Halestorm Lzzy@ Newcastle O2 Academy, April 1 2014

On April Fool’s Day the sensible choice was always a hot date with Halestorm and a packed house proved the people of Newcastle still know their rock.

Hours after Lzzy Hale had tweeted a snap of fog on the Tyne this was a crystal clear statement of intent from a band that continues to evolve with almost indecent haste. 

On only their second headline tour of the UK and Europe, Halestorm are already an assured arena-ready act with the swagger, songs and style to corner the female-fronted hard rock market.

Unsurprisingly, this band doesn’t do downtime. Not for Halestorm a spring break or a holiday by the beach – the decision to shoehorn a tour in between recording sessions for a third full-length album is typical of a quartet unfamiliar with the concept of rest.

Rolling out a second EP of covers to coincide with this latest jaunt was another shrewd move by a band that knows how to work the modern day music business to the max. But commitment to the cause counts for nothing without talent: luckily Lzzy boasts the latter in abundance.

The band’s latest trip to the Toon coincided with Arejay Hale’s (drummer and Lzzy’s little brother) 27th birthday. Hell, there was even a cake. With candles. Perhaps the most charismatic tub thumper since Tommy Lee burst onto the scene 30 years ago, Hale Jnr just about deserved his elongated drum solo.

But let’s face it everything else was way, way better. Lzzy’s on-stage banter is beautifully pitched, her spiky-heeled boots screamed self-assured rock star and her stunning voice cut through the frenzied atmosphere like a knife through butter.

Love Bites (So Do I), a sensational cover of Dio’s Straight Through The Heart, Rock Show and I Get Off jostled for position as the evening’s standout tune. Strangely Halestorm’s gritty version of Daft Punk’s Get Lucky, a highlight of the current covers package, just didn’t cut it live. It was the exception, rather than the rule.

The Hale siblings are a refreshing throwback to commercial rock’s golden age with piano-led power ballad Break In celebrating everything that made 80s MTV so iconic. Lzzy and her keyboard could hold the room all night but a few minutes was enough to convince the Newcastle crowd that they’d witnessed the singer’s transformation from gutsy wannabe to proven performer. The only fools on this April 1 were those who stayed home.

Simon Rushworth