Alestorm and Guests
@Sub 89 Reading 23/10/2014
Photography By Graham Hilling
Review by Ashlinn Nash
The pirate crew re back on this stop of their swashbuckling journey they are in Reading’s prime venue Sub 89, famed for their wench at the ready tunes that make you want to crack out a bottle of rum in an instant, have three valiant support acts for tonight’s debauchery. Rainbowdragoneyes, Red Rum and Lagerstein and of course the evenings head line act Alestorm.
Without further ado it’s time for some merriment, first up are Rainbowdragoneyes [4/5] who on paper might sound like am audio disaster, but in reality are surprisingly infectious. Opening up with a dance-chip-core sound, the corpse painted one man band is met with a crowd who look almost anxious about the lack of fellow musicians on stage. His sound is somewhere between the soundtrack of fighting dragons with majestic 8-bit trumpets, stomping dance beats and topped off with death metal growls.
It’s not long though before the slowly trickling in crowd start to enjoy the strange sound flavour before them. There is an aura of uncertainty around the frontman until he asks the crowd an obvious ice breaker “do you like video games” before proceeding with his 3D game boy antics.
With slices such as “the rift” which sounds like Nintendo dubstep and other notable wonders such as “Primordial ooze” which is not without some killer electronically created riffs. It would be fair to say that this band have a very old school sound to them, with childhood rekindling in every chord. A thoroughly enjoyable if not unexpected set from the American gamer.
Red Rum [3.5/5] are up next with a full band on board, it’s a visual re-adjustment for the crowd (which has filled out by quite a long way). With music that sits somewhere between Neoclassical Pirate Metal and fairy-tale land infused folk. The crowd lapped up the chance to interact with the band and show them their “claw/hook” instead of the traditional metal horns.
The six piece from the Midlands step up the pace with a heavy rendition of Lord of the Rings famed “Taking the hobbits to Isengard” among other delightful offerings that are as addictively danceable as they are drinkable too. It’s not long before the crowd are thrown by command into a tundra of excitement, whirling its way into a circle pit.
The bands bring with them rhythms that are drenched in a sound that is a combination of Ensiferum, Amon Amarth, and Eluviette influence.
It’s time to say bye to the plush pirates who needless to say may have felt a bit underdressed in compare to the crowd, which had finally filled out the venue completely and just in time for the gigs second to last act.
Lagerstein [4.5/5], the troupe who hail from Australian, have travelled across the seven seas to be here tonight. The outfit who are self-described as being formed in 2010 after a 12 Kings hangover and decided that there weren’t enough drinking bands out there so formed Lagerstein and did something about it!
The band don’t waste too much time with formalities as they get stuck in with the first guitar chords ringing out from band members “The Majestic Beast” and ” Neil Rummy Rackers”. They work in fruitful harmony and start off the bands musical journey packed with story- telling antics, which serve as the backdrop for the beer guzzling.
Highlights of the bands set included a swashbuckling cover of “I’m on boat” that gets everyone familiar with the lonely island masterpiece to sing along, after downing multiple beer bongs of course. Shared with one man band Rainbowdragoneyes and the evening’s headliners Alestorm it’s needless to say that the stage is pretty packed.
The excitement for Alestorm [4/5] has begun to boil as the band are about to kick off with an instrumental sea shanty followed by new found classic: “Walk the plank”. Which kicks off the “First annual Anglo-Irish pie rating festival 2014” according to the set list.
The ‘True Scottish Pirate Metal’ band were welcomed onstage by the packed out crowd. The band who are nearing the end of their nineteen day tour of the British Isles, most bands at this point would be faltering but the crew are roaring to go helped by a power punch of excitement in their bellies to add fire to the hearth.
Working their magic all over the intimate stage, Alestorm show their ability to play to a large and relatively small crowds. Displaying their calibre as musical geniuses and as theatrical master minds. With no stopping except for topping up the dosage of alcohol as the band continue onward on their high energy rampage.
The twenty strong set list has been one killer track after another, with the likes of “drink”, “Nancy the tavern wench”, “wooden leg” and of course the awesome “Wenches and Mead” .It’s fair to say that when final fun filled tracks “Captain Morgan’s revenge” and simply named “Rum” rung out the crowd wouldn’t have asked them to walk the plank in punishment.
The concert tonight has been a fine display of how an intimate stage can really bring out the most excitement in a crowd and the best in a band. Helped, naturally by lashings of beer, plenty of whirlpool worthy circle pits and more antics than a circus. It’s fair to say that Pirate fest 2014 in Reading has been a success.
The band’s latest release Sunset on the Golden age here