Review by Mark Mc Grogan for MPM
Tis a wet, shitty night in Belfast and the huddled masses have gathered for a bit of Christmas cheer in the form of the Mighty Alestorm, Gloryhammer and the badass Bootyard Bandits.
Three contrasting bands, three bands at the very top of their game in their respective genres, so what kind of a night are we in for? It’s an early one for us here in Belfast as the Limelight venue has a club night later, so we find ourselves at a teatime kick off for The Bootyard Bandits, thankfully even with the early start and bloody Covid restrictions now in place, there is a sizeable crowd already in for this heavy hitting Southern-Country-Rock outfit.
The five-piece Waste no time at all making an impression on the hungry Belfast crowd. These guys know how to have a good time and it translates to the crowd instantly, the guys hefty yet melodic rock and vocal harmonies are like literal ear worms getting under your skin song after song and the Belfast crowd are loving every bit of it!
When frontman CJ asks for their fists in the air the crowd obliges! Could it get any better – introducing The HEAVY METAL BANJO! and give me a Fuck yeah! The guys leave the stage to rapturous applause after absolutely knocking it out of the park! Clearly a well-oiled machine The Bootyard Bandits are one band that have to be on your radar.
From Yee-Haw to Yes Captain, as Intergalactic Space Metallers Gloryhammer take the stage, cinematic music fills the room as the band take their places on stage and then an audible explosion as the set kicks in.
The crowd goes wild as their pummelling riffs move the air, vibrating the very ground we stand on. From the very first song the crowd are on board, fists in the air chanting along with the band as they rip their way across their set.
Tight as fcuk they start and stop on a dime, the theatrics the band bring to their stage show goes down a treat as The Gloryhammer itself is brought on stage to defeat the enemy – and that says it all about tonight’s show, fine music but much more than that, a way of life, a party atmosphere where anything goes and after the last 18 months everyone here is in need of a par-tay!
Gloryhammer’s very first time playing Belfast and they are making their mark here, clearly a fan favourite, I can’t imagine this will be their last time in this city ravaging their way through their set link a band possessed leaving an indelible mark on tonight’s audience. Hoots! Hoots! Hoots! Hoots! Hoots!
The stage is set, the duck is front and centre, the lights drop and roar from the crowd let you know it’s party time! Strobe lights going like mad to the drumbeat kicks things off and this place is bouncing! As always, the room is filled with devoted fans who fully embrace the chaos, pirates as far as the eye can see bouncing up and down as if they’re on the seven seas themselves.
Keytar solos, guttural vocals, massive breakdowns Alestorm have it all and aren’t holding back, and that my friends was only the opening number. There just ain’t no party like an Alestorm party, you have to see it, be in the middle of it to believe it. The guys at giving it all on stage ramping up the energy even further as if it is even needed, you could charge a city with the electricity from this crowd tonight. The crowd have been whipped up into a frenzy and drunk on Ale and pirate tunes are here for good time.
Alestorm put on a killer of a show, I can see broken fans all around me giving it their all, living their best lives and after the last 18 months in hibernation clearly feeling a little worse for the wear. But sure, that’s these kind of nights are all about. Unadulterated excess at the highest level and God bless Alestorm they brought their A-game tonight.
Photography by Darren McVeigh for MPM