With many thanks to Kegstand Productions, after 7 months of touring across Europe the mighty and fiery theatrical pirate metal band Lagerstein have docked on home land for a national tour across Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne between the 2nd and 10th of this month. This past Saturday Yah Yah’s opened their band room doors at 8:30pm for the fast-flocking keen punters to gather for a drink before the sets commenced. Many punters had immersed themselves in the spirit of things; arriving in their best pirate attire, with a fair few arriving to the venue earlier than doors.

The night sounded off at 8:40pm with a half hour long set from the powerhouse metal anthems of Demonhead. The corner-situated stage donned a large ‘Lagerstein’ banner, with Demonhead placing a couple of their own banners either side of the stage on the floor area. Fan favourite “Bring On The Doom” saw a line form at the stage’s edge with avid headbangers, as well as spread across the room. People got into the swing of things early, firing up to sing along to the anthemic lyrics “Come on! Bring it on! Bring on the doom”. Guitarists Roo Power, Dave Lowes and bassist Azz Mammoth dramatically tilted their instruments in unison during sections of the track. Lowes would also periodically whip his hair in time with Dean Lewer’s drumming. At one point the band shared a laugh with the crowd over “Frosty” of Espionage having a cheeky drink of Lowes’ beer, to which he commented “looked at this cunt stealing beers and shit!” Other highlights of the set included “The Hunt” which was noted as being “for when you’re really pissed off, and you’re looking at a person smiling thinking ‘fuck you,cunt’” and “No More” which was noted as being about “when you get sucked into a cult and they empty your pockets and turn you into a zombie”. Lowes was no stranger to crowd interactivity; banging his head in kinship with the members of the front row. Their set concluded on a high with a fan (and personal) favourite track “Leprechauns” which sparked up some Irish Jigging amongst the band and crowd alike. The crowd were invited to “bring it forward” for the final performance, to which they happily accepted.

9:30pm saw the renowned local death metallers Hollow World take the stage for a 40 minute set. Vocalist Ben Roberts brought his A-game with his known aggressive and slightly deranged stage antics, including gestures and miming of throat slitting, finger guns simulating shooting himself in the skull, as well as ample backward rolling of his eyes that gave of the vibe of a possessed zombie. This seems fitting given some of their tracks relating to themes of horror; with the video clip for “Wildfire” including a hoard of zombies (marvellous!) Roberts took a moment to note that they were “heavier than everyone else on the line-up, but love to drink just as much; we’re pretty pissed, been drinking all afternoon”. The track “Misery” was humorously introduced to the crowd as being “for everyone in the audience that’s in a happy relationship”, before the crowd were also encouraged to move in forward and “get cosy, have a snuggle”. During the track Roberts stomped fiercely whilst guitarist Theo Goslett and bassist Josh Hynes unitedly thrashed their hair around whilst maintaining technical prowess. The performance also sparked up a “Hey!” chant. Roberts went on to pound his chest during “Patient Zero”, with headbanging breaking out across the stage and room alike. Other set highlights include “Infect, Replace, Disintegrate” and title track “Exanimate” from their debut EP release. Roberts continued to fire up the crowd with repeated episods of stomping, as well as jumping down into the crowd, throttling himself around aimlessly screaming lyrics into the faces of those he connected with. The crowd packed in for a final bout of rowdy activity upon an invitation to “come forward and party for the final song” which was “Valley Of The Ghelgath” from the 2015 EP ‘The Wrath Kept Within”. The livened crowd were also encouraged to “make some noise for Lagerstein” and the set concluded on the note “cheers Yah Yah’s, let’s have a drink!”

10:30pm saw an eagerly awaiting crowd pack in for Brisbane’s beloved folk metal pirateers, Lagerstein to grace the stage for their “one hundred and one-th show this year”. The stage kept a ship wheel front and centre; setting imaginations wild in transformation from stage to ship ‘S.S. Plunderberg’, steered by none other than Captain Gregaaarrr and his crew. Let me tell you my friends, it was time to buckle down for choppy waters! All hands were on deck right from the greeting “Ahoy! Rum Rumetty Rum, Rum!” to the closing track “See My Vest” from The Simpsons (which was played upon conclusion of the set). The lights faded to black as disco ball reflections spun through the room to some introductory violin, before the stage lit up once more to unitedly raised glasses, “Ahoy!”  Jumping was short to follow as the drunken theatrics commenced with “Dreaded Skies” and a crowd needing no coaxing to shout along; particularly to the lyric “Ya-da dadada dah-da-da”. Further delving into the spirit of things the crowd divided into “sides”; with ‘Starboard’ to the left and ‘Port’ on the right (and prompt shouts of allegiance to follow). Immediately after this the crowd ‘joined in the fun’ for “Slocken The Rum” and ‘tickled their tongues’ to “Shiver Me Timbers”. At one point a pirate clad lass from the crowd joined Captain Gregaaarrr onstage for a dance. At another amusing point the crowd began briefly chanting “what a good cunt!” Punters were rarely still as the night carried on; shifting between jumping, jigging and moshing amidst the celebratory chaos over the love of a good drink (not to mention the sing-alongs!)

