There was many a bemused look from passers-by as a motley crew of cut-throats and blaggards gathered outside The Arches in anticipation of a night of piratical fun. In fact the last time a group of pirates this size was seen in Glasgow it was on a DVD stall at the famous Barras market!
The current Alestorm tour has been billed as ‘Piratefest’ and for the jaunt they have been joined by three able seamen, sorry, supports. First up and on the stage when we entered was the highly entertaining Rainbowdragoneyes. On stage was one slightly deranged guy with death metal face make up and a keyboard pumping out what he describes as ‘extreme chiptune dance metal’.
The songs are lovingly created on GameBoy which really shouldn’t work but with a pumping bassline and a frenetic tune the songs are highly addictive. Mr Dragoneyes himself has a good voice and veers from clear vocals to death metal bellow with ease. His infectious grooves went down a storm with the gathering crowd, it sounds like it shouldn’t work but his unique music is well worth a listen, a good start to the night.
Next up were Red Rum who upped the Pirate ante with a great set of swashbuckling songs. The band filled the stage with a large crew and frontman Dave Everitt led his merry band through a set packed with songs about life on the high seas. Set highlight for me though was when the band headed off into Hobbit territory with a blast through the You Tube favourite ‘Taking The Hobbits To Isengard’ complete with much silly dancing.
The band have some top tunes though with the likes of ‘Make Port Drink Port’ and ‘Rise From The Deep’ which had the Pirates in the crowd waving their cutlasses with gusto. Red Rum proved to be another hit and left the stage to a huge cheer from the crowd.
Lagerstein were next to weigh anchor having sailed the seven seas all the way from Antipodean shores to the Clyde. Again they had brought a large crew led by Captain Gregaarrr on vocals and a man mountain called The Immobilizer on bass. As the band’s name may suggest they are fond of a drink and the set started with a drink-off between two crew members, one drinking from a boot, the other from a shoe.
Playing songs from their album ‘Drink ‘Til We Die’ the band entertained but for me the sound was a bit empty and the set too focused on how much alcohol the band members could consume. During the ‘Beer Bong Song’ said beer bong was taken around the stage whilst each member was introduced and had to take a hit from the bong. It did get a bit wearing as each member took his turn, again the music seemed to be secondary to the drinking. Maybe I am being too critical though as this is Piratefest after all and what is a pirate without his rum?
Alestorm are also quite fond of a drink but when they are on stage the music comes first and boy did they deliver the booty! ‘Walk The Plank’ kicked things off and The Arches was turned into a seething sea of flying bodies. Christopher Bowes took the helm and steered the band in search of ‘The Sunk’n Norwegian’ before uttering the immortal words ‘haw you, geez a beer’ which heralded the start of ‘Drink’.
The set featured many tracks from the band’s excellent new album ‘Sunset On The Golden Age’ which would appear to have sold well as most of the crowd were word perfect when singing along. The Alestorm back catalogue was also well represented and ‘Shipwrecked’ created yet more chaos within the crowd. One thing that sets Alestorm above the other bands on the bill is the guitar work of Dani Evans who was playing like a man possessed. His riffs underpin all songs giving them a metallic edge that the others were lacking, he may be small but he packs a powerful punch.
The songs and the laughs kept flowing with little let up. ‘Nancy The Tavern Wench’, ‘Midget Saw’ and the classic ‘Keelhauled’ hit you broadside whilst the very silly ‘Wooden Leg’ took things to fever pitch. The main set finished with the two things all Pirates need ‘Wenches and Mead’ but the best was yet to come as the band returned to the stage for the epic ‘1741 ( The Battle Of Cartagena)’ from the latest album. A quick blast through ‘Captain Morgan’s Revenge’ and ‘Rum’ finished off a fantastic set from a band who never fail to entertain.
Alestorm are a band who everyone should see at least once purely on entertainment value alone, if you don’t have a smile on your face after witnessing Christopher and the crew live then keelhauling is too good for you!
Review by David Wilson
Photos by Iain Scott
David Randall presents a weekly show on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, Sundays at 22:00 BST (GMT+1, repeated on Mondays and Fridays), when he invites listeners to ‘Assume The Position’. This show was first broadcast on 2 August 2020.
UK Blues Broadcaster of the Year (2020) Pete Feenstra presents his weekly Rock & Blues Show on Tuesday at 19:00 ( BST, GMT+1) as part of a five hour blues rock marathon “Tuesday is Bluesday at GRTR!”. The show is repeated on Wednesdays at 22:00, Fridays at 20:00). This show was first broadcast 4 August 2020.
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