Well first of all let me start by simply saying what a line up! Sabaton and Alestorm, a mix of war and pirate themed metal? I think I literally jumped for joy when this got announced. Add into that mix Swedish metalers Bloodbound and that is a recipe for success.
Bloodbound were first up to kick off this gig. Now I hadn’t heard much from these guys prior to the gig, having only heard the odd song by them so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Well gotta say that they were great band to watch. I always get worried when watching I band I don’t expect, but these guys did not disappoint.
Firstly I loved the lead singer coming out with the small devil horns protruding from his head. It was a great little touch to add to the band’s look, especially as they looked professionally done and not like he just blue tacked a couple of thumb tacks up there. In terms of the sound I thought they were a great way to kick things off. They were loud and full of life. Their riffs were catchy and the vocals sounded great. They seemed to receive a good reception to their set which is not an easy thing to do when you can clearly see that near enough everyone had come for the main bands.
I do not envy being the opening band for guys like Sabaton and Alestorm, but these guys took a crowd that were clearly waiting in anticipation for the main acts and got their blood pumping and left them wanting more. Now as far as showmanship there wasn’t a great deal the guys could do with the very limited space they had. It’s not easy to do a lot when the main act brings a tank on stage!
I simply loved the addition of Nosferatu, who during their final song walked on stage with the band as they bowed to the nightmarish legend. He then proceeded to rock out with the band as the crowd went nuts over the band’s new member. All in all I liked these guys, I truly did. They made a great addition to the line-up and frankly some of the nicest bunch of guys you’re likely to meet and are more than happy to greet their fans when they take a wander round the local area.
Next up to bat were pirate metal legends Alestorm. Now being a big fan of the genre and being lucky enough to see them the last time they brought their scurvy ridden selves to London, suffice it to say I was excited. Although what was different between this gig and the previous times I have seen these guys was the lack of the pirate theme to their outfits and stage show. That’s not to say that they didn’t put on a stage show, after all this is Alestorm we’re talking about.
Now some people who don’t know about this tour may think what I just said is either a joke or an exaggeration, but they literally had a 7ft tall inflatable duck. Why? You ask, well why the hell not? There’s something special about the moment when patiently waiting for the changeover to finish between bands and hearing a crowded venue cheer like mad over a giant duck. As for their actual set, well easy enough to say that Alestorm brought out the pirate in everyone even with the tri-cornered hat.
They played some of their absolute classics such as “Sunk’n Norwegian” and “Rum”, but also belted out the new stuff from Sunset On The Golden Age such as the soon to be classic “Drink!”. Let me pause to here to allow the drink chants to rain out. You can see that they did not disappoint and were their usual crazy rowdy selves up on stage. I’ve not seen a crowd go from the mild boredom of waiting for the set up to finish to all out craziness so quickly.
Not many bands can say they rock a keytar but Alestorm are an exception. It’s easy to see why they were co-headliners as opposed to main support. If any band was deserving of a headline spot it’s these drunken scallywags! The only thing I wish would have happened would be what had happened at previous concerts where the guys had thrown the duck into the crowd after their set. I think crowd surfing a giant inflatable duck would be something that would be permanently engraved in my memory. How about some duck love for London next time guys?
Now we come to the guys I was most excited to see and that is the Swedish power metal icons and war history loving legends that are Sabaton. I may be seen as being a bit biased for my review of these guys as I have been a big fan for a few years now, but frankly I don’t need to be biased and I don’t need to exaggerate on how great being part of a Sabaton gig is.
Hell, any band that goes city to city with a tank has got to be worthy of some accolade! I literally felt goosebumps when the camo netting was removed and the tank unveiled. This isn’t just because I myself am a history buff but who doesn’t love a good tank, especially one rocking a drum kit on top? Take me to war on that any day! Now I feel like I may have gone on a bit too much about the whole tank gimmick, just couldn’t resist.
Now for the guys themselves, well where to start? Firstly I know, like many of us who have been in a band with good friends, it’s not all about being a business or just about producing records & making money. It’s about sharing great memories with friends and having a good time. It’s clear to see that these guys are firm friends and that they love to have fun, especially on stage. I think a moment that will stay in my memory would be seeing the guitarist Chris pinch Joakim under the arm and then be chased around the stage by him, only for Joakim to get his own back by grabbing Chris in …. Well lets say a more intimate area that his arm!
Sabaton have an amazing energy that frankly is infectious and just makes you want to jump and shout along with them. They sound just as great up on stage as they do on their albums, which no easy feat to do, especially after nearing the end of a long tour.
With crowd-friendly classics like “Primo Victoria” and “To Hell and Back” to the new favourites such as “Night Witches”, it had a little something for everyone. I think the highlight for me would be hearing some of the songs that haven’t been played live in sometime such as “Midway”. Although we have all come to expect it from a Sabaton gig if you have been to one in person or seen one online, the little argument between the band that happens when “Swedish Pagans” is mentioned. Frankly who cares if they’ve done it before, I love that little back and forth, plus being the first time I’ve gotten to see these firm favourites of mine live it was amazing to hear the crowd chanting the start of the song live and in person.
When it comes to seeing these guys live the only thing I have to say is it will feel like going to a gig with your best mates. Sabaton know just how to get your blood pumping and they give me the impression that they don’t just see us as fans but as family. Well I can hold my hand up high and say I’m proud to be a part of that family and I look forward to the next re-union.