This was always going to be a good night. A nice, small venue and three bands known for their sense of humour and musical talent. Oh, wait… four bands. I had no idea that Glasgow would be featuring Viking Galaxy in addition to the three bands who’d played Bannermans in Edinburgh the night before. Bonus! It’s also why we have no pics of the band, as our photographer was at the first of the two nights. Apologies to our Viking brethren.
When the tour was first announced, I was interested as I’d seen Lagerstein supporting Alestorm at the late, lamented Arches a couple of years back. When I found out Red Rum (also on that earlier tour) were the main support – even better. They were the only band I’d wanted to see at Bloodstock this year that I missed. Their set was completely eclipsed slot-wise by Hatebreed, the only band of the weekend I wasn’t going to miss a second of. So this second chance was one I wasn’t going to miss.
Openers Mantis Toboggan were first brought to my attention opening for Psychostick last year. At the time I wasn’t sure what to make of them. I guess I was expecting another madcap band on the bill and as a result they fell a little flat. Tonight, though, knowing the band a little better I let the music do the talking and was far more impressed than with my previous encounter. The sound was a little mushy for the first two tracks, but once the sound dude had found his levels, the remainder of the set was spot on.
Mantis Toboggan play stoner rock, and a damn fuzzy, heavy version of it but still with a sense of humour as evidenced by tracks like “Spaceman Spiff” and the ever-present reading from “The Book of Arnult”. The standout song for me, though, was the closer, “Desert Sun”, based on the events of TV’s Breaking Bad. With the opening riff being first presented in “na-na-na” vocal form by all band members, when it kicks in properly it seem even more heavy than it already is. A brilliant end to a great set.
Gary saw them perform in Edinburgh and said to them afterwards that if they were the band he’d been there to watch, he’d have gone home happy. I can second that. Technical / sound issues aside, this was a superb performance and I await announcing forthcoming news from the band that I don’t know if I can tell you about yet!
Surprise (to me) additions Viking Galaxy can best be summed up as Gloryhammer with pointy helmets. Power metal through and through – from music to stance – they were great fun and shared a sense of humour with the better known (though far younger) aforementioned Chris Bowes project. Again, sound wasn’t the strong point of the set so sadly I missed out on many of the lyrics which I’m sure would have added to their performance, and the guitar was buried for the majority of their half hour. I gather they had an amp issue earlier in the day and were running with a spare which may not have helped.
A shame, and they powered (!) through nonetheless with some great audience appreciation as well as top tunes. What I can say is that despite not being able to enjoy the songs as much as I could have, they left me wanting more which must the what all bands aim for at the end of a show.
A swift set change and neoclassical pirate metal group Red Rum appeared once more in front of a Glasgow stage. I’d forgotten how damn heavy the band are when you hear them live! Fronted by the beast that is Dave Everitt, they pounded through forty minutes or so with many audience members dancing jigs, raising flagons and punching the air.
Highlights were “Make Port, Drink Port” (the first song by the band I ever heard) and their now-famous version of the “Taking the Hobbits to Isengard” which had the entire audience bouncing (after starting off the song Hobbit-small). Despite the bouzouki malfunction which took some of the uniqueness out of a couple of solos, the band played an absolute stormer of a set and proved once more that they could be headlining a tour of their own with some more material behind them.
All the way from Australia, and on the road for six months, Lagerstein exploded onto the stage – filling it to bursting point with their seven members. Not holding back in terms of volume, attitude, alcohol or profanity they ploughed into the audience without heed for anything other than their own debauchery… as it should be for a foul pirate crew. By the third track they were already downing beer from their own footwear (whether tipping it down their gullets or sucking it through a leaky heel) and receiving rapturous cheers from the crowd for doing so.
Lagerstein know how to play a crowd and they’re perfect for a venue this size. Some of their “activities” would struggle in a larger venue, such as the sit-down-campfire, but “find the missing guitarist” and the wall of death would work anywhere. Couple all of this with their great, catchy riffage and you’ve got some top entertainment. I mean, I’m a miserable bastard and even I was dancing arm-in-arm with my Moshville Times colleagues before the end of the show.
Before tonight’s performance, there were four bands I kind of knew or didn’t know at all; heard of, but not a massive fan so far as knowing all of their songs. I left wanting to go online and listen to more by every one of them. Every band couldn’t just play good songs, but knew how to entertain.
Mantis Toboggan raised a grin alongside an otherwise gritty sound. Viking Galaxy posed, preened and wove wonderful tales. Red Rum made you part of their crew on a voyage while Lagerstein hosted the party afterwards. This was a great night out and anyone forking out the pittance of an entry charge will have felt like they got ridiculous value for money. There are still seven or eight dates left on the tour – get yourself along for a night you’ll be smiling about for ages afterwards.
Photos by Gary Cooper