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I love going to the Renaissance Faire. It’s a reason to dress up in garb, buy beer or mead, and get drunk with your friends. There is mutual camaraderie with everyone around, and you’re all there to lose all inhibitions and just enjoy yourself. Wait… Sorry. I meant to say, I love going to an Alestorm concert. It’s a reason to dress up in garb, buy beer or mead, get drunk with your friends, and lose all inhibitions with fellow drunk fans in the crowd. At an Alestorm concert it is Pirate Party Time, and your only job is to have fun. Coming to the Observatory in Santa Ana on their Tour of The Dead Marauder and bringing with them Elvinking and Glyph. It felt like I stepped into a Renaissance Faire when I entered the venue seeing everyone dressed up for this show. Beer was flowing and the crew was singing jaunty tunes waiting for the show to start. I knew it was gonna be a good time.

Opening the show was an intergalactic power metal band known as Glyph. These alien rockers from outer space crash landed on Earth only three weeks ago. Luckily, these hitch hiking alien musicians were picked up by Alestorm for a tour. Vocalist R.A. Voltaire embodies the essence of Ronnie James Dio in both vocal power and height. Guitarist Rob Steinway meshed his playing with powerful chugs and driving weedly weedly guitar lines. Keyboardist Jeff Black armed with a keytar added the mythical flavor to Glyph’s overall sound. While bassist Darin Wall looked like he was ready to go to battle with the Vikings armed with his axe. Glyph played songs like “Honor. Power. Glory.,” “A Storm of Crimson Fire,” “March of the Northern Clan,” “When the World was Young,” “Defy the Night,” and “Volarad.” Voltaire kept making it a point that on his planet “You only sing if you know the words. Otherwise, it’s your job to enjoy yourself.” This was the perfect sentiment to start the night, as it helped kick start the party aspect of the entire show. Beer was flowing, and fans were moshing even harder to the music, which helped elevate Glyph’s stage presence.

Up next was a more fantasy driven band with Elvinking. Vocalist Damna presented himself to the crowd donning an antler crown. His silhouette casting a haunting glow like the deer demon from the movie Antlers. It was when he sang that the warmth from his voice helped to cast a glistening glow into the venue. Flanked by guitarist Headmatt and Aydan who mix angelic riffing with heavy rhythms. Bassist Jakob and drummer Symohn are the backbone of the band with a powerful low end that helps to drive the songs and the moshers to keep the pit spinning. Elvinking’s secret weapon lies in violinist Lethien, who is blended into the songs well enough. But it’s the moments the band lets the violin stand front and center that adds so much whimsy to the music. Lethien was the key to being transported to the fantasy world Elvinking creates with their music and stage persona’s. With songs like “Rapture,” “The Hanging Tree,” “Draugen’s Maelstrom,” “Pagan Revolution,” “Silverseal,” “Moonbeam Stone Circle,” “Pagan Purity,” “Bride of the Night,” “The One We Shall Follow,” “The Wanderer,” “The Divided Heart,” and ending with “Elvenlegions,” I know the music I am bringing to my next D&D campaign to help cast us into a different world.

As we eagerly awaited our headliners, the bar was attacked with patrons demanding more beer! As a giant 10 foot duck was inflated at the back of the stage, the crowd cheers’d for the duck, and pounded one back. This alone got me excited for the shenanigans that were going to be an Alestorm concert. Opening their set with “Keelhauled,” vocalist and keytarist Christopher Bowes launched into an accordion sounding intro to the song and the fans drank it up. Launching into the lyrics, Bowes sings with a tropey pirate inflection to his vocals that just helps elevate how much fun the band is having. Guitarist Máté Bodor and bassist Gareth Murdock infuse heavy, folk, and power metal rhythms with a pirate twang that lets you imagine you were sailing with Blackbeard on the seven seas. Drummer Peter Alcorn rips on the double bass creating a galloping rhythm that you can’t help but run into the mosh pit to. While keyboardist Elliot Vernon’s synth just adds more enthusiasm to the music. Even bringing out guest vocalist Barbara Blackthorne for the songs “Voyage of the Dead Marauder” and “Zombies Ate My Pirate Ship.” Her vocals were so powerful that she sounded like a siren captivating the crowd and drawing them into their death.

For being a band that describes themselves as pirate metal, they honestly look like a bunch of frat guys who lucked out and got a record deal. Wearing dolphin shorts, snakeskin pants, kilts, tank tops, backwards hats, and sweatbands. I feel I walked into a 90s teen comedy version of a college party. Regardless, this only added to the party nature of the show. With fans tossing around a child’s duck pool floaty that would constantly make its way onto the stage and be worn by the band members before being thrown back to the crowd. Even the crowd surfer’s felt more like they were swimming through the sea of the crowd before toppling over the barricade. The crowd stayed rambunctious throughout the set and security didn’t even both to stop the fun, with songs like “No Grave but the Sea,” “The Sunk’n Norwegian,” “Alestorm,” “Under Blackened Banners,” “Hangover,” “Uzbekistan,” “Mexico,” “Big Ship Little Ship,” “Nancy the Tavern Wench,” “Rumplekombo,” “P.A.R.T.Y.,” “1741 (The Battle of Cartagena),” “Shit Boat (No Fans),” “Drink,” and ending it with “Fucked with an Anchor.” With the final song, Bowes even jumped into the crowd, surfing into the sunset of the show.  

As the lights came on, and people tried to compose themselves, you could see the drunken glaze over many people’s eyes. Alestorm sings many songs about getting drunk, and the fans love to let themselves live those lyrics during the shows. Normally security is quick to push everyone out of the venue, but even they could tell people needed a few extra minutes to recompose. Nonetheless, there was not a single drunken face of disappointment to be found. We got to meet intergalactic beings known as Glyph. Travel through the forests of the world where Elvinking lives. Sailed the seven seas with the most fun pirate metal band in all the lands and survived to tell the tales. This night was not a night to be a normal human with limits. This was a night to be the fantasy being you always dreamed of. The one who can take on any challenge, travel across any world, out drink anyone under the table. This night we raged! And the next day we dealt with the hangover.


Matt Martinez

Editor - Orange County

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