There is something special about watching a band grow. We often think that once a band has an album or is touring that that is as good as they will ever be. Halestorm, a band I first saw in 2006, has improved more than any rock fan could have hoped and I thought they were good back then.

As an opener for Alice Cooper at their show Tuesday in Kennewicl, they still had to try and win over much of the crowd. But they were up to the task. By playing songs such as “I Get Off” and “I Miss the Misery,” Halestorm did something the best up and coming bands do: they had people saying, “Hey, I know that song. I had no idea this was that band.” Say hello, instant fandom.

The big songs, the ones you hear on the radio, came early and had an old favorite, “It’s Not You,” mixed in. Before giving the stage to the elder rock statesman Cooper, Halestorm finished with “Here’s to Us,” a song that praises good times, good friends and, perhaps most importantly, the audience.

Of particular note is the growth of drummer Arejay Hale. During the early shows, Halestorm would do a drum circle with all four members getting percussive. For this show, Arejay was given a chance to shine with an extended solo that went from Alex Van Halen quickness to John Bohnam power. He ended by beating the drums with his fists and pulling the crowd in even more than they had been with the vocals of his big sister Lzzy, guitarist Joe Hottinger and bassist Josh Smith.

Halestorm is great to hear on the radio or from their two albums. But like many great rock bands, they are best live. Being there, it’s easy to see how much they enjoy playing rock ‘n’ roll. They’d play even if no one was there, but it’s so much better with a few thousand people rocking along with them.

Read an interview with Halestorm from On magazine by clicking here.

• Backstage Pass is a new blog on covering pop culture from Hollywood to your backyard. T.J. Tranchell, a freelance journalist and Herald-Republic customer service clerk, can be reached at You can visit his horror-themed blog at