Photography: Brandon Shields
Words: Sera Long
It was a warm Monday evening in Brisbane when The Triffid began to fill with pirates. Why pirates, you say? These swashbuckling punters weren’t just here to drink the bar area dry, no; they were here for the rum-filled, sea-shanty mosh-inducing Alestorm. After announcing their massive world-wide tour, fans were sent into a frenzy. With Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane quickly selling tickets, Alestorm were welcomed with opened (slightly intoxicated) arms. Along for the voyage through Australia was the mighty Rumahoy! From North Carolina, as well as Brisbane’s very own powerfolk band called Dragonsmead. Having already laid waste to the other major cities in Australia, Brisbane was the last man standing… But not for long.
Everybody’s spirits – both alcoholic and emotional – were high as the doors opened at 7:30pm. Tipsy, drunk and enthused metalheads joined the ever-growing line as it progressed through the doors and before long, it was hard to find a person at the Triffid who didn’t have a drink in hand and a friendly smile on their face. As the bar filled with people and the inside area became too packed to move through, it was clear that this show was going to be a night to remember… or not, depending on how much you’ve had to drink.
Opening the night with a performance that was equal parts jovial and aggressive, Dragonsmead took to the stage to thunderous cheering, wearing their now well-known outfits. With the guitarist Ian Ahles in a potato sack, keyboardist Gareth Graham decked out in a wizard hat and robe and bassist Matty Bales wearing a dragon onesie, Dragonsmead were absolutely hilarious and talented onstage. As they shredded through ragers like Sea Shanty and Battle Drunk, the pits went wild and numerous crowdsurfers showed their support for the Brisbane legends.
Soon everyone piled out of the venue to chain-smoke and chug down a few more beers before the next band, and rightly so: Rumahoy is a band best enjoyed while getting hammered.
Back inside the venue, wild screams and cheers welcomed North Carolina’s Rumahoy to the stage. As the balaclava wearing four piece started to swagger about the stage and play some wretchedly jaunty tracks, the audience responded in kind by opening up mosh pit after moshpit for the marauders onstage. As they blazed through classics like Forest Party, The Haitian Slam and Netflix And Yarr, it was their final song that really stood out from the others. Rumahoy chose to close the night with the German dance pirate song aptly titled Pirateship, and suddenly the entire crowd turned into a half-dance party, half-moshpit mess. At one point, I found myself sitting on the ground in the middle of a rowing pit… at which point hilarity ensued. Rumahoy were the perfect precursor to Alestorm; and considering they jokingly call themselves the best true pirate metal band, they almost lived up to their ambition.
We headed back outside for more beers before the almighty Alestorm blew the night away. With half an hour to kill, just a glance around the bar was enough to tell that everyone was well and truly sloshed, and still cramming in more alcohol to take advantage of the break between bands. Little did they know, but Alestorm was about to see a quintessential view of the Brisbane music scene: thoroughly inebriated and having the time of our lives!
Finally, the time had drawn near. The lights inside dimmed and the jam-packed Triffid started to roar and chant. Alestorm strode onstage and started off strong with the legendary track Keelhauled, and right from the first notes, the crowd went ballistic. Pits opened up far bigger and more raucous than before, while opportunistic crowdsurfers provided a constant barrage of bodies flying overhead, too. From there on out, Alestorm stormed through bangers like Magnetic North, Over the Seas, and a particularly epic rendition of Taio Cruz‘s Hangover that had the entire crowd dancing drunkenly.
Alestorm victoriously closed their main set with the swashbuckling Shipwrecked, before the rowdy crowd’s chants and cheers brought the band back for a few more songs. The crowd went mental as the band played Drink, a definite fan-favourite amongst us Aussies. As the night drew to a close, Alestorm decided to invite a few mates from Dragonsmead and Rumahoy up onstage to help them play the song everyone had been waiting for: Fucked With an Anchor. The final track fueled the crowd into one last frenzy, with punters waving their pirate hats and screaming the lyrics, drowning out the band with drunken carousing as the band played the final notes and made their way offstage.
As the night came to an end, the audience dispersed with cheers, grins and fresh beers to cool down after the epic night of rowdy moshing, dancing and singing. As luck would have it, all three bands of the night mingled and drank at the bar with their fans after the show, making an already awesome night absolutely fantastic.
Alestorm truly did brew their own storm in Brisbane to make their final show in Australia a damn wild ride from start to finish.
If you live in Auckland, good news! Alestorm will be making the voyage to you next with Forsaken Age and LIIT on the 13th of February.
Get your tickets here!