Alestorm makes port in Chicago
Music is not labeled as Pirate Metal very often, but Alestorm has adopted, and possibly invented that moniker. If you haven’t heard Alestorm before, they sound like someone squeezed something heavy, like thrash meets metal and 80s synth rock, tossed in some Scottish influence, a piratical theme and stuffed them into a pair of tight jeans. In the end, they come out looking (and sounding) amazing. According to them, they are classified as Bacon Powered Pirate Core. Equally epic!
The band is fronted by Christopher Bowes-lead vocalist/ keytarist, Dani Evans on guitars, Gareth Murdock on Bass, Elliot Vernon backing keyboards and Pete Alcorn on the drums.
It’s been some a little over a year, November 4, 2012 to be exact, since Alestorm has made their way to Chicago when they played Mojoes in Joliet, IL. One of the main reasons is they hail from Scotland, so the trip overseas isn’t as easy as someone crossing the States. The last time Alestorm graced the States they were an opening for Insomnium and Epica. Their set that tour was only 5 songs which is hardly a good enough sampling to really understand what Alestorm is all about.
Fast forward a year and Alestorm is on their first headlining tour of the North America. Supporting the scurvy crew is TrollfesT, who hail from Norway, playing a mix of ska, metal, thrash and anything else you want to throw in there, and Gypsyhawk.
I’ve never had the opportunity to see Alestorm live. Other than viewing miscellaneous YouTube videos of them, I didn’t fully know what to expect. Upon arriving to the show, I thought I was in some kind of a Jimmy Buffet twilight zone, but more metal and less I’m-part-of-the-cool-crowd. People were dressed up as pirates, maidens, wenches and even a chicken.
Prior to jumping on stage, the guys in Alestorm were in the crowd, singing along and throwing up the horns for their openers. Once they hit the stage, their energy was evident and didn’t stop until Bowes was crowd surfed to the bar and back (at his request).
So many bands nowadays seem to go through the motions or don’t really interact with the crowd. Not these guys. Everyone was interacting with crowd, mugging for camera phones, bumping fists with people, and wearing awesome pirate hats which were thrown on stage. One fan, named on Facebook as Macabre Dave, hopped on the stage during the song Midget Saw, grabbed the mic at stage right and belted out the lyrics with Bowes. Everyone kept playing right along, not missing a step, and Dave took himself back to the crowd after a verse and chorus, allowing the band to carry on.
The Quest was the opening track, followed directly by The Sunk’n Norwegian and Leviathan. People who are somewhat familiar with the band might recognize the next track, Shipwrecked, which was made into a video, complete with scantily dressed wenches on a beach, and a midget playing a violin.
The most recent album of new material by Alestorm, Back Through Time, was released in 2011 (Live at the End of the World is a live album, released this year) so a new album was bound to happen. Bowes revealed to the audience that there is a new album in the works, slated for a 2014 release. We were treated to a new song from their upcoming new album, titled ‘Surf Squid Warfare’. It’s certainly an Alestorm song, and had the feel of one of their earlier songs, Black Sails at Midnight.
Throughout the show, the mosh pit was active, but not always violent. During Nancy the Tavern Wench, fellow moshers were wrapping their arms over one another’s shoulders. Other times, Bowes was inciting the crowd to step it up a notch, and at one time, divided the crowd in two, requesting both sides to meet in the middle “When I fucking say go”.
Begrudgingly, the band transitioned into one of their newer covers, In the Navy. Unfortunately, they did not play their other cover, Wolves of the Sea. If you aren’t sure what the original sounds like, YouTube it. You won’t be disappointed.
As the show moved forward, the band kept the energy level up, the liquor flowing and the tunes louder, up until their first encore. The band emerged to finish with Set Sail and Conquer, followed by one of my favorites, Captain Morgan’s Revenge.
Run closed out the set with Bowes yelling to the crowd “TAKE ME TO THE BAR” as he surfed his way through the crowd to get a beer, then surfed back onto the stage.
View photos of the show HERE on LRI
The full setlist is as follows:
The Sunk’n Norwegian
Wenches & Mead
Surf Squid Warfare
Nancy the Tavern Wench
Back Through TimeIn the Navy
(Village People cover)
Death Throes of the Terrorsquid
Set Sail and Conquer
(With added stuff in the middle)
Captain Morgan’s Revenge