Fresh off the back of the 70,000 Tons of Metal cruise, Alestorm return from the open seas and bring with them in tow a veritable bounty of pirate metal to the North East of England.

Tonight the flag of the Jolly Roger flies high above the Northumbria Institute in Newcastle as the venue battens down the hatches and a near capacity crowd, ready their sea legs for Piratefest 2018. This being a triple bill of pirate metal curated by pioneers of the genre Alestorm.

US-based label mates Rumahoy led by Captain Yarrface and his balaclava bedecked crew kick off the proceedings with a set focussing on their new album The Triumph of Piracy. The masked quartet trounce their way through the likes of “Ahoy!”, “The Haitian Slam” and the piratic themed love song “Netflix and Yarr”.

Hailing from Southern California, The Dread Crew of Oddwood bring something a bit different to the proceedings. By their own admittance, the five-piece are not metal, they prefer to label themselves as ‘heavy mahogany’. This seems like a fitting description for a group armed with acoustic instruments that include an accordion, mandolin, ukulele, whistles and an Irish bouzouki. The theatrical band of buccaneers delivers a thoroughly entertaining set of jaunty jigs, sea shanty’s and Celtic tinged folk to the huge crowd present early in the evening.

Alestorm are currently touring in support of their latest album No Grave But The Sea, whilst at the same time marking the 10th anniversary of their groundbreaking record Captain Morgan’s Revenge. The band’s debut long player has recently been remixed, remastered and was re-released via Napalm Records earlier this year.

As Alestorm’s intro tape – the theme tune to the movie “Blazing Sadals” resonates around the room fans dressed in pirate attire eagerly await the band’s arrival positioning themselves in front of a stage set that includes a 7-foot inflatable rubber deck, multiple risers and a drum kit embellished with bottles of spirits.

As the headliners take to the stage they waste no time in showcasing their latest offering, with the anthemic “Mexico” and the metal core tinged “Alestorm” featuring early in the set. During the latter of which keyboard player Elliot Vernon adds texture to the number with heavier screams whilst sharing vocal duties with the group’s kilted keytar rocking frontman Christopher Bowes.

Throughout the course of the show the group delivers the lion’s share of No Grave But The Sea, with six of the ten tracks from the album featuring in the set. This includes numbers like the German drinking song “Bar ünd Imbiss” and the frantic, Matey Bubble Bath inspired “Pegleg Potion”.

Alestorm slows down the proceedings, whether the crowd likes it or not with “Nancy The Tavern Wench”. There’s also room for fan favourites and the occasional cover like Alestorm’s unique take on Taio Cruz’s “Hangover”, a mosh pit inducing rendition of “The Sunk’n Norweigan”, and the battle-themed “1741”. The last mentioned number features some blistering fretwork from the band’s Hungarian guitarist Máté Bodor.

As Alestorm propel themselves towards the end of their main set full-blown carnage ensues as they take the Geordie faithful back to the start of their career with “Captain Morgan’s Revenge” and a fitting finale of “Shipwrecked”, which is executed at breakneck speed. 

Earlier in the day, Newcastle United defeated Manchester United at the nearby St James Park and for Alestorm’s duly deserved three-song encore they rather accurately recreate the atmosphere inside of a football ground with their huge anthems “Drink”, “Wenches and Mead” and “F**ked With An Anchor”. The fans sing so loudly, it is reminiscent of a match day football chant, except rather than on the terraces many of the crowd are sat on the floor in the middle of a circle pit rowing. This is truly a sight to behold.

The theme tune to “Mr Blobby” plays over the house PA and concludes a thoroughly entertaining night on Tyneside. The packed out audience in attendance would certainly agree that pirate metal is here to stay, it’s time for everyone time to get on board (quite literally).

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Event Date: 11-Feb-2018

About The Author

Adam Kennedy is an experienced music photographer based in northeast England. He has been shooting concerts for several years, predominantly with the band Vintage Trouble. In 2013, he was one of their tour photographers, covering the UK and Ireland tour including the headline shows and as opening act for The Who. As an accomplished concert photographer, Adam's work has been featured in print such as, Classic Rock Blues Magazine, Guitarist Magazine, Blues in Britain magazine, broadcast on the MDA Telethon on ABC Television in the US, used in billboard advertising for Renaissance Hotels in the US, and featured online via music blogs such as Uber Rock and Guitar Planet. He is also the official photographer at Newcastle Rock and Blues Club.

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