Alestorm with Lagerstein, Red Rum and Rainbowdragoneyes
Review by Melanie Brehaut
Photography by J Hunter Photography
Friday October 17th 2014
Belfast was in the grips of an invasion. Was it soldiers? Body snatchers? Locusts? Nay, ye lusty landlubbers – it be PIRATES!
Yes, the Mandela Hall was the location of Piratefest, a celebration of all things swashbuckling, buccaneering and maraudering. So, if you were looking for some po-faced hipster shite – HA! You were fresh out of luck, ye scurvy dog.
Kicking off proceedings with a cry of “Piratefest! Let me hear a y’arrrr” was Rainbowdragoneyes, consisting of one man and his, er, Xbox 360.
Yep, you read that right. Rainbowdragoneyes, aka Eric Brown, composes music on his games consoles, then sings, death metal-stylee, over them.
It was utterly, preposterously bonkers – not to mention completely incongruous.
As opening acts go, his blend of J-pop, happy hardcore and death metal was certainly a brave choice, but…perhaps aided by the lubrication of many alcohols, the crowd would have been less split? Excellent headbanging though.
Moving swiftly on…you want pirate metal? Red Rum gives you pirate metal, baby!
Epic keyboarding, mandolins, wenches, treasure, the seven seas…right from the word go, Red Rum showed the room just what pirate metal should be.
- Burly vocalist Dave Everitt was a towering presence with some set of pipes on him – the crowd just couldn’t help but sing along to songs such as ‘Elixir of Death’, ‘Rise From the Deep’ and the glorious ‘Make Port Drink Port’, during which the stage was again invaded by Lagerstein, as well as a pogoing Rainbowdragoneyes.
Set highlight was a raucous cover of ‘We’re Taking the Hobbits to Isengard’, during which the crowd went justifiably nuts. So that was the bar set pretty damn high for the rest of the night, then!
Giving it their best shot next was Aussie pirates (eh?) Lagerstein – although, perhaps obviously based on their name, their set revolved more around drinking than pirating.
Hitting the stage with immediate high energy levels, they slammed into numbers such as ‘Slocken the Rum’, ‘Drink Til We Die’ and newie ‘the Land of Bundy’ (short for Bundaberg Rum, from their native Queensland, fact fans).
Although it took awhile for them to really connect with the crowd, the eventually hit their stride a few songs into their set – helped, undoubtedly, by a ‘fill your boots’ drinking contest (euwwwww!) between guitarists!
Apart from a few unneccessary detours into casual misogny (do we really need to know how much you love tits??) and frontman Capt’n Gregaaarrr’s rapidly fading voice, Lagerstein’s set was all good, booze-soaked fun, from opening (drink) to closing (beer bong).
With the build-up complete, it was time for the legendary Alestorm.
Striding onstage to a heroes welcome, they launched into ‘Walk the Plank’ which immediately demonstrated not only how tight they sounded, but the fact that they were the heaviest act on the bill.
A band who have decorated their drumkit with optics obviously have a real love of the ‘demon drink’, as proven by several of their song titles such as ‘Nancy the Tavern Wench’, ‘Wenches and Mead’, ‘Keelhauled’ and the blatant ‘Drink’.
As a result, much drunken fun and debauchery ensued, culminating in a serious amount of beverages consumed on the stage, a visit from vocalist Cap’n Chris Bowes monkey puppet Gary (no that’s not a euphemism) who headbangs (natch), and lyrics such as “a bottle of rum and a yo ho ho” being sung with abandon (yes, really).
Between those antics, as well as a guitarist staring match, Bowes asking the crowd the rather moot question, “who likes silly songs?” and Lagerstein’s The Immobiliser performing a RAP during a cover of ‘Hangover’, this was definitely a gig that got progressively more ‘WTF’ as it went on.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that Alestorm are all mouth and no trousers, however! The music, whilst obviously played in the spirit of fun, revelry and, well, spirits, was surprisingly heavy, as well as tight as a (optic-draped) drum. If you can imagine folk music fed through a ‘heavy metaliser’ and then drenched in rum, that’s Alestorm in a nutshell. Which is brilliant, clearly.
Wrapping up their encore with a rollicking ‘Captain Morgan’s Revenge’ (complete with “best of tour” wall of death, according to Bowes) and final number ‘Rum’, Alestorm exited stage left, spent, sweaty and booze-soaked, leaving the crowd feeling pretty much the same. Yo ho ho, indeed.
And so, the lesson we learned tonight was that, above all, pirate metal is FUN. Seeing the four acts getting along so well (as multiple stage invasions demonstrated) clearly indicated a real sense of tour bromance, which was a nice bonus. Piratefest 2 guys? Whaddya say? Y’arrrrr!!!
Walk the Plank
The Sunk’n Norwegian
Over the Seas
Back Through Time
Nancy the Tavern Wench
Wenches and Mead
1741 (The Battle of Cartanega)
Captain Morgan’s Revenge