It’s been a hell of a long time since ALESTORM last graced the Finnish club scene, and it has been long overdue. This Scottish metal band is known for pirate themes, drinking songs, being purely ridiculous, and having some catchy music to boot, so we made sure to make the trip to Nosturi on March 6th, 2019, to see just how bonkers their show would get. Check out the full gallery here.
We managed to get to Nosturi before the end of SKÁLMÖLD‘s set. I’ve seen these guys once before, opening for ELUVETIE back in 2015, and my opinion of them remains much the same: there is some value in their music certainly, but their vocals are just no good and the end result is just aggressively mediocre in the already over-saturated pagan/folk genre. I think they’ll have to switch vocalists or really up their game to ever really change my opinion, though they did put on an energetic show to a rather decent crowd.
ALESTORM took the stage after Frankie Laine‘s theme for Blazing Saddles acted as an introduction. It was nice to see their giant rubber ducky is still joining them on tour. I’ve always known these guys have a flair for the weird, and this is ever-true of their gigs. Apart from the duck, vocalist Christopher Bowes was in his trademark kilt and “I got lost at the Gay Dolphin” shirt (I wonder if he has a lot of them – it looked far too clean and fresh to be worn and washed nightly).
Bowes is very much a crowd pleaser, chatting and making drinking jokes between most songs. After “Over the Seas” he chugged a Lapin Kulta and then asked the crowd who likes drinking beer and who likes putting pizza up their asses. Apparently “The Sunk’n Norwegian” is about drinking beer and shoving pizza straight up into your butt.
They played quite a few party songs throughout the night, including the aforementioned “Keelhauled,” “Mexico,” which is a super gimmicky song that had the whole crowd eating out of their hands, and “Hangover,” their delightful cover of the pop song by Taio Cruz. They had two guests appear mid-set, one whose name was something along the lines of C.J. Hansen (Hanson?), and the other whose name I missed*. The band had played “Drunken Sailor” while this fellow… he didn’t chug, he just poured three beers straight down his throat. I’ve seen Aussies do this before; it’s an impressive feat. They both participated in “Hangover,” dedicated to the alcoholics in the crowd. The beer-chugging Aussie did the rap part, and the other guy rocked out on an acoustic guitar.
Bowes then said that Helsinki is a smelly, smelly place, more like Smellsinki, and don’t you take baths? (Fun fact: no, there are very few bathtubs in Finland – why bathe when you could sauna?). They then said that “Pegleg Potion” is about taking a lovely warm bubbly bath. “Bar ünd Imbiss” followed, supposedly about going to Germany, drinking all the beer, eating all the sausage, and then killing everybody.
They began to wind things down with “Captain Morgan’s Revenge” and “Shipwrecked,” but came back for an encore to play three more songs: “Drink,” “Wolves of the Sea” (a PIRATES OF THE SEA cover), and “Fucked with an Anchor,” which had the whole crowd flipping the bird to the world.
ALESTORM is a pretty goofy band on the whole, and their gig was nothing short of madness. The jokes were silly, the music was fun, and the moshpits were voracious. The crowd was all decked up for the show, with plenty of people in make-up and pirate attire, and the whole crowd was going bananas the whole night. While ALESTORM isn’t exactly my thing, I had a blast at the show, both dancing and moshing, and I was pleased to see that while the pits (and wall of death, yeesh) were pretty wild, they were also friendly and people were definitely helping each other out. Let’s hope then, that it doesn’t take another decade for ALESTORM to return to the Finnish clubs!
Intro: Blazing Saddles
3. Magnetic North
5. Over the Seas
6. The Sunk’n Norwegian
7. No Grave but the Sea
8. Nancy the Tavern Wench
10. 1741 (The Battle of Cartagena)
11. Hangover (Taio Cruz cover)
12. Pegleg Potion
13. Bar ünd Imbiss
14. Captain Morgan’s Revenge
16. Drink (encore)
17. Wolves of the Sea (Pirates of the Sea cover) (encore)
18. Fucked with an Anchor (encore)
* This may have been Captain Gregaaarrr of LAGERSTEIN or Captain Yarrface of RUMAHOY
Written by Bear Wiseman
Photos by Marco Manzi