To be honest I had never really experienced pirate metal before so I was a bit apprehensive about going to Piratefest in Mandela Hall.
However I was pleasantly surprised at how much I really enjoyed the atmosphere, the performances and the music itself. Piratefest is Alestorms tour where they are supported on by Rainbowdragoneyes, Redrum and Lagerstein for some “bacon powered pirate core”.
The show was opened by Rainbowdragoneyes which is actually one guy called Eric from Denver Colorado who informed us he got his music from his Xbox. He made a very energetic entrance and engaged with the audience from the beginning. The hall is not completely full yet but he still gets a great reaction and good participation from the crowd. He’s joined at one point by 2 members of Lagerstein one is sporting a very fashionable tiger onesie (majestic beast) and both members are drinking because apparently it’s a drinking song. He then sang what he said was the party boat song (which I think is called cruise ship terror) by swashbuckle and the crowd loved the cover. Those two Lagerstein members then proceed to enter the crowd and dance with them for the rest of the set. Before Rainbowdragoneyes started I thought that being alone on stage would not make for a gripping performance, but I was wrong the lack of other people did not affect the entertainment factor at all and the crowd and I really enjoyed it. He and his Games console really shined.
Next up were Redrum who were all well dressed for Piratefest. The rather large band made a good entrance to a now growing crowd. The band had a good energy and good dynamic among members. They did engage with the gig goers and received some fist pumping participation. At one point though they asked the crowd to “jump around like lunatics and clap” who unfortunately weren’t as willing or maybe not drunk enough yet, bar a few eager gig goers in the centre who obliged. Most people were however enjoying their performance and cheered eagerly after each number and were very enthusiastic and participated during the last song when Redrum were also joined on stage by 2 members of Lagerstein who must just love the stage.
Now finally Lagerstein get their own turn on stage and the Australian band make a very upbeat entrance and the eager pirate lovers welcomed them excitedly. Their opening number was as upbeat as their entrance and gets the crowd going. Captain Gregaaarrr then introduced the majestic beast and Neil rummy rackers who took off their boots and shoe and filled them with beer to do a “shoey” which was one by Neil rummy rackers. This was just the first of their beer loving ways as during the performance another member did a beer bong. The band made a real effort to interact with the crowd which is now growing in preparation for Alestorm. The band did a “bit” about how warm it was and about the sun being out (I don’t think they knew Northern Ireland very well) and then proceeded to chant “fuck the sun” and the crowd followed leading them in to a number called harpoon the sun. Belfast’s own Gareth Murdock joined the band on stage to perform “On a Boat” from Lonely Island. The crowd went nuts for this. We were then treated to the beer bong song dedicated to their favourite pastime during which Eric (Rainbowdragoneyes) entered the stage with what else but a beer bong for each other band to take partake in. These guys are a really fun loving and entertaining band that everyone seemed to love and for good reason.
The audience is now much larger and well and truly warmed up for Alestorm and when they do enter it’s not hard to tell they have been eagerly awaited and everyone joined in with their immediate opening number. Although Alestorm don’t display as much energy and movement as the likes of Lagerstein their stage presence is still fantastic and they have the crowd enthralled from the start. They did some “bits” and told tales around their songs and the crowd ate it up. The smoke machines and impressive lighting were well thought out and really added to the performance. Alestorm had more of an emphasis on the music, where other bands may have focused on the entertainment and therefore in my opinion had the most impressive music of the night.
It could be said that “we are here to drink your beer” is slogan of sorts of the band so of course the crowd was fired up when they sang Drink. Nancy the tavern wench also went down a storm during which they were joined by the lead singer of Lagerstein singing with them and another member of Lagerstein crowd surfing (majestic beast again). During wooden leg they were joined by Eric from rainbow dragon eyes for some screaming. Wenches and mead which as they put it is about “Bitches and buckfast” required some crowd participation and they got it. Biggest reaction seemed to come during King of Hearts. We were also treated to a song from Gary monkey bastard.
The band exited the stage without warning and the crowd erupted in chants of “one more tune” and of course they obliged with a few more songs. They were joined on stage by Sam from Redrum and the immobilizer from the Lagerstein for “Hangover”. To the crowds delight they also performed Captain Morgan’s revenge which sported the return of the beer bong. This was by far the liveliest and most entertaining number of the night as we were also treated to stage dive from Lead singer of Lagerstein and crowd surfing from mixed members of other bands. In my opinion this would have been a truly epic way to end the night but we were treated to another song before the festivities finished.
This was my first experience of pirate metal and it won’t be my last. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole thing and look forward to other similar performances. Even if this type of music wasn’t your thing there’s no way you couldn’t have enjoyed the show even for the entertainment factor alone! Elizabeth McElroy, GiggingNI.com