Live at The Whisky a Go Go
West Hollywood, CA
October 22nd, 2016
Review and photos by Travis Baumann
Alestorm have ridden the waves of the high seas to return to the shores of North America (well, they probably flew but there is no fun pirate play on words in that).
Hailing from Scotland and completely awash in high octane booze, this Heavy Metal act is all about one thing, Pirates. OK, two things, Drinking And Pirates. Looking at the stage setup this tour, they are actually about three things; Drinking, Pirates, and Ducks (???).
Wait, why are there two giant duck heads on their Alestorm banner? And why is there a giant inflatable duck on stage with them?
Regardless of the stage fowl, Alestorm return with their signature brand of "True Scottish Pirate Metal" in response to the dozens of "Artificial and/or Half-assed Pirate Metal" bands that keep popping up (editorial note, there are only three other Pirate Metal bands we have encountered, but it is true that none of them are as "good" as Alestorm).
Since the band's inception, Christopher Bowes has been handling the keytar as well as singing all the Pirate themed songs. Accompanying him is Gareth Murdock on bass guitar, Peter Alcorn on drums, Elliot Vernon on keyboards and fairly recent addition of Máté Bodor on guitar. Most of the other guys in the band join in for chorus sections to bring the "boat full of buccaneers" vibe (what's a yo-ho-ho without a few mates?).
They opened the set with one of their classic songs, "Keelhauled". The Pirate themed anthems kept flowing with "Over the Seas" followed by "Magnetic North".
Chris' manic facial expressions lending to the good natured Pirate vibe, but the mosh pit was anything but. Another favorite that put Alestorm on the Pirate map, "Shipwrecked", had the audience shouting the chorus with the band.
Hitting upon their booze based tunes, "Mead From Hell" and "Nancy the Tavern Wench" came up in rapid secession, prompting beers to disappear in like fashion.
They played "Wolves of the Sea" which is apparently a "Pirates of the Sea" cover song. The keyboard sections of their music often have an accordion type sound to give that extra "sea-shanty" Pirate vibe, but also add a nice buoyancy to the music.
Two more fan favorites in a row coming with "Walk the Plank" and the resounding chorus of "One More Drink!" coming from "The Sunk'n Norwegian", encouraged exactly that. They played "Mexico" followed by their super sophisticated and completely out of character, "Wenches & Mead".
Just in case you had not gotten what they are all about this far in to the set, they finished up with "Drink". The band left the stage and we were left staring at a giant inflatable duck. The audience began chanting "Alestorm" and soon (or later, after they slammed some booze back stage I am guessing), the band returned to their places around the giant duck and gave us an encore.
They did "1741 (The Battle of Cartagena)" which actually comes off as a rather serious Pirate song, but then they brought it immediately back to the comedic drinking with the Taio Cruz cover, "Hangover". Serving up a dose of their debut album, they did the title track, "Captain Morgan's Revenge" to sum it all up.
Alestorm are always a good time. I love seeing these guys live and will do so every time they tour. They had an especially fun show this time around as they were on the "Super Smashed Turbo Tour" with Nekrogoblikon who are also pretty fun to see live.
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