November 3, 2015 Halsey Sells Out Webster Hall, NYC 10-22-15
In 2015, the artful singer-songwriter known as Halsey, birth name Ashley Frangipane, has been one which has invoked a massive response. Hailing from Washington Township, NJ, Halsey has been singing and songwriting since age seventeen. Beyond that, she has always had herself wrapped in the arts, doing everything from modeling, to painting, and everything in-between. In 2012, she started her skyrocket to music fame with a late night parody cover of Taylor Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble,” dubbing it the Haylor song and referencing Swift and Harry Styles breakup throughout the song. After posting it on Tumblr that night, Halsey awoke to thousands of reblogs and a plethora of radio and TV stations reaching out. Coming off of this attention, she was noticed by a few smaller labels and producers, thus releasing her debut EP entitled Room 93 in 2014 via Astralwerks. Room 93 rose to crazy success in the charts and among the social network community, enough so to have Halsey sign to Capitol Records subsidiary Astralwerks. Upon signing, Halsey began work on Badlands, a full album, but also so much more, describing it as an artistic experience. Badlands has been accompanied by visual stunning music videos, secret shows, and Badlands experience meetings.
With Badlands peaking in charts internationally, Halsey is out to prove that a female musician can be confident, sexual, honest, and a part of the community that is her fans, showing the world the power of social media and what the new age of music success looks like. At only twenty-one years of age, Halsey is red-hot and kicked off her first ever headlining tour in July and continues to tour to critical and fan acclaim this Fall. With that said, Halsey came to the city of New York on Thursday October 22nd and Friday 23rd for two consecutive sold out shows at Grand Ballroom in Webster Hall with support from Flor. Rounding the corner onto 11th street in New York City for the first of two nights on October 22nd, through the midst of waves of people standing in line, the marquee read Halsey. Walking into the venue, one could see every guest had a sign, t-shirt, blue hair, and rushed in to get as close to the stage as possible to witness the spectacle that was about to unfold.
First on the stage in the sold out venue was the indie act Flor. Originally from Oregon, now residing in Southern California, Flor is a Pop Rock band and was a perfect fit to open the show. In fact, there is a connection between Flor and Halsey, since Bassist/Backing Vocalist Dylan William in fact helped producer her Badlands album. Consisting of William, Zachary Grace (vocals/guitar/keys), McKinley Kitts (guitar/backing vocals), and Kyle Hill (drums), Flor provide a mix of Pop with haunting melodies that was about to hook in this jam-packed crowd.
They kicked things off with the song “Get Behind This” and, like the song suggests, the crowd certainly did get behind the band’s huge sound. Grace’s vocals were a perfectly high-pitched complement to fellow bandmates. The band’s upbeat, fun sound easily translated to the crowd as they bopped and sang along to songs like “Warm Blood,” “Ocean,” and “Gotta Give.” Much like the talented Halsey they were opening for, the audience could definitely see their music plastered all over radio stations nationwide at some point. They winded down there quick opening set with the songs “Back Again,” “Unsaid,” and “Heart,” getting the energy levels through the roof for Halsey. Be sure to arrive early for the rest of this run of shows to check them out.
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Finally the moment everyone at Webster Hall had been waiting for was mere moments away. The vibes of the room were dark and mysterious, yet full of energy and excitement. Enhancing the mood, lights were a low shade of blue, giant screens on the stage showed static noise and a countdown. Having everyone holding their breath, once reaching zero, the lights went off and out onto the stage came the phenomenon that is Halsey.
Starting off the set with “Gasoline,” the new and young talent commanded the massive stage with ease and the style of veterans. The sea of people in front engaged her every movement with cheers and screaming the lyrics back to the point of overpowering Halsey and her band themselves. This carried on throughout the entire set, which included such popular powerhouse songs “ Hold Me Down” and “Castle” early on. Emotionally draining, and only three songs into the performance, there was no question this was going to be an unforgettable evening for Halsey and everyone in attendance.
Taking a breath, she took a moment to speak of how New York City has always been a second home to her growing up and it is such an honor to play a venue she has seen many of her favorites perform in. During this time, she also pointed out her whole family on the balcony there to watch her. She also expressed her appreciation and excitement for all the fans that have helped Badlands become the number two album in the country. Responding with a mass of screams, the audience provided the power of believing in something and what sincere fan support can mean. Furthermore, to see someone such as Halsey attain such a level of success early on in life is impressive, but to still take moments on stage to thank fans, family, and be extremely humbled is heartwarming.
Keeping the energy high Halsey moved along with track after track off Badlands including “Strange Love,” “Haunting,” and another favorite,“Roman Holiday.” Singing affectionately and providing a visual speculate no one could keep their eyes off, Halsey moved about the stage connecting with the audience on a deeper level, rattling out songs like “Control,” “Drive,” and one of the tracks that first turned listeners on, “Ghost.” Projecting a sense of relaxation with her soothing but potent songs, Halsey went into other songs like “Is There Somewhere,” “Colors pt. II,” “Colors,” and the catchy “New Americana” to close out the set. Exiting the stage, a wave of more screams came in the darkness before strobe lights began to flicker and Halsey returned for an epic encore of “Young God.” With a choir of voices coming from the crowd singing along to each word, it was an ear-tingling ending to the first night for Halsey in The Big Apple.
Quite overwhelming to see the rise of a star, towards the end of the set Halsey took another pause to announce that the Badlands tour will be finishing up its run at Madison Square Garden in 2016, and that the presale was already sold out. Naturally, this announcement was mirrored with a thunder of applause and cheers. Halsey continues her tour throughout the US and then internationally before the big finale, most dates are already sold out, but anyone who can pick up tickets, should. Believe in Halsey, it is real.