Long John Silver, Jack Sparrow, Spider-Man and that kid from the Goonies, Sloth. They are all here tonight for songs of sailing the seas, drunken revelry, taking over small islands and dying of scurvy. The reason they are here is for those captains of pirate metal, Scottish band Alestorm.
First up is Adelaide band Shadow Realm. Torsha Khan is back after a brief hiatus from the band last year as he leads the band with his falsetto trademark vocals. The band themselves are epic driven metal, like Dio on speed. The technical work by guitarist Matt Gillick is complemented by the powerful rhythm section. The early keyboard issues are masked by the heaviness of the music in what is the bands biggest show to date.
Rumahoy have their style as the four guys appear on stage in balaclava’s to the tune of accordions and drums of seafaring day’s of yore. The larger than life beer swigging vocalist Captain Yarrface sounds like Brian Blessed fronting a metal band. The band though fits the Australian audience perfectly. They’re about drinking and partying as the song Time To Party, a disco rock anthem for the scurvy inflicted, attests.
This is a passionate crowd in the nearly full Gov and they sing the songs with as much merriment as a rum soaked sailor at 1 in the morning. Rumahoy are a good time party band with enough ‘yars’, enough lines with the words sea rhyming with me as well as tales of debauchery to make the Royal Navy blush.
By the time Alestorm arrive on stage, the room of drunken pirates, and Spider-Man let’s not forget, are singing along to the PA blasting out Queen. Nothing gets people more in the spirit that ‘Scaramouch, Scaramouch will you do the Fandango’.
Alestorm though have never being media darlings, they are true spirited rock n’roll. They don’t give a fuck and it shows. First time back in nearly four years, they have keytairs and kilts and start with the the rocking Keelhauled.
The band are more than pirate metal, a crushing heavy groove often flows through their music, complimented by a double bass-drum being pounded to death like a mutineer. The song Mexico is nothing short of a disco song to be fair, however tell that those down at the barrier who jump around.
Whether it’s songs about drinking like The Sunk’n Norwegian or the title track of new album No Grave But The Sea, they do keep the pirate soul alive. It’s not all swashbuckling metal, they do slow down for the ballad Nancy The Tavern Wench. What becomes clear is that it’s punk music, just more the party than the anarchist and this crowd wants to party hard.
The band and crowd have an electric connection. The crowd clap, chant, sing and cheer the bands every move, it’s truly something to behold. The band in return don’t stay restricted to the stage, attempting to get into the crowd and their merry men. Then they bring on some special guests including Rumahoy singer Captain Yarrface for an impromptu happy birthday, a cake then singing Hangover.
Watching an Alestorm show is like going out to sea in an old wooden ship, it’s rocks, it rolls, it’s rides the waves and it needs everyone, band and audience, involved to navigate the high seas back to port safely. Well, if an avenger in Spider-Man is getting his groove on then you will too, so get onboard and prepare for the sail of your life.