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Gig Reports - Alestorm 29/04/09, Alestorm 02/05/09, and Circus' CMOA!
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Old 03 May 2009, 16:57   #1 (permalink)
Shas'O
 
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Default Gig Reports - Alestorm 29/04/09, Alestorm 02/05/09, and Circus' CMOA!

CMOA = Crowning Moment Of Awesome
If you just want to know what the bands were like, scroll down to Part Four and onwards.

Part One - Finding A Map

A few weeks ago I received a text message from a friend based in Peterborough, the city nearest the town where I grew up, asking me if I wished to go and see Alestorm at a club there on the second of May of this year, as a joint celebration of our birthdays (both fourth of May). At this point I had not heard any of Alestorm's stuff, but I had heard good things. I gave her a tentative yes, and set out to purchase their albums.

Captain Morgan's Revenge and Leviathan later and I was hooked on pirate metal. I've been a folk music fan all my life and folk metal was, as I've said, a logical progression from that. But I'll be honest and admit Alestorm's pirate metal was new to me. And I loved it.

A week or so later I got a Facebook message from an individual named Leeds Metal Scene - a profile designed solely to showcase and advertise metal acts performing in Leeds - inviting me to go and see Alestorm in Leeds (where I am at university) on the twenty-ninth of April.

Twice in three days? I couldn't refuse.


Part Two - Assembling the Crew

Doubtless my Peterborough based friends would all be attending the performance there, but I needed to put together my own crew of black-hearted men for this voyage into metal. I started with one half of my best friend duo, Jonny, who wasn't keen before I told him it was also my birthday weekend. He's more of a classic rock man, but I figured he'd be easiest to convince. Then I approached Finch, the other half, who I wasn't sure of whether he'd want to come, but he and a female friend of mine were totally up for it. Another female friend wasn't, and none of us were surprised.

The possibility of not attending in costume wasn't even contemplated.

My final addition to my Leeds based crew was a surprise entry...

Our very own Wargamer.

On MSN I hit him up to see if he wanted to come to Leeds, see Alestorm, stay on my floor and leave the next morning. Amazingly, he agreed! I say agreed, I don't think I could actually have kept him away


Part Three - Preparing the Ship

Wargamer arrived in Leeds from Liverpool by car a few hours after I'd finished having more tattoo work done and about one hour after Why So Serious had gone to bed, having abandoned the chance to speak to Wargy over MSN. We got a takeaway, all my friends who were coming (and one who wasn't - lazy sow) came to my flat and we prepared costumes while watching Family Guy.

Hopefully - if those people I met on the Thursday ever add me on MSN - there'll be a photo of me and Wargy in costume up here soon. Suffice to say that together we looked like a right good crew.


Part Four - The Maiden Voyage

After arriving in town and dancing through the streets singing the Lazytown pirate song we reached our destination and spent a silly amount of time waiting in line... but we passed the threshold and reached the shitty tap beer within, and all vouched to drink from bottles only for the rest of the night.

And now for the stuff you actually want to hear!

Opening Act - Skull Branded Pirates
A local band from Wakefield, Skull Branded Pirates practise pirate metal pretty damn deftly. The stage was deliciously piratey and the band all in costume, along with a helm wheel on the mic stand! The drums were miced phenomenally well, better than Alestorm's own, and they had a great deal of oomph and enthusiasm in their songs. In one song, The Legend of Salty Jim the Lobster King, there was a delightfully Iron Maiden-esque moment where a man emerged from backstage in a giant lobster outfit and duelled with the band! They were a great start to the night, and are very similar to Alestorm themselves so if you can find their music I can heartily recommend it. Wargamer bought a CD, which made it onto my computer.

Support Act - Tyr
I didn't see all of Tyr on Thursday, because I felt the need for the cigarette and their first song... honestly wasn't all that good. A Faroese Viking metal band, they are everything you would expect - however, expecting pirate metal, I think that Skull-Branded Pirates worked the audience up into a pirate-based lust that Tyr then pushed back in preparation for Alestorm. So as a result of this, I decided to go outside and have a cigarette (Wargamer can testify to this, the character of Sircis in Wogama's Eleven [updates forthcoming] really isn't a caricature, I actually smoke that much). Whilst there I met a gentleman in a pirate tshirt who apparently had never heard nor seen Alestorm before, he had been dragged to the gig by a friend who had supplied the tshirt. I asked him what he thought of Tyr and he wasn't a fan, and I then turned to two other gents outside and said:

"I take it you're not fans of Tyr either, as you're outside having a fag?*"
*That's British for "cigarette," Americans.

