It’s not every day you spend the evening surrounded by those in full fancy dress, complete with disco lights, songs about sea monsters, excessive drinking and regularly stealing people’s possessions – but that is what Alestorm’s Piratefest managed to achieve.
Pirate-folk musicians The Dread Crew of Oddwood opened the show, singing and stomping their way about the stage. As well as being the only acoustic band on this tour, their costumes and instruments serve to make their show a full performance. Whilst vocals were mostly commandeered by the feather-hatted, accordion-wielding Wolfbeard O’Brady, the Cordwain brothers, with a mandolin and whistle, frequently lent their support along with double bass player Smithy Crow and drummer T-Bone.
In contrast, Rumahoy offered their own twist on the traditional pirate image, as each member wore a black balaclava. Consisting of vocalist Captain Yarrface, guitarist Bootsman Walktheplank, bassist Cabinboy Treasurequest and drummer Swashbuckling Pete, the band’s sense of humour is evident in their names as well as from the Captain’s booming voice, such as when he announced that the next song was titled Netflix and Yarr.
Pirate metallers Alestorm made their entrance with an enthusiastic rendition of Keelhauled, and a huge inflatable duck that took centre stage in-between keyboardist Elliot Vernon and drummer Peter Alcorn. Singer Christopher Bowes presented a striking image in his distinct lack of pirate attire: he wore a hat emblazoned with the words OH WOW!, a t-shirt announcing “I got lost in the Gay Dolphin,” a red kilt, a pair of sandals (which should be a crime in itself ), and finally his instrument of choice – a keytar. Completed by guitarist Máté Bodor and bassist Gareth Murdock, it became clear the band’s skill lies in their ability to blend humour with genuine talent. The audience reacted enthusiastically to songs old and new, with the lyrics to Drink shouted long before being played and recent song Mexico giving a party feel to the venue as fans bounced about.
The last song of the night, as Bowes jests, is to tell the crowd “exactly how we feel about each and every one of you!” Fucked With An Anchor definitely isn’t one to sing in front of your mum, but it was greatly appreciated by the crowd. The night closed much as it began – in a wave of energetic singing, many grins on faces, and pirate hats.