Live at The House of Blues

Hollywood, CA 09/15/2011

Review and Photos by Travis Baumann

Alestorm hail from Scotland and Northern Ireland. They are a manic Metal Pirate Drinking band.

This either makes immediate sense to you or it doesn't. I hardly think I am capable, as one of the enlightened, to explain it to the heathen portion of you: but in a nutshell, It means there are four crazy guys, whose origins begin somewhere in the northern regions of the UK, and they share the love for three things:

Number 1: Metal

Number 2: Drinking

Number 3: Pirates.

Well maybe Number 2 is number 1, or maybe 3?

Point is: The three go hand in hand.

They opened up the concert with a frenetic pace of guitar, bass, and drums and already we were bobbing our heads... but then the lead singer starts playing the keytar strapped around his neck, which is programmed with accordions, horns, and other Pirate era instruments and sounds. Suddenly the audience was doing a Pirate Jig!

Alestorm was a blast live. From the first song, the audience was surfing over each other and "sailorly" mosh-pitting.

It was definitely a unique show in that there were a good number of fans completely decked out in pirate gear. They had on tri-corner hats with little balls dangling from the edges, fitting facial hair, the whole deal.

Some fans were extravagantly done up, with makeup and everything. At the same time the band themselves dressed very down-play. The lead singer had on long, baggy Hawaiian shorts and a Swashbuckle shirt. For those not in the know, Swashbuckle is the American equivalent of Alestorm and obviously were influenced by them.

I thought it was extremely cool that not only did the band acknowledge those who pay homage to them, but they full-on support them.

Every song was intense and lively, you definitely don't get board at an Alestorm show. They had a real sense of humor about them ,and it brought a smile to my face.

On one song, the lead singer introduced it by saying, " the next song is about two of a pirate's favorite things: wenches and mead. It is called, "Wenches And Mead"".

I convinced several of my friends to come who are not familiar with these guys and by the end of the show they were dancing around with their hands in the air, totally into these guys. I definitely have to say that we all had an awesome time and the band itself is an enabler for good times and that sometimes takes the form of downing more ales than you probably would or should.

The lead singer had an odd charisma about him that conjured other artists, like a cross between Primus' lead singer and Russel Brand, and maybe a touch of Weird Al in appearance (and all this in the sense of his comedic moments too).

Then add to that, a much cooler vibe in terms of pirate persona, and metal musicality. He was pretty impressive as he sung all the vocals while playing complicated keyboard pieces and managed to still gesture and articulate to the crowd as if unburdened by these other tasks.

Their guitarist is a man of slightly larger frame, red of hair and sporting what seemed to be an nine inch beard. He definitely had the vibe going in terms of excellently structured metal songs that always carry this fun pirate energy lying underneath.

Likewise the bassist and drummer held up the moving rhythms that spun the songs into their structure. Their job was so skillfully done that you were not aware of the strength of their involvement until you realized you were moving your head solely to their inclination

This energy made everyone move around and bang their heads and raise their glasses and cheer and dance. It is exactly what we here in Los Angeles need: a way to just loosen up, party, hang out, express ourselves, and really just have an honest good time.

The audience was well and stoked by the time their 45 minutes of Pirate Drinking Metal came to an end and the awesome thing was, that we were somehow ready for more. We got charged up, and proceeded back to the bar to raise yet another glass to some all around awesome dudes that made the night a smiley good time.

I dug Alestorm up until this point, but I have to say that experiencing their live show put them into a whole new category in my music world.

An experience like that is pretty priceless in that you just have such a good time that you want to repeat it immediately.  I would go see them again tomorrow if I could, and while I can't, I can at least listen to the new album with a whole different appreciation of what they are doing. If people didn't dig them before this experience, I bet they will after. I mean, when put in the right context, is there any way not to like Ale, Pirates, and Metal?

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