After “Jungle Juice Journey” the crowd were praised for their energy with it being noted that the band were loving it. It was also noted that there had been a “cheeky line-up change” with a brief and warm introduction to drummer Baron Von Hellmunt and bassist Jimmy Poon Goat. In a comical introduction to “Harpoon The Sun” it was joked that there are “3 things Jimmy hates; lockout laws, AFL and the sun) which was also soon followed by a “fuck the sun!” chant. If it wasn’t already clear enough, this band loves their rum; so much so that they “wrote a whole song about it” and the eager crowd were quick to join them in celebratory moshing with the track “Drink The Rum”. A member of the crowd was welcomed as a guest onto the stage to join in for a solid “Yo Ho-Ho” (or several). Things took an exciting turn when guitarist Neil Rummy Rackers suddenly “disappeared”; calling for the crowd to shout “’Neil!’ On the count of 3” in an effort to bring him back to the stage. Alas it didn’t work and so the quest to find Neil commenced with the track “German Fun Times”. At one point the crowd became linked in arms, slowly swaying side to side with a momentary crowd surfer; sparking to mind the rocking of a boat on steady waters. A climactic circle pit was soon to follow; gaining in speed and momentum until Neil finally reappeared on the shoulders of The Capt’n as he charged through the pit, and back to the stage. The crowd were also treated to a performance of “Sail Ho!” which was noted as being a first occurrence for Melbourne.

The fun didn’t end there folks, in fact it was only just beginning! At another point of the evening the crowd were split into “Port” and “Starboard” once again for a beastly wall of death. With a swig from his duck-shaped jug The Capt’n  in all of his scally-swag addressed the crowd once more to inform them that the pit had sparked too much energy and would need to take it down a notch. Punters simmered down for an amusing break in the set for Ben Roberts to partake in a “sockey” in rebuttal for having previously challenged The Capt’n to a “shoey”. Reminiscing on “year 8 and 9 camps from high school” everyone gathered a seat on the floor (campfire song style) to sway and perhaps sing along to the folky track “Drink ‘Til We Die” noted as being “about a wench”. Mother Junkst, Rummy Rackers and The Capt’n sat amongst the crowd, which suddenly brought about a vibe of the stage having extended outward to the entire band room, with the crowd suddenly being one with the performance. This was truly a highlight and unique concert experience; one that will stick in my mind for some time (dare say I’m not the only one!) It was “all for rum, and rum for all!” with “Fountain Of Rum”, and an ode to the bands “favourite rum” with the track “Land Of Bundy”. The crowd was again addressed for a chat break to thank Yah Yah’s for getting everybody drunk, as well as thanks to Hollow World and Demonhead for supporting; at which point a chant initiated to “bang your head to the Demonhead!” The crowd were also invited along to an after party which would later be followed with an acoustic set being held at the Cherry Bar the following day; with note that there would be pizza, and that the aim was for an all-nighter (these me-hearty’s sure love a party!) The night drew a close in the highest of spirits; with a highlight of “drink!’ chants, punters chugging beer, and an almighty round of beer bong chugging to none other than the “Beer Bong Song” between Captain Gregaaarrr, The Majestic Beast, Neil Rummy Rackers, Baron Von Hellmunt, Jimmy- Poon Goat, Mother Junkst and Jacob, The Fiercest Pirate in all the Caribbean. Neil took a moment to acknowledge that Captain Gregaaarrr is captain to all, and The Capt’n himself declared a final “drink til we die!” before stage diving into the crowd. Punters continued their merry spirits singing along to “See My Vest” as they made their way to the bars, merch stand and exit.

Lagerstein are easy contenders for being the most high-spirited gig atmosphere I have had the privilege of experiencing this year, and one of the most memorable displays of interactivity between band and crowd that I have seen. Truly a treat to round out the final weeks of 2017!