Words by: Robert Sutton
Images by: Robert Sutton Photography
Sabaton, Alestorm and Bloodbound teamed up for a eleven date UK tour billed as ‘Heroes on Tour’ with the last date in the UK being a sold out show at the O2 Forum Kentish Town London on the 10th March.
Bloodbound: Are a six piece power metal band from Sweden, they have a back catalogue of six albums with the latest one being Stormborn, which was released in 2014. I did think that the venue would be half empty for the start of their set, as the doors of the venue were opened at an earlier than normal time of 6:30 pm and they were due to be on-stage at 6:50 pm.However this was not the case with the venue actually being nearly full. From the off the crowd were right behind the band with a good selection of the crowd chanting and raising the horns during their virtually non-stop performance. What a great opening act with Patrik Johansson (vocals) doing a super job as the front for the band and one that fitted in nicely with the evening’s other acts.
Alestorm: Billed as co-headliners, but I did actually think that they were more ‘special guests’…what can you say about Alestorm?? They are a ‘pirate’ metal band that does not take themselves too seriously and are always great fun to watch. After all, how many other bands have you seen that have a large inflatable yellow duck taking centre stage for the entire set?? With a setlist comprising of fourteen songs they certainly got the crowd singing along to their simple but very chantey songs. Christopher Bowes (vocals /keytar) attired in his usual kilt and sneakers on his feet, always gives a very outlandish performance, but gave us photographers at the front a bit of a heart stopping moment when he decided to kick his foot into the air letting us all know what he was wearing under that kilt of his….fortunately for us he was wearing boxer shorts!! A great band to watch and a definite crowd pleaser, but my only slight gripe was that they didn’t do an encore to end their excellent performance.
Sabaton: This Swedish band are now so big and popular in their home country that they even have their own three day outdoor festival, and are very popular also in this country, but I do feel that they need to come over and see us a little more often or do a larger tour. However when they do, their shows are nearly always sold out in a few days of tickets going on sale…so perhaps it is time for them to play the bigger venues??…
Coming onto the stage following the intros of ‘The Final Countdown’ (that got all of us singing along to) and then ‘The March To War’, their standard intro, they were then straight into ‘Ghost Division’ from the 2008 ‘The Art of War’ album. With their very impressive tank drum kit riser at centre stage it does make quite a sight to see, but as the venue is not quite big enough there were no pyro effects for this show..
Next up was ‘Far from the Fame’ from their latest album ‘Heroes’ followed by ‘Uprising’ from the 2010 ‘Coat of Arms’ album and then ‘Midway’ from the same album.
Thobbe Englund (guitar) then had a few words to say to Joakim Brodén (vocals) which led to Joakim leaving the stage and leaving Thobbe to ‘improvise’ where he then sang ‘Gott Mit Uns’ in Swedish…( all part of the act of course) and Joakim rejoined his band members for their next song ‘Resist and Bite’. The energy and stage presence of all the band members did not relent all evening and the crowd surfing from the audience just got more and more throughout the night. Then just before their last song and as part of Thobbe’s solo we had a much unexpected rendition of Monty Python’s ‘Always look on the bright side of life’ to which, of course, the whole audience sang along to.
They finished their standard set with ‘To Hell and Back’ from the latest album. The encore consisted of three songs, ‘Night Witches’, ‘Primo’ Victoria’ with the final song being ‘Metal Crüe’.
1: Ghost Division
2: Far from the Fame
5: Gott Mit Uns (Sung in Swedish and without Joakim)
6: Resist and Bite
7: Carolus Rex
8: Swedish Pagans
9: Attero Dominatus
10: Soldier of 3 Armies
11: The Art of War
12: Always Look on the Bright Side of Life (Monty Python cover –verse and chorus only)
13: To Hell and Back
14: Night Witches
14: Primo Victoria
15: Metal Crüe