Evanescence and Halestorm Bring Female-Fronted Badassery to the Armory


Tuesday night, Evanescence and Halestorm brought full punches to a packed Armory in downtown Minneapolis. As two of the domineering bands in the scene, this was a show rock fans absolutely did not want to miss, as every band on the bill delivered a heavy dose of female-fronted badassery.

Now, I tend to slightly cringe at the phrase “female-fronted”, because at the end of the day, a rock band is a rock band, and the fact that a band is led by a woman shouldn’t make it any more or less appealing. But as a girl who grew up loving a male dominated genre, it was incredible to see two women co-headining a massive US tour together. Both Amy Lee and Lzzy Hale are two of the best in the business. For a girl who didn’t have a ton of female role models in music, they were definitely two that I can point to as being influences. And guess what? The opening act was female as well. Sometimes, you just love to see it.

As I was walking into the show, I was reflecting on the fact that this is my sixth time going to the Armory in the past few months. It’s somehow become my venue. Before the pandemic, I could count on one hand the number of times I had seen a show at the Armory. But it’s almost become a weekly tradition at this point. Which to me, is welcome but weird. I mean, I haven’t even stepped foot back in First Avenue yet. Sometimes things just refashion.

After showing my vax card and snagging my ticket, I grabbed a drink and cozied up to my usual spot – back left side of the rail. Most of the time, I try and get up front like everyone else, but when I’m flying solo, that’s a great place to be. No 6ft tall dudes in my way, plenty of room to feel comfortable. Plus, the sound is great and the view never disappoints.

Lilith Czar kicked off the evening and was an unexpected surprise to myself and likely a handful of other new fans. I didn’t know any of her material before walking into the show, but feel as though I left a new supporter. Her voice was extremely powerful and her presence on stage was absolutely commanding. Decked out in sweet tattoos and tall black boots, her set was short, but she was a lot of fun. She’s definitely encapsulates some of that traditional rock n’ roll energy and I look forward to diving into her discography more after the show.

While Evanescence were the headliners of the evening, Halestorm was the band I think I may have been most excited to see last night. Some of it was nostalgia and some of it was the anticipation of seeing Lzzy Hale live for the first time. She’s really become a rock icon and so well respected in the scene. As the sets were changing over, I couldn’t help but think back to the days I would drive home from high school (circa 2012?) blasting “Love Bites (So Do I)” and “I Miss the Misery” screaming out loud and banging my fist on the steering wheel. Obviously, it’s fun to look back on a memory like that almost ten years later, but it’s a small treat when life comes full circle.

Sure enough, when Halestorm came out I was immediately sucked in. They sounded incredibly tight, and Lzzy Hale’s voice was so powerful. Her screams were so beautifully raw and intense, I found myself mouthing “hell yeah!” all the way from the back whenever she belted out. I really loved seeing them perform live.

Amy Lee of Evanescence also wasted absolutely no time impressing me with her strong stage presence and vocal delivery. She appeared on the stage as a dark silhouette lit up against a vibrant orange and red background, placed high up on a podium hovering above the stage and her bandmates. When the first note dropped, she snapped into mesmerizing action, waving her frayed black dress that covered her arms around like an elegant raven gracefully flying against a night sky.

The crowd erupted throughout the band’s set, but were especially enthused when they played their well known favorites such as, “Going Under”, “Lithium”, “Call Me When You’re Sober”, and “Bring Me to Life”. Lee’s voice has always been so hauntingly beautiful, it was wonderful to hear it live. She glided all over the stage, and shifted between roaming the stage and sitting behind her piano. Before going into “Lithium”, Lee payed homage to the friends and family people have lost throughout the pandemic. “I lost someone close to me, I know many of you have too. Everyone has lost someone during this time. I don’t want to forget them” she reflected.

Reflecting and appreciation were in high supply from the band, as well as acknowledging the long wait for this show. “We’ve waited almost two years for this moment Minneapolis”, Lee shared with the audience, “we’re so excited to be here”. Sure enough, sometimes good things are worth waiting for. And Halestorm and Evanescence were two of those things.