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ShinedownParadiso 2012 007Paradiso, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
6th February 2012
Shinedown, Halestorm, Liberty Lies

Although I could hardly imagine the concert would be sold out on a Monday night, there was a big line outside the venue. Listening to the buzz of fans around me, I learned that some of them didn’t come to see headliner SHINEDOWN, but drove all the way specifically for HALESTORM. After freezing my toes off for about 45 minutes I finally made it in, trying to quickly get the feeling back in my hands to start photographing.

Liberty Lies

LIBERTY LIES is a young hard rock band formed in Wednesbury, West Midlands. The band started out in 2008 and has released one EP and one single up till now. A line-up change at the start of 2011 brought quite change to the band’s style. Their classic / blues rock has matured into heavy melodic hard rock. The band has shared the stage already with bands like MAGNUM, GUN, SKIN, HEAVEN’s BASEMENT, JETTBLACK, BLACK SPIDERS and many more. Recently, HALESTORM and SHINEDOWN can be added to their list. LIBERTY LIES is Shaun Richards (lead vocals), Josh Pritchett (lead guitar), Adam Stevens (drums, percussion and backing vocals), Matt Nickless (guitar and backing vocals) and Adam Howell (bass guitar). /

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Music & Performance
By the time I got in, LIBERTY LIES had just started their show. With hardly any space left on stage, LIBERTY LIES managed pretty well on building an energetic performance. Despite their young looks, they have a solid and adult sound, especially singer Shaun who has a great voice. The band amongst others plays their latest single 'Confessions of an Effigy'. Meanwhile, Paradiso slowly fills up with more and more people. Looking at the abundance of SHINEDOWN T-shirts it’s clear what their reason for being here tonight is, although I do hear a lot of people talking about HALESTORM too. LIBERTY LIES gets an encouraging response from the audience and by the end of their set, a well-earned applause. I am very curious where this band will stand in a couple of years!

Music: 8
Performance: 7
Sound: 7
Light: 5
Total: 6.8 / 10

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HALESTORM was formed by sister and brother Lzzy and Arejay Hale in 1998 when they were in high school. They immediately began playing local shows and gathered a following across Pennsylvania. HALESTORM’s line-up was completed with the addition of guitarist Joe Hottinger and bassist Josh Smith. When HALESTORM began actively looking for labels in 2005 it did not take long before the deal was sealed with label Atlantic Records. They released a live EP ‘One and Done’ and hit the road again to start touring with bands like SHINEDOWN, SEETHER and FLYLEAF. Up next was their self-titled debut album in 2009, and their first single ‘I Get Off’ blending “a sexy hook with a rough and tumble groove”. Singer Lzzy describes the band’s sound as powerful rock 'n 'roll: “We have a lot of classic rock influences, but the music never feels dated. It's got an old school feeling with a modern edge".

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While working on their next album, HALESTORM also released a cover EP in 2011 with covers from LADY GAGA, GUNS ’N ROSES and THE BEATLES (‘ReAniMate:The CoVeRs’). At the start of 2012, the band also released another EP with a couple of new songs (‘Hello, It's Mz Hyde’). Their next album called ‘The strange case of…’ is set to be released in April this year. HALESTORM is Lzzy Hale (lead vocals, rhythm guitar and keyboard), Arejay Hale (drums, percussion, backing vocals), Joe Hottinger (lead guitar, backing vocals) and Josh Smith (bass guitar, backing vocals). /

Music & Performance
HALESTORM takes off with a song from their latest EP ‘Love Bites (and so do I)’ and the crowd instantly goes crazy, although I’m not sure if this has to do with the music or the sexy outfit Lzzy wears. Her brother Arejay also took an effort in dressing up, entering the stage with an impressive glitter-skull mask (of which I unfortunately couldn’t get a proper photo). Paradiso is pretty crowded by now and a lot of people are clearly familiar with HALESTORM’s music. Their next song ‘It’s not you’ is loudly sung along by the audience and HALESTORM visibly enjoys this. Just one remark for the band: please skip telling the audience they’re “the best you’ve ever had” from your book of stage one-liners. After a couple of songs, a few guys in front finally gave up trying to photograph under Lzzy's short skirt and the band really got going.

