On Friday August 5th some of the most kickass women in modern rock and roll made their way to phoenix Arizona and blew the roof off the Arizona Financial Theater. This tour is being co-headlined by Halestorm, and The Pretty Reckless, with supporting acts by The Warning and Lilith Czar. This is the very first all-female-led-tour that I have ever experienced, and it was beyond phenomenal. These women dominated the spotlight for 5 hours and I can tell you right now that there was not a single disappointed fan in that crowd. I had heard of, but never seen Lilith Czar, or The Warning before this date, but they were perfect additions to this tour. The Arizona financial Theater holds about 5,000 people and every seat was almost packed by the time the first band went on.
Lilith Czar (formerly known as Juliet Simms) was the first to perform. The front of the stage had bouquets of flowers and there were even flowers wrapped around her mic stand. Lilith came out on stage dressed in red and black leather. Lilith gives off a dark yet beautiful vibe during her performances. She came out swinging hard with her song “Feed My Chaos”. Her entire set had me feeling like I was teetering on the edge of my own sanity, but in a good way. I felt myself being caught between the urge to give in to my darkest desires and my want to fight like hell to heal. To slip away into myself and let my demons take control was tempting, but Lilith acted as that barrier between them and myself, letting them get close, but not close enough to harm me. Her unique and mellifluous voice was my spirit guide through my unearthly journey. She commanded the stage with grace and power. Her authority was felt from the front to the back of the theater, every person in those seats was under her spell, and they loved every second of it. Every moment was like witnessing the highest of priestesses perform her nightly sermon. I think the flowers that adorned the stage and her mic stand served as a beautiful juxtaposition between the raw ugliness of what we face inside when we listen to music like this, to the beauty of self-discovery and healing that it brings us. I didn’t want this journey to end, but we still had three bands to see. Being that they opened with such a mind-blowing first act I was truly concerned that the rest of the line-up was going to have a hard time following that. but I was wrong…
The next group to hit the stage was a band made up of three sisters from Mexico. I love metal, but what I love even more is metal bands from other countries. It’s fascinating to hear just how alike all our struggles, desires, and dreams really are. No matter where a band is from, whether they’re songs are political, or about dealing with mental health, or about region specific folk lore, etc. I feel like so much of us relate no matter where the music comes from. I think it reinforces the idea that we are not so different after all. That despite these imaginary lines drawn by rich old men to keep us separated, there are still ways to break those boundaries and borders to bring us together. Music has no restraints…you can reach the masses with your message no matter where you’re from.
The Warning, put on one hell of a performance! These sisters rocked the hell out of that place. Every one of them was full of energy and their chemistry was off the charts! I’m sure that being able to live out your rock-and-roll dreams with your closest friends (your siblings), has got to be an amazing feeling. The Warning mostly played songs off their latest album ERROR which is jam packed with political dissidence, and dissatisfaction with the state of our world, but above all, hope for a brighter tomorrow. Every bit of this three piece ensemble was on fire, they interacted with the audience, they danced, they rocked, and they owned the shit out of that stage. Especially, when they played their cover of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman. The crowd was eating out of the palm of their hand after that. If there were people in the crowd that hadn’t heard of The Warning before this show, I feel like they left that theater with another band to add to their favorite playlist!
When The Warning left the stage, and The Pretty Reckless backdrop went up you could feel the buzz in the air. Taylor Momsen has become such a rock icon for so many people out there. Her transformation from little Cindy Lou Who, to Jenny Humphry, to Rock and Roll goddess has been quite a journey over the years and her story has captured the attention of millions of people. When lights in the venue went down the band made their way onto the stage and the into line to “Death By Rock and Roll” started playing, but then started purposely skipping on the final syllable as Momsen made her way out of the shadows dressed in a short black dress and an oversized leather jacket, and the band kicked it onto gear with a cover of Soundgarden’s song “Loud Love”, a tribute to the late Chris Cornell who passed away while on tour with The Pretty Reckless in May of 2017. Momsen has opened up a few times over the past couple years about how Cornell’s death had deeply affected her. This opener was such a great way to keep his memory alive and well. The band played most of their hits that night including “Take Me Down”, “Death by Rock and Roll”, “Make Me Want to Die”, and “Heaven Knows’. On stage Momsen completely embodies what it means to be “Rock and Roll’. The way she commands the stage, the way she sings to the crowd and not just into a mic, she has this intoxicating quality about her that leaves you in awe the entire time she is on stage.
Now onto the main event! Halestorm had a massive set up on stage that consisted of a large metal staircase, with the drum platform sitting at the top in the center. When the curtain dropped each one of them were standing high upon the staircase holding their instruments high, Drummer Arejay Hale was dress in the most dapper neon green suit that I’ve ever seen, and Lzzy Hale was wearing a black leather jacket with thigh-high red leather boots. I could tell from the first moment that we were in for one hell of a ride. If there is one phrase, I could use to describe to describe Lzzy Hale that night it would be: FUCKING POWERHOUSE! Everything about her performance was electric from the moment the first song began. She shredded guitar, she belted her songs flawlessly, her voice was so powerful I couldn’t help but take a step back and appreciate the talent that I was witnessing. They played a lot of their biggest songs that night including “I Get Off’, “Love Bites”, and “I Miss the Misery”. Each song was power packed and perfect.
These women have made it, against all odds. It’s no secret that music, rock and roll especially, is a male dominated field. Nothing makes me happier than seeing women like the ones in this tour thriving in the rock scene, showing the world that they will do what they were put on this earth to do: Rock peoples fucking faces off! I sure hope that I can somehow raise my daughter to be as strong and powerful as the women that graced the stage that night. I want to raise her to be a free thinker who spreads a message of love and healing, who is kind, who is in control of her life and doesn’t listen when people say, “she can’t because she’s a girl”. I want my daughter to grow up to be just like these women…women that are changing the world one rock show at a time. If you get the chance to catch any of these fantastic performers, I can tell you now that it is absolutely worth the cost of a ticket. Go to one of these shows, bring your daughters, show them what it’s like to be a strong figurehead that other women can look up to. Buy that ticket and go witness a new world being born…