Rum, Beer, Quests & Mead (Melbourne, VIC)

9 February 2019 at The Croxton

Talk about metalheads turning up in force! The crowd amassing for Alestorms sold-out show at the Croxton was sincerely something to behold. A line full of pirates, battle jackets & the occasional Joakim from Sabaton impersonator, wrapped around the venue in pre-drinks soaked revelry and anticipation.

This would be my second time seeing the Alestorm crew take to the stage, having very narrowly missed the opportunity to catch their first foray to Australia in 2010. I still recall my first time meeting Chris Bowes in 2015 and having a inebriated discussion about Fallout 4.

Local Melbourne metal champions Triple Kill explosively opened the show – you’d honestly be forgiven for thinking they were co-headlining the show. An immense display of energy and interplay from the guys. In return for this awesome shindiggery, the crowd response was truly massive. The unfortunate norm of an opening band being greeted by a half-empty room was utterly and completely absent – packed to the rafters!

Ripping through their set with fan favourites such as Blades and The Alchemist, Triple Kills performance was studded with the type of shenanigans many have come to know well; Ethan’s impromptu impersonation of Macho Man Randy Savage, Mackie’s stoic solos honed down to a fine edge and Anthony’s aerial acrobatics. Oh, and Rodney was coerced to reluctantly reveal his assets. Last, but certainly not least, Connor’s playing was genuinely on-point and driving their signature sound home. This outstanding performance even included a great show of class, giving a shout out to a young fan who had just turned 18. The lads closed out their set with a killer version of I Would Walk 500 Miles by the Proclaimers. This was dedicated to Alestorm with a curt “it’s from Scotland, you’re welcome!”. I sincerely feel lucky to have seen what is easily the best set I’ve ever seen Triple Kill perform – congrats lads!

The evening became more and more soaked in rum and good spirits (pun?) and it wasn’t long before changeover saw Rumahoy take to the stage. Punters hanging off the D-barrier leered upwards to the imposing figure of Captain Yarrface taking to the stage. Massive mountain of a man with a roaring bellow that could easily wilt your grandmothers roses. Flanked by balaclava clad crew mates, any thoughts of similarity to Australia’s Dead Kelly (despite Rumahoy pre-dating them by a few years) were quickly dispelled with the eruption of relentless sea shanties. Big, boisterous and ready to take your head clean off. This was my first time seeing them and I can absolutely confirm that their reputation for taking no prisoners is well earned. Treasure Gun saw a bejewelled faux sawn-off shotgun being wielded at the audience, the prized possession of Captain Yarrface.

Netflix & Yarr, The Triumph of Piracy and Forest Party are the type of metal pirate shanties we’ve come to know and love – this was all tipped on its head when Rumahoy dove into Pirateship. I’ve seen pits erupt into Cossack dancing, longship rowing, dancing circles, walls of death, and all other manner of jigs, but never a German dance party! Seriously, look this one up.

That time of the evening had finally arrived, the jolly drunken masses horded front and centre, the house lights dimmed, and there it was – a big fucking rubber duck. Its dark, beady eyes stared ever outward as the theme from Blazing Saddles emitted from the stacks. A truly deafening roar and thrusting of horns and swords greeted the mighty Alestorm as they came through the fog. Blasting straight into Keelhauled their set opened relentlessly, engaging the crowd and their usual hilariously awesome fashion. You really got a feel for exactly how packed out the Croxton was as the crowd surged forward, singing the songs we’ve all come to know so well. Screaming to Magnetic North to swaying along with Nancy The Tavern Wench set the pace, with brews being quaffed on all sides. A massive highlight for me was to see Phil ‘The Immobiliser’ return to the stage to join Alestorm for Hangover, along with the band’s guitar tech. For veterans of the circuit, it was no surprise to see Alestorm so incredibly tight and well rehearsed.

Three encores closed out the set with yet more classic tracks, with the last being the beloved hymn Fucked with an Anchor. Joining the rousing chorus of the crowd for this little gem from their pirate’s arsenal was a huge highlight for everyone. Amazing night thanks to a band that never disappoints – if that gig was anything to go by, the good ship Alestorm will be sailing for a damn good while longer.

Line-up: Alestorm, Rumahoy, Triple Kill

Reviewer: Nat Harmer
Photocredits: Ellie Hayden