the next big thing in Dorothy.
Dorothy featuring lead singer Dorothy Martin hit the stage first and didn’t disappoint. The band was rated as a new artist to watch by Rolling Stone in 2014 on the strength of their live performances and excellent debut EP and are signed to Jay Z’s Roc Nation record label. Dorothy lived up to the hype live, as the quartet delivered a rim shaking eight song set featuring their own strand of bluesy Zeppelinish rock that left the crowd wanting more. Singer Dorothy Martin looked dressed to kill in all black with shredded nylons and a gigantic silk japanese cape.
She prowled back and forth along the front of the stage, occasionally grinding on her mic stand and swirling her cape theatrically while captivating the crowd with her powerful voice, which could turn from a sultry, sexy purr to wailing, revenge hungry banshee on a dime. The rest of the band was no slouch either, as they provided a tight and thunderous backdrop for Martin’s theatrical swagger. Their full length debut album is due out 6/24, circle that date on your calendar.
Ford is one of rock’s great survivors, and is now in the third period of a career that has spanned forty years. She started her rock career at sixteen years old in 1976 with Joan Jett in the infamous teen band The Runaways, who toured the world and conquered Japan in the late seventies. In the ‘80s Ford became a glam metal icon and sold a million copies of her album Lita.
Ford later took fifteen years off to raise her two sons before returning to music and chronicling her life in the memoir Living Like a Runaway. Ford’s set included a slick cover of Elton John’s “The Bitch is Back,” with Ford telling the crowd before the song that she got permission from Sir Elton himself to perform it. Her set also included the duet with Lzzy Hale and another team up with Hale and Martin for a blitzkrieg romp through The Runaway’s “Cherry Bomb” with Hale, Ford and Martin trading verses and slashing and burning their way through the classic ‘70s girl punk anthem. Ford ended her joyous performance leading a bouncing crowd in a sing along to her bubblegum metal classic“Kiss Me Deadly.”
Soon after Ford’s set was over Halestorm took the stage and delivered a take no prisoners seventeen song set to close out the night. The band seemed fired up from the start, feeding off the energy of a raucous, packed-in-like-sardines New York City crowd and fueled by the fact that they were told before going on stage that their first two albums had reached gold sales status. Early on the band buzz sawed through a frantic performance of their Grammy winning song “Love Bites (So Do I)” which caused the crowd to bounce and throb in unison and the floor of the one hundred and thirty year old building to visibly shake and rumble along with them.
Other highlights from the show included Into The Wild Life standouts “Apocalyptic” which hit the crowd like a bluesy freight train driven by the guitars of Hale and Joe Hottinger, and a a brief Black Sabbath-esque instrumental that segued into a thrashy version of “Mayhem” that featured some cathartic wailing from Hale. Late in the set Martin joined Halestorm on stage for a steamy duet with Lzzy Hale on Willie Dixon’s blues classic “I Just Want to Make Love to You.” Halestorm closed out their set with a shot and a one-two punch.
The band all downed a shot of alcohol before delivering a playful crowd-aided sing along to “Here’s To Us” and then finished off the crowd with a Thin Lizzy-like dual guitar faceoff between Hale and Hottinger that led to a rollicking and earsplitting “I Miss The Misery” that ended the night on a high note and and left the crowd wrung out, exhausted and with only enough energy left to file out into the electric New York City night buzzing about what they had just seen.
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