02 Guildhall Southampton

The southern coastal town of Southampton is the destination for the first night of the Alestorm tour, it’s also the first gig that the “Pirate Metal” band has played in over two years after the pandemic forced them off the road. Early doors despite the freezing cold and dank November conditions; queues of fans form outside with many of them attired in the finest pirate clothing, complete with tri-corn hats. There is even someone dressed as a parrot and a couple sat in a homemade cardboard boat. The excitement and anticipation outside the venue only escalates as the doors open and there are plenty of shouts of “Yaharr”, as the queue slowly filters into the town centre venue.

As well as the headliners there are two great support acts lined up to make sure the party atmosphere continues. Within about 10 minutes of the doors opening The Bootyard Bandits take to the stage and these guys are no strangers to the Alestorm crowd. With the Country/Metal stylings replete with large slices of humour; along with plenty of musical skill, vocalist/guitarist CJ Handsome and his sidekick Joey Bones entertain with some great well-crafted songs. These include opener “M.I.L.F.” and the upbeat rootin’ tootin’ “Hoedown Showdown”.

Pirates and Cowboys seem to mix pretty well together with plenty of Yaharr’s and Yeeharr’s coming from the crowd at the end of each song. The band reminds us that the festive season is almost upon us and roll out with all guns a blazin’ their yuletide offering, “Christmas No 1”. With its annoyingly repetitive lyrics I’m sure you’ll soon be hearing it played on repeat in a supermarket near you sometime soon. “Big Mac” treats the audience to some Heavy Metal banjo with a ‘name that tune’ type of game, where the audience have to guess the classic tunes. For this musically well-educated audience, it is far too easy. The set ends with a right Western banger in the form of “Let’s Rodeo”, where the rhythm section of “Two Puds” on bass and the black-bearded Bamm Bamm on drums deliver percussion you could easily line dance too. The five cowboys tip their hats and take their bows before heading off to the nearest saloon to celebrate their fine nights work.

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Gloryhammer is up next and by the reaction of the crowd, as they take to the stage, they themselves could easily have been headliners. They tonight welcome their new lead vocalist Cypriot Sozos Michael who replaces former singer Thomas Winkler, who only left them earlier this year. The Science Fiction/fantasy-inspired symphonic Power Metal band founded by Alestorm’s Christopher Bowes arrive on stage dressed in various costumes, to represent their respective characters from within their songs. Opening with “The Siege of Dunkeld (In Hoots We Trust)” from the epic album “Legends From Beyond the Galactic Terrorvortex”, all eyes are on the frontman Sozos. Like with any band the change has divided fans opinions, however, witnessing Sozos tonight he shows himself to be a more than capable vocalist and displays himself to be very comfortable within his role.

There is no let-up in their set with track after track being delivered perfectly, with their atmospheric powerful sound easily filling this large venue. Tunes including “Masters of the Galaxy”, “Angus McFife” and the monumental “Hootsforce” are sung right back at the band by the well versed audience. Guitarist Paul Templing, along with bassist James Cartwright put in one hell of a shift; showing their wondrously entertaining musical skills. With last number, the positively galloping “The Unicorn Invasion of Dundee” still ringing in our ears; the band leave the stage with tremendously positive support from the well entertained Southampton crowd.

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Alestorm over the years have gained themselves a huge reputation of being a must-see live band and regardless of what music floats your boat, one cannot fail to be entertained by these guys. Even before they take to the stage, their stage set starts to take shape with an impressive grand curved chrome drum kit, huge inflatable pirate duck, and colourful backdrop. After what seems like forever the band bound onstage, clearly happy to be back doing what they love. Kicking off with “Keelhauled” the frontman displays his gruff pirate vocal; dressed in a vest, tartan kilt and sandals while playing his Keytar. The crowd’s reaction is immediate and the whole place is bouncing into one big pirate party, along with a mass sing-a-long to songs like “Mexico” and “The Sunk’n Norwegian”. During “Nancy the Tavern Wench” the mosh stopped briefly while 50 percent of the crowd sat on the floor and they all start rowing together with a beautiful unison. The band have created a really unique sound that is backed by some heavy metal rhythms; coupled with an electric guitar, along with some synthesizers programmed to make all manner of different sounds to create their own pirate vibe.

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Phil from Australia aka the Beef Guy is welcomed to the stage for a few numbers including a cover of Taio Cruz’s “Hangover” and returns in drag as “Party Gurdy”, to add hilarious mimed vocals for the live debut of the brilliant “Zombies Ate My Pirate Ship”. Just when you thought that you’d had the most fun in a music venue that you have had this year, the band come back to deliver their gargantuan encore. Another mass sing-a-long starts with “Drink” and the wonderful “Pirate Metal Drinking Crew” with a chorus that delivers every time. The final song makes us older members of the audience feel like a child again, the lyrically rude “Fucked With an Anchor” (Mary Whitehouse would have loved it!!) when sung out loud by 1800 people all at once gives you such a rush. It’s a great way of letting off steam after the challenging time everyone has had recently. Wow, what a night with the whole line-up delivering one of the gigs of the year……….if Captain Morgan put on gigs, they would be just like this!!

Treasure Chest Party Quest
The Sunk’n Norwegian
Nancy the Tavern Wench
1741 (The Battle of Cartagena)
Hangover (Taio Cruz cover)
Magnetic North
Wolves of the Sea (Pirates of the Sea cover)
Zombies Ate My Pirate Ship (Live Debut)
Captain Morgan’s Revenge
Shit Boat

Pirate Metal Drinking Crew
Fucked With an Anchor

Into the Terrorvortex of Kor-Virliath
The Siege of Dunkeld (In Hoots We Trust)
The Land of Unicorns
Legendary Enchanted Jetpack (Live debut)
Also sprach Zarathustra (Richard Strauss song)
The Hollywood Hootsman
Masters of the Galaxy
Angus McFife
Universe on Fire
The Unicorn Invasion of Dundee
The National Anthem of Unst (Outro Tape)

Bootyard Bandits
Hoedown Showdown
Country Music
Christmas No.1
Heavy Metal Banjo
Ladies’ Man
Let’s Rodeo



Words & Pictures by David Chinery (Chinners)
Additional Media by Josh Chinery