Saturday, January 31, 2015

Alestorm/ Swashbuckle/ The Dread Crew of Oddwood / Sekengard @ Empire 1/29/2015

I went to see the Piratefest America 2015 featuring Alestorm  ($16-20), Swashbuckle, The Dread Crew of Oddwood, and Sekengard at Empire. I expected this to be a pretty ridiculous show
I saw DanPaytas, Sarah, Evan P, Marie, Sean, Steve Miller, Steve Harris, Russell, Spencer, Ray,  Lauri, Danica, Lex, Kevin, Ethan's cousin,  Nathan and Alie, Ariel, ETHAN, Ray, Patricia and Bobby, Bobbie, Jason, Jen P, Yaniv, Matt, hackerStacy, Mike, Bridget, and a tired Metal Chris. This was one of the first nights of the tour as well!

As I stood in a short line (it's been a while at Empire for a line ), and froze in the cold to gain entry to the Pirate filled insanity. I saw a few people in pirate garb, but not as many as Paganfest. This would probably be the closest thing since Eluveitie as Paganfest America 2015 is  not happening. Inside there were a lot of people, which surprised me, as  the last time I saw Alestorm in Baltimore there were only about 150 people there. I don't know if the more Pirate heavy lineup or that it was a Thursday helped more, but there were easily double that number in attendance!

There was a bit of Merchandise - Sekengard had shot glasses, The Dread Crew had some shirts ($25?), CDs ($15 each or all 3 for $30) and other items, Alestorm had shirts ($20), a hoodie ($40), their latest CD  (regular or deluxe- $10/15). Swashbuckle had  a pretty big set up and included items from "Extreme Chiptune Dance Metal" sideproject Rainbowdragoneyes (which looking up right now I don't know how I missed out on grabbing something), random buttons, the silliest shirts ($20?), and I think some CDs.

Local folk metal Sekengard (one of "Baltimore's ONLY Folk Metal bands!") was already playing when I entered, so I think I missed their first song and only heard part of their second song. I didn't recognize any of their songs, but they did play at least one that I had heard the last time (their first show actually) that I've seen them. They seem to have gone thru a couple lineup changes, but they do seem a bit tighter. Their set and sound seemed way more pirate oriented (fitting as it is Piratefest America 2015), especially with the Steel Drums sound they had, which the Drummer assured me was his drum kit sounding weird. I didn't believe him because the only thing I could hear was the excellent and infectious Commando soundtrack. In any event, they did seem a bit rushed, and my unfamiliarity with the songs and trying to scope out the crowd and merch kind of affected my enjoyment. The one song I did really enjoy was their last one ("Time Flies When You're Having Rum"), which seemed more melodic than the others. They mentioned that even tho there was not Paganfest (America) 2015 (BOOOO) that there would be a local folk metal fest (YAY) later this year, and include perennial cancelers Aether Realm (YES) and themselves among others! The pretty large early crowd seemed pretty into them. Still excited to hear these guys again and put out an album!

Next up was the Dread Crew of Oddwood, whom I'd seen at Piratz Tavern in Silver Spring, MD do an acoustic set. I didn't really like their performance, but they certainly have a nice sense of humour, but maybe a bit too much? There were a lot of people on stage, but I can't really recall  any of their songs or when they started. I just couldn't get into them, and was continually getting distracted by pretty much everything else. I will say that they were really over with the crowd, but I'm not sure how much the booze and the pirate gimmick factored in and how much the music was. Regardless, they did give an air of authenticity for this very niche event. I can't say much about them as I really didn't pay attention during their set. Sorry!

Pickles and Peter

Swashbuckle certainly set the scene with their bearded Peter Griffin frontman joking at the merch table, a pirate Pickles, and their Red Lobster Logo banners. I had heard these guys were heavy on the humour and thrash. I really liked all their shirts ("I hate the sea!") and their imagery. And now, listening to excellent (although really not for everyone) side project Rainbowdragoneyes I and a bit conflicted. I was sorely disappointed with Swashbuckle's sound and music. I think that is one thing that really bothered me about most bands on this bill- their attitude of "oh hey we are quirky pirate metal, let's joke around and not really care about things" was annoying me. I certainly will say that I can't expect  the opposite (super serious) either, because that's no fun. For some reason, the level of quirkiness in many of the bands was just too much (because Pirate metal in general isn't too much already?). But then I felt too much of a negative Nancy- people are just having fun, and this is not a bad outlet in the least for that, so I calmed down a bit and tried to pay more attention. I think I was expecting a pirate version of Stormtroopers of Death (SOD), which is a good comparison, but without understandable vocals.

