Halestorm Rock The Park 2023

Halestorm, by Dan Boshart

The second night of the RBC Rock The Park festival, July 13, 2023, embarked on a thunderous journey through the echelons of heavy rock music. As the night advanced, the music grew more intense and bracing, with an impressive line-up of Default, Halestorm, Papa Roach, and the headliner, Volbeat, each lending their distinctive flavor to the night.

As the evening commenced, Vancouver rockers Default stepped onto the stage. A once-dormant band, they disbanded in 2012, and their appearances have been sporadic since their lead singer Dallas Smith embarked on a successful solo country career. However, on this night, they proved that their resonance in the rock world remains potent. Their set, primarily featuring songs from their first and third albums, was a welcome nostalgia trip for fans. The crowd roared to their rendition of Black Sabbath’s ‘War Pigs’ in the midst of their song ‘Sick & Tired’. However, the pinnacle of their performance was their seminal hit, ‘Wasting My Time’, which drew an effusive response from the crowd.


Next up was Halestorm, whose performance could easily be crowned as the night’s standout. The band, led by the powerhouse vocalist Lzzy Hale, presented a dynamic performance that underlined their readiness for more headlining spots. A show-stopping 12 song set, featuring tracks from their latest album, “Back From The Dead,” as well as a rare gem, “Familiar Taste of Poison,” from their debut album, captivated the audience. The palpable chemistry between Lzzy and guitarist Joe Hottinger, combined with drummer Arejay Hale’s engaging antics, made for a captivating spectacle. Before launching into their final song, ‘The Steeple’, Lzzy expressed her gratitude to London’s FM96 for their support and saluted the crowd as “our people”.

The baton was then passed to California’s alt-rock giants, Papa Roach, who brought forth a wave of high-octane rock music, inspiring the first crowd surfers of the evening. Opening with ‘Kill The Noise’, Jacoby Shaddix’s searing vocals and relentless energy acted as a whirlwind on stage. He conducted the crowd like an orchestra, his hands uplifted, beckoning the audience’s roar to escalate. With a balanced setlist of their timeless hits and new potential anthems, Papa Roach concluded their set with ‘Last Resort’, leaving the audience on a high, craving for more.

The night was crowned by the distinct sound of Danish band, Volbeat. Michael Poulsen’s signature vocals rang out over ‘The Devil’s Bleeding Crown’, setting the tone for the rest of their set. Despite the recent departure of long-time guitarist Rob Caggiano, replaced by Flemming C. Lund, the band demonstrated their prowess. Their unique fusion of metal and rockabilly created an energetic atmosphere, with songs like ‘Lola Montez’ and ‘Die to Live’, the latter featuring unconventional elements like piano and sax. Even without their well-known ‘A Warrior’s Call’, they closed out the night with ‘Still Counting’, leaving the crowd satiated yet yearning for more.

The second night of RBC Rock The Park was a tumultuous journey through heavy rock, a testament to the festival’s reputation as one of the best. Each band, from Default’s nostalgic set to Halestorm’s dynamism, Papa Roach’s high-octane performance, and Volbeat’s distinctive fusion, contributed to an unforgettable night. Despite the evening’s escalating intensity, it was but a tantalizing taste of what the remaining days of the festival had in store.

For more on RBC Rock The Park, visit: rockthepark.ca.

RBC Rock The Park
Harris Park
London, ON
July 12-15, 2023

All photos by Dan Boshart

Rock The Park Thursday 2023

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