‘Pirate metallers’ Alestorm came to the Electric Ballroom in London sailing on the back of new album Sunset for the Golden Age to play a sold out show for 1150 pirates in the capital. Bringing Red Rum, Lagerstein and Rainbowdragoneyes for their own Piratefest we were all set for a night of alcohol soaked pirate themed fun.
A sizeable crowd, most of them in pirate themed attire, were already in attendance for Rainbowdragoneyes. Eric Brown may be the drummer of Swashbuckle, but this project is just bizarre. It may seem silly to call an artist ‘ridiculous’ at an event called Pirate Fest, but when you have an awkward skinny bloke with half assed corpse-paint dancing around and screaming to electronic chip-tune music it’s enough to make you wonder what the hell is going on. It seemed to go down better with the already intoxicated patrons there, but just as many people seemed to be left completely bemused by this downright strange half hour. Red Rum were the best of the support, and decked out in full pirate garb their thrashy brand of pirate metal was a lot of fun as well as being well done. With good songs and a talented band, especially with the use of instruments such as Mandolin, they went down well – especially when going into a metal rendition of They’re taking the hobbits to Isengard which had hundreds of metalheads jumping up and down in a bizarre scene. Hilarious fun from start to finish.
The drunken Australian pirate horde of Lagerstein were all about the boozy on-stage antics, not getting through the first song before the members started challenging each other to drinking contests – from a shoe. And that was the tone of their set, when they weren’t singing songs about drinking (Drink ’til we Die, Down the Hatch, Beer Bong Song) they were doing beer bongs, or for bassist “The Immobilizer” draining cans of strongbow in seconds. In terms of music their style was more Dropkick Murphys with a pirate theme than the full on power metal of Alestorm but the songs were equally ridiculous. Though not blessed with the most gifted of singers in the mediocre “Captain Gregaaarrr” the rest of the band are decent musicians and the songs are crazy enough to get the crowd going, especially when they played probably the most ridiculous song of the night in Lonely Island cover I’m on a Boat. Bonkers.
Alestorm are the pirates we were all there to see however and they put on the performance to win the night. Feeding off the energy of the capacity crowd they were fantastic, covering all four of their albums in a great set. Mixing the epic in the forms of Back Through Time and 1741 (The Battle of Cartagena) and the downright ridiculous in Hangover and Wooden Leg they were not stop fun, with vocalist/keytarist Chris Bowles being the star of the show with his great stage presence and crazy banter. Whether Wooden Leg going out to Heather Mills or Wenches and Mead being a song about sluts and blue WKD, it was always as suitably hilarious and fun as the songs – though he lost a few people when strangely attempting ventriloquism with a plush monkey. The crowd was so into the set and Alestorm put on such a good show with Bowles and co. on the top of their game that each song went down a storm, but the two particular highlights were Keelhauled and Captain Morgan’s Revenge. The cheesy romp of the former had the crowd dancing like the bunch of crazed drunks they were while the latter had a wall of death stretching from the front to the back of the ballroom. They were even done a favour by the Ballroom’s awful sound, it can ruin many a band’s set but they were crystal clear on the night. Overall Alestorm are not just even more fun than they are on the album but they’re also a group of talented musicians who put on one heck of a show. Piratefest was a great idea and a lot of fun however ridiculous it may have been!
Alestorm’s new album Sunset on the Golden Age was released by Napalm Records on August 1st, 2014