How can you NOT love that logo?

In any event, I thought Swashbuckle had potential as they really have great humour, but the songs were just a big mashed mess of thrash with indecipherable vocals (not that this is an instant turnnoff, but a lot of the humour is lost, whereas for Black Metal, it makes a bit less of a difference to me) that I could not really make out what was going on (I should have tried to listen to a few songs before hand in their defence). There was one point where they announced they would do 5 songs in 5 minutes. I couldn't really tell. And then near the end, they had Seal's "Kiss From a Rose" and the "Jurassic Park" Theme both piped in. I thought the Seal song that they sang along to was the best song that they played. I know some other friends didn't dig them either, but the crowd overall seemed to be either drunk enough for all the thrash or genuinely enjoyed their set. Either way, a win for the positive energy of the crowd overall. PS Steve Harris was right, I hated them.


Alestorm took the stage to a chiptunes version of one of their songs to a pretty amped crowd (pretty toasty really). I was looking at festival performances which provided the basis for their setlist, for the most part- and spent myself in the pit getting pushed around  for the one-two punch of "The Sunk'n Norwegian" and "Shipwrecked." I figured I would recover in time for "Capt. Morgan..." or "Wenches..." Alestorm sounded so much better because of the IMO not great touring openers. They sounded fine

Some people took some bad fotos this evening

The crowd was pretty great for Alestorm (and really all the bands, but moreso the headliner), and you saw pits a plenty and a lot of general (good-natured) rowdy behavior. I did see a few people who had too much rum, but I don't think anyone got overly violent. I don't think there was as much jigging as I have seen at other Alestorm or folk shows, which I thought was rather odd. Everyone shouted along to drinking songs like "Drink," "Rum," and "Wenches and Mead," as expected. Frontman Christopher Bowes looked for the shortest person (there were 3 tiny cute girls in the front near my buddy Spencer that I think he pointed out) for the obligatory mention during the always not great "Midget Saw." I would have liked to hear more from their first album, but I know they have a new (but not that great) album to promote.

I only had 3 pics come out so here's the Alestorm merch instead

The near hour and a half setlist seemed to go by pretty quickly, and I was left wanting more. I wasn't impressed by their pretty horrible cover of "Hangover" with some lad with  those stupid grill sunglasses. I guess they got more hits or something for that cover, but I thought it was unnecessary. Thankfully a shot of "Captain Morgan's Revenge" followed by one of "Rum" cleared the taste of that
out of my ears nicely!

 Overall, it was a fun show, with very healthy attendance! I felt like I could only really get into half of the bands, which was disappointing, but at least I discovered Rainbowdragoneyes, and got in the pit and wore myself out way too quickly. But the majority of fans on the floor were into every band, so if you're into pirate bands, how could you even miss this tour? I am glad I got to see a night of mostly brainless fun, and have the overwhelming positive energy lift spirits.

Bonus: some random Rainbowdragoneyes merch at the Swashbuckle table

Next show: Anvil? Deceased? Def Uli Jon Roth!

Sekengard (7ish- 7:26)
  • For Sekengard
  • Drink to Victory
  • Striped Paladin
  • Howling of the Fen
  • Unite the Divided
  • Time Flies When You're Having Rum

The Dread Crew of Oddwood (- 8:10)

  • ?
  • ?

Swashbuckle ( 8:45- 9:25)

  • ?Raise Your Hook?
  • Beer Goggles
  • ?
  • Whirlpit
  • ?Gutentag
  • ?
  • ?
  • ?smash and thrash
  • ?
  • ?
  • ? wet places
  • ? 1/5 songs in 5 minutes
  • ?
  • ?
  • ?
  • ? 5/5 songs in 5 minutes
  • ?Sack the Town
  • Peg-Leg Stomp
  • Kiss Form a Rose interlude
  • ?
  • Jurassic Park outro

Alestorm (10 ish - 11:23)

  • Remix (tape)
  • Walk the Plank
  • The Sunk'n Norwegian
  • Shipwrecked 
  • Magnetic North
  • Back through Time
  • That Famous Ol' Spiced
  • Nancy the Tavern Wench
  • Midgetsaw
  • Keelhauled
  • Rumpelkombo
  • Pirate Song
  • Wooden Leg
  • Wenches and Mead
  • Drink
  • -
  • 1741 (The Battle of Cartagena)
  • Hangover (UGH)
  • Captain Morgan's Revenge
  • Rum
Updated w/ Sekegard setlist (thanks Bobbie!)