"Well," one said, "We've been touring with them for three months."

It was the guitarist and bassist of Alestorm, so needless to say I spent a while chatting

By the time I returned inside I'd missed a few songs, and Wargamer and my friend Finch were nowhere to be found. I located the female friend I had convinced to come (who also wasn't a Tyr fan, but loved Skull-Branded Pirates and had never heard Alestorm beyond short extracts from my iPod - she liked what she heard) and asked her what had happened.

"Oh," says she, "Wargy dragged Finch into the pit!"

Finch is the skinniest guy I know, and I thought if he was ever in a mosh pit he would break. It was his first ever metal gig, and his first ever pit. I was kinda terrified for him.

Now the way Rio's in Leeds is set out is you've got the stage, then the floor, then a raised area protected by a railing about waist high off the floor, with about six inches (we're all good at measuring six inches here, aren't we?) of ledge protruding. I hoiked myself up onto the ledge and gripped the railing for support, scanning for them, but they could not be found. So I used my perch to headbang from.

Then the song finish, and they fight their way back through the crowd.

"That was AMAZING!" Finch says. Metalheads, we have a convert

The night went on, and Tyr played a cover of Wild Rover, which was great - featuring me and Wargamer swinging from the railing quaffing, but the main event was yet to come.


Alestorm
Well. They came onstage, soundchecked, and then went off. Me and Finch were dangling off the railing again, ale in hand, awaiting their glory. The lights dimmed.

And this played over the PA.

It kinda ruled, to be honest =P

Then the band come out and begin with Over The Seas. The set was a delightful mix of new and old material, including stuff from the new album, which I think rules and Wargy's not so big a fan of. We got a point and a thumbs-up from the singer on our raised, prominent position at the back but that was the interaction highlight - Wargy was much closer to the front than us, and we didn't see where he was.

We do know, however, that he lost his hat.

The gig finished, and we went outside and I literally chained five cigarettes. Wargamer and I met the lead singer outside, and I excitedly told him that I would be seeing them again in two days. He said he'd remember me.

Wargy and I then went home, got a Subway and put on Star Wars Episode IV. We argued about it, and then eventually we slept - though not before the girl who lives in the room opposite me had bounded in, totally smashed, and sat on my bed and had a chat with us. It was mad, but good.

I've been to a fair few gigs, I think. Not as many as some, perhaps, but they've all ruled. But all things considered, friends, band, atmosphere? That was the best of my life.

But all that was to change, because the greatest tale is still yet to be told.

[hr]

Okay, I'm home this weekend and this means I'm using my dad's computer and this means the keyboard from HELL. And not good Hell. So... I'm taking a break before I develop carpal tunnel syndrome, and the next part, including the most awesome gig I've ever been to, wenches, mead, piracy, an eleven year old boy at a heavy metal gig, drinking copious amounts of vodka and smoking with the lead guitarist from Tyr outside, being addressed as a "****ING LEGEND!" by everyone I know and more, shall follow later this evening, British time.

Til then...

Drink up me hearties, yo ho!
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Crikey! This crazy clown causes commotion like the coming of Christ. Contained in a circle corrupted by crackheads and carnal cravings, he creates no concession to callous cheaters concentrating on nought but cock. Certainly, still a curious and cordial cavalier in the countenance of crazed cads, curs and creeps who condemn courtesy as something corny. No cloud could collapse his crushing crescendo of comical crowing and crimson coiffure. This conjecture on culture comes circumlocutive, consequently...

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Old 03 May 2009, 20:44   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Gig Reports - Alestorm 29/04/09, Alestorm 02/05/09, and Circus' CMOA!

Actually, I was hanging at the back for most of Alestorm... I was going through a pint a song at one point, so I found it easier just to stay at the bar! ;D

I also chatted with some of the Skull Branded Pirates, including the Lobster King himself. I also bought the lead singer of SBP a drink, in honour of how ****ing awesome they are.

It was a damn fine night. I just wish I couldn't have hopped on the bandwagon and joined Circus in the second gig too! ;D
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