LIVE REVIEW : ALESTORM + GLORYHAMMER
ALESTORM + GLORYHAMMER El Corazon | Seattle, WA September 17, 2018
One of the most exciting things in the life of a metalhead is to see a band you love for the first time, and it’s always even more special if that band has never played in your country. After 5+ long years of waiting since their debut album was released, fans of the mighty Gloryhammer were finally treated to a North American tour, their first ever.
Opening for Alestorm, and questing throughout the United States following an appearance at Prog Power USA, Gloryhammer made its way to El Corazon in Seattle for a sold out show, where I was lucky to see them.
Two local bands were chosen to warm up the crowd that night, Stoned Evergreen Travelers and Zero Down. I feel like they were perhaps misplaced. Not that they were not talented or good, but they were definitely not in line with the absurdity and silliness that was the name of the game for the night. Stoned Evergreen Travelers (Tacoma, WA) are self-described as Hellbilly Rock, and they have a great fiddler which definitely lifted the folky spirits. Not my cup of tea, but also not entirely ill-fitted as an opener for Alestorm. The crowd didn’t seem displeased either. Zero Down, a band of veteran heavy metallers also got a warm welcome from the crowd — and again while they didn’t exactly fit the bill, they played a good high-energy set.
Judging by the numerous Gloryhammer shirts in the room, and by the shift of energy as the band was setting up, it was clear that many people (not to say most people) in the room were very excited to finally see the European band. It was, after all, the first occasion for most of us to see them perform.
People went bonkers as soon as the first notes of the intro were heard, and started chanting HOOTS! HOOTS! HOOTS! I had shivers. It was finally happening; Gloryhammer LIVE. And so I chanted along. Hoots were hooted until the Hootsman himself made his appearance.
Gloryhammer took the stage, all guns — or hammers?— blazing, led by the ultra-charismatic and very theatrical Thomas Winkler, I mean Angus McFife. Playing some of their best from both Tales from the Kingdom of Fife and Space 1992: Rise of the Chaos Wizards, including “The Unicorn Invasion of Dundee” and “Legend of the Astral Hammer”, the quintet set El Corazon on fire. Their 30-minute set — complete with a live goblin fight! — was far, far too short for most, and as they exit to "The National Anthem of Unst", most fans sang along solemnly to the hymn that was never recorded but yet somehow is known by everyone. Exit Gloryhammer. The mood shifted in the venue, and there was a serious rotation in the crowd. Oh there is Alestorm after that? Right, I had completely forgotten, lost in the Kingdom of Fife.
Alestorm commandeered the stage, inflatable duck in tow, and it became clear that the remaining people in attendance wanted some Alestorm BAD. El Corazon is a tiny venue, and when a band as energetic as Alestorm is in the house, along with all the rabid fans they attract, you know some sort of chaos will ensue. It got tight, and it got pushy, but I held my spot like any good veteran. It got sweaty, oh how it got sweaty. To the tune of “Alestorm”, “Captain Morgan’s Revenge” and “Shipwrecked”, the crowd flung themselves around and sang at the top of their lungs all the words to our favourite songs. Well-known faces of the Alestorm crew came in to give a helping hand with “Hangover”, and everyone blew out their vocal chords singing along to the iconic “Drink” chorus when the time came. They also managed to squeeze in their Eurovision cover, “Wolves of the Sea” and the roof of El Corazon was, effectively and figuratively blown off.
I once again left an Alestorm concert well sweaty and euphoric, for the 9th time in my life — I will never tire of seeing that band perform; they are actual human live show dynamite. But as we all moved out towards the exit, I wondered: how long until I get to see Gloryhammer again?
And then the metal gods bestowed the news upon me that Gloryhammer was announced for 70,000 Tons of Metal 2019. So only a few more months until I can done my armor again and join the battle that will be the pit on the high seas — for the eternal glory of Dundee!