Piratefest tour. Are there any sweeter words to irritate the serious metal crowd and delight the immature metal crowd? As a fan of all things keytar-y and fun, I was most certainly delighted when a four band bill featuring Alestorm, Lagerstein, Red Rum and Rainbowdragoneyes was announced to be touring the UK. Even more so when a stop at the Glasgow Arches was revealed as part of this jaunt.
Opening tonight’s nautical themed debauchery was the artist known as Rainbowdragoneyes, who you may know as the drummer from Swashbuckle (not on the bill). Due to the night starting surprisingly promptly I missed the start of his set but caught the end. I regret missing the start because it seemed like a good time from what I saw. Judging from the comments I overheard as I mentally tossed a coin over a trip to the merch stand or bar, the people who had been in early enough had thoroughly enjoyed his 8 bit performance.
I like to think of myself as well versed in the world of ridiculous metal concepts, but somehow Red Rum has managed to bypass me. Despite being one of the lesser known pirate metal crews on the market, the crowd still eagerly joined in with what they could. I enjoyed them from the start, but was immediately sold on them when they brought out a cover of the internet classic…
You have no idea just how well this works as a folk metal song, we need a proper recording. If you’re at all fond of pirate metal, you’ll enjoy them live.
Next was Australia’s entry in the world of pirate metal. Lagerstein.
5 Things we learned from Lagerstein
1. Not all Australians like the sun, some wish to harpoon it and drown it in the sea
2. They can drink. A lot. They have also mastered drinking rum from shoes and have thus given Glasgow yet another way to get drunk at the weekend
3. Australian pirate metal musicians rapping sounds surprisingly good (see below)
4. You don’t have to be gruff to sing pirate metal (bracing for furious Running Wild fans)
5. They’re stupidly fucking fun
Last but certainly not least, Alestorm took to the stage to close out the Piratefest. By this time the crowd were sufficiently lubricated from the bar (there was no more beer left on tap, no idea how much rum was left but I like to think I helped make a sizeable dent in the supply) and from general sweat from the packed crowd.
When they launched into Walk The Plank from the latest album the crowd became an almighty crush, I think from people pushing in from the sides (it’s an odd venue layout). The crush kept up as the pit struggled to find a home in the sea of crushed and jumping bodies. The energy continued through the show with an almost always open pit area with people jumping around on either side.
Alestorm are always fun in Glasgow, sadly (or not really sadly as it’s a success story) they don’t play as often as they used to as they’re busy questing round the world. If anything that made the crowd more up for nonsense than normal and they lapped up the Gladiator (TV) quotes, participated in a silly amount of walls of death, said “Mead” when Bowes said “Wenches” and enjoyed an obligatory sit down and row pit during Nancy The Tavern Wench.
It’s hard to pick a song of the night but I’d be almost inclined to give to a new song, 1741 (The Battle of Cartagena) just for being gloriously epic. Really though, there wasn’t a lull in the set. A mix of party songs and straight up metal tunes carries us from the early days of Captain Morgan’s Revenge through to Sunset on the Golden Age. A particular highlight was how well the crowd took to the new songs, sometimes the energy dies when new songs appear but people knew the words, and if they didn’t they knew to make piratey noises anyway.
With Rum bringing the night to a close, the front man of Lagerstein appears on the shoulders of someone in the middle of the pit while Chris Bowes, singer of Alestorm, takes the plunge and goes for a crowd surf, telling the crowd to get him to the bar. Whether he made it I have no idea, because that bar was far away. I like to think he did.
They might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but if you’re looking for a band to see just to have a good time, you would be hard pressed to find a better one. A lack of pretention, a lot of fun, a lot of rum and an utter stench of sweat from your clothes the next day; it all spells a good time.
As a quick side note, it’s also pretty cool to see a band evolve. I remember watching them play Ivory Blacks with looks of slight fear in their eyes, now they’re all storming the stage and leaping about. Granted the line-up has changed somewhat since then but the confidence and musical ability increase are both clear to the eyes.