Tonight’s lineup kicks off with Bloodbound from Sweden, a Power Metal sextet that have their history firmly in the vein of Hammerfall, and there’s nothing wrong with that, they work really well in the tight confines at the front of the large and mostly covered stage. Lead singer Patrik Johansson strikes an interesting image on stage clad in a long red leather coat and naturally with horns growing out of his head, the set is attacked with the kind of energy we don’t see nearly enough of from a band opening proceedings, the band are really up for it and I think if they had the stage to roam they would have made excellent use of it.
Johansson has a terrific voice and it fits their sound so well, they are a tight knit unit and get the crowd moving, fist pumping and singing along, it was actually quite impressive for a band making their first visit to Ireland to bring such a vibrant reaction from the crowd. Rousing tracks like ‘In The Name Of Metal”provide the anthemic background for the crowd to interact with the music and a band with beaming smiles on their faces does nothing but endear them to everyone.
Along with “In The Name Of Metal” the highlights are “Stormborn” the title track to their 2014 release and the finishing track, the excellent ‘Nosferatu’ which has more than a nod to Maiden, including Patrik’s “Scream for me Dublin” in true Dickinson style. Bloodbound were most certainly a welcome addition to this bill and plenty of people in the crowd will be looking forward to their return to Ireland, hopefully soon, go check them out.
Bloodbound Setlist –
When Demons Collide
In The Name Of Metal
Next up are the first of the co-headliners, Alestorm, and honestly as soon as you see the stage being set you know something different and fun is coming, after all it’s not every night you stand in front of a stage with a giant inflatable Duck right in the middle of it, but that’s how Alestorm roll, as Christopher Bowes informs the now very excited crowd, they sing about Pirates, Drink, and stuff like that, the banter throughout the set ranges from just fun, to plain old weird, but all in the name of rock and tonight’s crowd is lapping it all up, the next 60 minutes is just going to be all out fun.
It’s rare these days to see dual keyboard players in a band, well keyboards and keytar, Bowes looking after both vocal duties and Keytar, but they work really well for the style of music they play, with the keytar sounding similar a lot of the time to an accordion. There’s something very endearing and upbeat about this style of music and when played well and with the right amount of vigor, as bands like Alestorm and RedRum do, a whole room can be lifted. Tonight that’s what’s happening, I don’t know if I’ve ever seen so much dancing going on around a venue at a Metal gig before. This kind of event is really a joy to be a part of. The songs themselves, well they do what they say on the tin, tales of the seven seas and getting drunk mainly, and certainly enough to keep a newcomer to their music happy and bouncing along, at the end of the day it’s Metal, some cracking riffs and playing from Bodor on lead guitar.
“Surf Squid Warfare” is definitely one of the sets highlights and rattles along at a fair old lick, and Bowes has enough of a growl and venom in his delivery to set the scene, cracking track and very well received by the audience tonight. What should be noted is that all three bands tonight have the ability and willingness to interact with the crowd and naturally that helps everything move along more smoothly and add to the entertainment. Other highlights tonight would be “The Sunk’n Norwegian” and brilliant “Drink” and set closer “Rum” heavy music with an almost traditional lyrical content, and hell yeah there’s song s about drinking, but if you want to have a party like they do then raise a glass or two and strap yourself in, it’s going to be a bumpy ride but a hell of a journey. Honestly it’s hard to watch the band without a smile breaking out on your face and give them props for their cover of a Taio Cruz song (Hangover) which they mold to fit to their own style very well and was great to see Joel Peters (Tainted Nation) playing on an Irish stage, as Alestorm‘s Guitar Tech he plays acoustic guitar adding a little to the whole thing. Alestorm are great to watch and just enjoy, look forward to seeing them again.
Alestorm Setlist –
Over The Seas
Surf Squid Warfare
Nancy The Tavern Wench
Walk The Plank
The Sunk’n Norwegian
Wenches And Mead
1741 (The Battle Of Cartagena)
Hangover (Taio Cruz cover)
Captain Morgan’s Revenge
Finally Sabaton make their way to the stage, after the crowd sing along loudly to Europe’s ‘The Final Countdown’, through the additional into of ‘The March To War’ and the noise levels rise significantly, there is absolutely no doubt who most people are here to see tonight, this band has become a very popular visitor to Dublin in recent years and they certainly appear to love playing here. Tonight is the first time the band have been able to setup the infamous Tank on an Irish stage, and yes it’s a prop but damn it’s a great prop, it sets the whole stage off brilliantly with Hannes drumkit setup over the hatch, only space for the Gatling Guns tonight not the main gun, but it still looks spectacular.
They rip through a deafening version of “Ghost Division” with a crash bang of flashing lights and pounding drums and we are up and running, no messing around no easing into things, this is excellent and you are pretty much hooked from the first song, it’s a great way to start any set. Always one of the highlights of Sabaton sets is “Swedish Pagans” and tonight Joakim didn’t even get a chance to start introducing the song before the crowd took over and started chanting, and so once the song starts the chanting gets louder. It’s great to see “Midway” in the set tonight, and before the guys get stuck into the set a Kinder Egg gets thrown on stage along with a Swedish Cartoon character soft toy, and oddly after being told in no uncertain manner by the crowd Joakim eats the egg, sometimes at a Sabaton gig it does actually feel like you are out having a laugh with some mates, and throw in some great music on top of it. Every song is blasted out and although I really like their albums it’s live that you see this band at their very best, most of the songs take on a life of their own and every member of the band plays a part in creating the show.
A really nice moment is when Joakim and the band acknowledge a “superfan” in the audience, a girl called Isobel was attending her 100th Sabaton gig tonight in our fair city, wow 100 shows all over the World including shows in the US, very impressive, so the guys asked her what song she’d like to hear and they nailed it, “Saboteurs” was the song of choice and there was no, we can’t do that but we’ll play this for you instead, they make their audience feel like they mean something to them, and that makes they as good as they are.
The set highlights aside from everything else are probably an absolutely full on version of “Attero Dominatus” , the always kick ass “Primo Voctoria” and if you are going to end big what better way to do it than “Metal Crue”, it’s a great way to end a set, but honestly nobody wants the set to end, it’s a show, a spectacle and a beast of pure entertainment. The crowd want more and I’m sure next time will be equally spectacular, the solos that Tobbe and Chris fire out all night are just awesome, as mentioned Hannes pounding drums are a brilliant backdrop for everything, Par is not only so solid on Bass he’s got that bit of showmanship that every other member of the band have and of course then there’s the Circus Master Joakim, definitely one of the best frontmen around these days, funny, excellent powerful vocals and crowd interaction at the highest level. Watching Chirs and Joakim chase each other around the stage was so funny when Joakim got his revenge for an earlier incident by ensuring that the vocals were going to be really high, could feel the pain form the other side of the room. Can’t wait for the next installment and hopefully a 2017 return to Irish shores.
Finally. huge respect to the DME Promotions crew for not only bringing this gig to us but also for the work involved with unloading and loading such a bit setup and being so efficient with it.
Sabaton Setlist –
Far From The Fame
Gott Mit Uns (Without Joakim and in Swedish)
Resist And Bite
Carolus Rex (English Version)
The Art Of War
Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life (Monty Python cover) (solo by Thobbe)
To Hell And Back
Words – Stephen Brophy
Photography – Down The Barrel Photography © 2016
Content – © OVERDRIVE 2016
FULL GALLERY: SABATON / ALESTORM / BLOODBOUND – DUBLIN 06/02/13