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Overall sound was great, although the balance of the backing vocals were at times a bit off. About halfway their set, the band members leave the stage and Lzzy shows her incredible voice in a solo flowing into the song ‘Familiar Taste of Poison’. This is one of the only slow songs in their repertoire and it has a great dark atmosphere to it. Up next, her brother Arejay takes the stage with an entertaining drum solo, ending in half-smashing up his drum kit. HALESTORM hardly gives the audience any time to recover as they continue with more guitars, mad drums and Lzzy’s hard-to-miss stage performance. Lzzy is a very charismatic front woman, she doesn’t give a damn when she’s rocking the stage playing her guitar but can be very sensual and feminine at the same time during other songs. HALESTORM plays a selection of songs from their self-titled album, but also treats the audience to the Skid Row cover ‘Slave to the Grind’. Love that one! Furthermore HALESTORM plays a brand new song from their upcoming album ‘The Strange Case Of …’ called ‘Freak Like Me’. I’m definitely looking forward to their album release and I think it’s about time this band starts headlining shows.

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Setlist (random order & incomplete)
Love Bites (so Do I)
It’s not You
Dirty Work
American Boys
Familiar Taste of Poison
Slave to the Grind
Freak Like Me
I get Off

Music: 8
Performance: 8
Sound: 8
Light: 6
Total: 7.5 / 10

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SHINEDOWN is an American rock band from Jacksonville, Florida, formed in 2001 and founded by members Brent Smith, Brad Stewart, Jasin Todd and Barry Kerch. A few line-up changes followed, and the band's current line-up consists of Smith and Kerch, the band's only two remaining original members, with guitarist Zach Myers and bassist and pianist Eric Bass. Since SHINEDOWN’s inception, they have released three albums - ‘Leave a Whisper’ (2003), ‘Us and Them’ (2005), ‘The Sound of Madness’ (2008) - and a total of thirteen singles, all on Atlantic Records. They have sold over eight million albums worldwide. SHINEDOWN is Brent Smith (lead vocals), Barry Kerch (drums, percussion), Zach Myers (guitar, backing vocals) and Eric Bass (bass guitar, piano, backing vocals). /

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Music & Performance
SHINEDOWN is running late on the planned schedule, but when they hit the stage, PARADISO gives them a warm welcome. The band doesn’t need a warm up at all as they kick off their show with ‘The Sound of Madness’. Energetic, loud and in-your-face-rock that you cannot turn away from. Singer Brent draws the attention towards him, standing on his riser looking, staring and pointing around him and above. A bit too “Americano” and melodramatic in my personal opinion, but it definitely fits their style of vivacious and energetic hard rock. After a couple of songs from their old and more recent CDs the band presents the audience with the title song from their upcoming CD ‘Amarylis’. After three songs, I had to hand in my camera at the wardrobe and got up the balcony to further enjoy the show. Paradiso is a former church and has a relatively small stage with two floors of balcony all around so the view was great. From the back though, it seemed even clearer that sometimes Brent’s vocals were badly balanced and could at times hardly be heard at all.

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Singer Brent doesn’t only have a great voice, he’s also pretty capable of entertaining the audience with his strong stories and flattering compliments (that would fit the category ‘cheesy’ easily though…). SHINEDOWN’s show never has a dull moment, and each band member on stage adds to that. After only an hour or so, the band already finishes the show. Fortunately, they return soon after for some more. Brent even takes the time to hug a fan before he starts the encore with ‘Bully’, followed by ‘Simple Man’ and ‘Second Chance’. SHINEDOWN finishes with ‘Fly from the Inside’ from their debut album. I guess SHINEDOWN is used to playing in really big venues, but that didn’t stop them from playing a wicked energetic show at the relatively small Paradiso venue. Judging by the amount of cheers from the audience, I think we can conclude that everybody had a good time this Monday evening; personally I can hardly think of a better way to start the week!

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Setlist (incomplete)
Sound Of Madness
If You Only Knew
Cyanide Sweet Tooth Suicide
Save Me
The Crow and The Butterfly
Diamond Eyes (Boom-Lay Boom-Lay Boom)
Simple Man (Lynyrd Skynyrd cover)
Second Chance
Fly From The Inside

Music: 9
Performance: 9
Sound: 8
Light: 8
Total: 8.5 / 10

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All pics by Ruth Mampuys (

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