Live Review: Alestorm & Sabaton – Barrowland, Glasgow 3/3/16

This was always going to be a sloppy, sloppy night. Alestorm in Glasgow alone is normally call for a piss up, but with Sabaton in tow you knew the pints would flow. It’s not the first time this has happened. In 2010 both bands visited Glasgow as part of the World War Tour/Trenches and Mead tour, I was on the barrier for that one and therefore looked forward to being in the middle of the action for this one.

12814449_1320633681296354_1319654426759662490_nAlestorm by now have embraced the full ridiculousness of their situation. I mean they’ve always embraced it, but now it’s almost going overboard (nautical puns are a must). A giant inflatable duck is the centre piece on stage. Glowing red as the intro played out, it’s the most intimidating bath time prop I’ve ever seen. Not that I’ve seen that many live bath props on stage granted. With Chris Bowes being from the East coast, I’m eagerly awaiting the day they bring a giant Singing Kettle prop out (if you happen to read this, Bowes. Do this).

The Barrowlands is a bit of a funny shape, despite having the room for ducks and tanks (which will come), there isn’t much room for a backdrop going up high, which means the full glory of the Alestorm duck backdrop couldn’t be clearly seen.

In a surprising move, they open with Keelhauled and the pints immediately go in the air, or if you’re sensible, were downed and half spilled down an expensive new tshirt. The sound was a slight let down between songs, it was sometimes hard to hear what Bowes was saying, however the keys and so on were easily heard so ultimately it wasn’t the end of the world.

This is the first time I’ve seen them with the new guitar player, Máté Bodor. I was sad when Dani left because I always enjoy the visual of a line up I know, however Bodor knocks it out the park so I’m looking forward to hearing his work on the next album whenever that may be.

It’s a double header tonight so they get a full 90 minutes meaning they can pull longer tunes up like 1741 (The Battle of Cartagena), which is one of my favourite Alestorm songs. It goes without saying that the gig also featured the necessary sit down and row, wall of death (for Captain Morgan’s Revenge and every other opportunity that arose) . Despite being 90 minutes, it was still felt too short when they left the stage and it was time for more pricey pints.

Sabaton and their tank at Bloodstock 2015

Sabaton came next, with the usual build-up of The Final Countdown prior to the start of the show. Then comes The March to War into Ghost Division and it’s all go. Replacing the giant duck is now a fully-fledged tank which raised concerns for potential low roof related head injuries for Hannes.

The most notable thing isn’t the tank though. Instead of their usual camo trousers, they now have camo kilts and blue warpaint on, they are in Scotland after all.

Then came the bouncy Far from the Fame. Bouncy is the word for the full set, songs like Gott Mit Uns, To Hell and Back and the legally required Primo Victoria have the crowd using the springy Barrowland floor to its full potential.

Slower paced songs like Uprising and The Art of War serve for good rest moments, though the crowd still has a lot of energy left even after Alestorm and half a Sabaton set. I for one was knackered but who can resist another visit to the pit when a fast song like Attero Dominatus is in full swing.

Somehow going even faster than Alestorm, the encore comes for Sabaton far too soon. The air raid siren opens for Night Witches which sadly kicks in minus pyro, but I’m fairly sure that would have been against all the laws. A quick jump into Primo Victoria follows before they bring it on home with Metal Crue.

Sabaton is always a good night in Glasgow, with Joakim making mention of the fact. The first time I saw them in Glasgow was 2008 in Ivory Blacks, a half empty Ivory Blacks I should add. It’s pretty cool to see a band going from that to selling out the Garage and then selling out the Barrowlands. Same story for Alestorm, potentially even the same year. Bands going up instead of down is the best.

Now let us hope this tour never happens again, because my wallet can’t handle it, nor can my liver.

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