Gig review: SABATON – Glasgow Barrowlands, 3 March 2016

Pirates, tanks and a night to remember! Scotland’s very own Alestorm stopped over in Glasgow and with them came Sweden’s Sabaton and Bloodbound. The Barrowlands was, on the night a venue filled with a mix of Sabaton’s trademark bulletproof vests and a bunch of pirates however it was the band least represented which surprised the most.

Never before have I seen a band open a show in the way Bloodbound did. The band from Sweden brought their own unique blend of power metal reminiscent of Iron Maiden and Judas Priest, they also brought a unique set up with the drum kit of to the side of the stage (Likely due to the size of the stage show Sabaton brought with them) and the members being forced to the front of the stage wasn’t exactly a bad thing. This brought out the bands stage presence along with getting the crowd fully into the show.

Opening with the brilliant Iron Throne was a great choice, allowing the band to demonstrate just what they can do whilst still retaining some of their anthems for later in the set.

This is a band that have a sense of grandeur to their music, something lacking from many modern bands. They drew the crowd in through a collaborative effort of In The Name Of Metal and drove home the set with Nosferatu which went down extremely well.

This set perfectly set up the crowd for the next two bands and everything about this set was near on perfect. Like I said, never before have I experienced a band open a show in this way and major credit has to go to Bloodbound as they set the tone for the evening brilliantly.

Before Alestorm took to the stage it was clear to see how the night was going to go. There was no pirate ship, nothing pirate like at all. There was however a huge rubber duck, a banner with a banana morphing into a duck, a fray bentos pie skin for their drums and bar taps set out in front of their kit with a lot of alcohol. The only hint of pirate was the rum!

I’ll be honest here, this was my first time seeing Alestorm and there is almost nothing that compares to half of the Barrowlands sitting on the floor rowing back and forward on an imaginary boat.

The pits were the biggest I’ve ever experienced at the Barrowlands too. Alestorm took to the stage with their animal themed shirts beginning with Keelhauled. The night began to take a turn, I can pinpoint the moment the crowd really kicked it up a keyboard player Elliot Vernon downed the good part of a bottle of vodka before the band kicked into Shipwrecked followed by Surf Squid Warfare. It was at that exact moment I’m sure Captain Jack Sparrow himself and his jar of dirt flew over my head.

The whole night was madness; something I’m slowly realizing is part of what Alestorm actually are. Their stage presence is second to none, the bravado, the drinking and the showboating really helps the crowd engage and never once did the crowd stand still.

This set list was padded out with a variety of absolutely anthemic songs such as Drink, Rum and of course Hangover the Taoi Cruz cover which made me feel slightly weird inside about enjoying a song originally written by Taoi Cruz.

Alestorm’s night was summed up as they bounced off stage to the theme song for Mr Blobby which poses the question, are they actually insane and should we worry for their health? Answer… probably.

Sabaton came right in with an impact, changing the tone up from well.. Pirates, rum and rubber ducks. They announced themselves as masters of suspense through their introduction to their show.

Pitch black apart from two blinding lights on stage at eye level to us at barrier. It felt like forever this was dragged out before the sound of an engine kicked in and not too much later light flooded back into the ballroom and there it was. A tank. Sabaton had a tank. Yes a stage prop, but nonetheless they had a tank! Atop the tank between two massive mounted machine guns was Hannes Van Dahl perched in prime position on his drum kit to begin the onslaught.

I would love to say I sat back and took Sabaton in for all they are, somewhere at the back looking on in awe but no. Sadly there I was, front and center, mashed into the barriers. Nonetheless though, that did not take away from the sheer power of Sabaton.

I could barely contain myself when I heard the first I got the first notion they were taking to the stage with The March to War which fell straight into Ghost Division much to my delight.

Now, along with a tank Sabaton also decorated themselves with typical Braveheart face paint, a good touch especially matched with the kilts! This set was littered with songs from Heroes era however still included some older songs.

This night absolutely blew me away, both the diversity and skill each band had shown on the night was ridiculous. Every band I would 100% recommend as a must see band. This safely places itself in one of my top gigs and it was certainly a night which took a while to recover from! Even this won’t stop me from buying my ticket again the second any of these bands get announced for anywhere in reasonable distance.

Review by Dillon Grant


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Power Plays w/c 24 June (Mon-Fri)

GUMSHOE When Things Started To Ignite (indie)
THE NEW ROSES Heartache (Napalm Records)
EMPYRE New Republic (indie)
PISTON Leave If You Dare (indie)
SPREAD EAGLE Sound Of Speed (Frontiers)

Featured Albums w/c 24 June (Mon-Fri)

09:00-12:00 FORTUNE II (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 BARBE-Q-BARBIES Borrowed Time (Dissonance)
14:00-16:00 HEATHER FINDLAY Wild Horses (Black Sand Records)

Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)

ELEANOR McEVOY I’d Rather Go Blonde (2010)



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