Alestorm, Korpiklaani, Heidevolk, Live at the O2 Forum, Kentish Town, March 9, 2023

Like Heidevolk, Korpiklaani deliver the sort of music that imprints a smile on you with the subtlety of 2x4 plant to the face.
Words and Pictures: Adrian Hextall \ MindHex Media

Welcome back to the Forum, just a few short weeks since Alestorm opened their latest tour in support of new e.p. ‘Voyage of the Dead Marauder’, and it was a packed Forum as well. The floor was heaving with wanna-be Johnny Depps, multiple Nancy the Tavern Wench’s, more than a handful of dead parrots and the odd inflatable dolphin crowd surfing for good measure. It was a night of music that would keep the any Pirate p.a.r.t.y more than happy thanks to the vast amount of accordion, electric violin, drinking, and general debauchery taking place on the stage over the course of some 3 hours. If ever 3 bands felt like the perfect fit on a bill, this was it.

Heidevolk

Heidevolk is a folk metal band from the Netherlands and were completely new to me. As ever the ‘turn up for the first band because you never know what you’re gonna get’. What we got was a rip-roaring set of music that saw the fans bouncing off the walls and dancing the folk metal version of the Do-si-do. A quick bit of research on the band (thank you internet) confirmed why I struggled a little on the lyrical front. Most of what I heard, apparently covering the history of Gelderland, and Germanic mythology, was sung in Dutch. Whilst they do in fact have a few English language tunes, to be honest it didn’t matter as evidenced by the dancing antics of the audience who were clearly ‘up for it’. We did get a huge highlight with ‘A Wolf in My Heart’, an epic number that clearly resonated as the room happily sang along and when we got to ‘Drink met de Goden (Walhalla)’ well the chants of “Valhalla” could be heard down the road.

Korpiklaani

Korpiklaani kept the “songs to play when drinking” front and centre and as such ‘Happy Little Boozer’, ‘Beer Beer’ and ‘Vodka’ all made a joyous appearance although judging by the amount flying through the air in the audience, anyone would think that the home team had just scored the winning goal in the World Cup.

Like Heidevolk, Korpiklaani deliver the sort of music that imprints a smile on you with the subtlety of 2×4 plank to the face. Their set, as upbeat as their predecessors, was delivered with an energy that warranted sponsorship from Duracell. The recent pairing of Sami Perttula (accordion) and new violinist Olli Vänskä was proven to be a match made in the Summerland.

Playing off each other perfectly, the pair gave the band their distinctive edge and lifted the music to another level.

With more ale consumed than was sensible, even on a Saturday night, by the time we’d raise our glasses to Valhalla and chanted along with a smiling dreadlocked and top hatted Jonne Järvelä, you’d think by the time the headliners arrived, we’d be done in. But thankfully no. There’s a natural cohesion of live music and beer (and cider if you really must) and whether it simply removes our inhibitions or helps us enjoy the night a little more, when Alestorm came to the stage, the roar that greeted them was more than enough to re-energise the room and off we went for round three.

Alestorm

If you’ve heard the new e.p. from the band then you know ‘Voyage of the Dead Marauder’ which features Patty Gurdy. The song that made its live debut at the beginning of the tour to an overwhelmingly positive response from the crowd at the same venue, now feels like an old friend and, as I think the band have truly found their sound now and long may it continue. Patty also played along with ‘Big Ship Little Ship’, the classic ‘Nancy the Tavern Wench‘, ‘Rumpelkombo’ and more in the encore as well. Let’s hope she becomes a permanent member of the crew in the future.

Alestorm have 3 types of songs. The fun stuff like ‘Nancy..’ the epic stuff like ‘Magellan’s Expedition’ and ‘Under Blackened Banners’ and the rude stuff like ‘Fucked With An Anchor’ the latter being the band’s ‘Final Countdown’ and an absolute requirement to close out any show with it. It’s because they have their 3-type songs in their repertoire that Alestorm don’t get old quickly. If they dropped to 2-type or stuck to just epic pirate tales and become a modern equivalent of Running Wild, I don’t think the modern audiences would have taken to them like they have. Instead, the crew of the shit-boat (but with many fans) kept everyone hooked from the off. ‘Under Blackened Banners’ reminded us just how talented they are despite adamant statements from their Captain to the contrary. It was then followed with the fun ‘Treasure Chest Party Quest’ before the anthemic cover of Tao Cruise’s ‘Hangover’ a song that clearly was destined to be Alestorm’s even if they didn’t write it.

Later on in the set, a slimmed down (must be the Keto diet) Captain Yarrface appeared on stage drinking from a shoe (at the appropriate point in the song as well). There was also a being… half man , half shark, a terrifying sight yet one that strangely lured me into the set like a Siren’s song. Imagine a budget (very low budget) Suicide Squad ( (C) DC Comics) and you’ll get a sense of what this fella looked like. 

Much laughter ensured, much mead was consumed, wenches were….. nothing… it’s 2024 people , we don’t do that now…. but Alestorm, they just mixed it all up perfectly, adding guests like Patty and Sharkman when needed and the end result was a glorious triumph.

  • Alestorm, Live at the O2 Forum, Kentish Town, March 9 2024
  • Alestorm, Live at the O2 Forum, Kentish Town, March 9 2024
  • Alestorm, Live at the O2 Forum, Kentish Town, March 9 2024
  • Alestorm, Live at the O2 Forum, Kentish Town, March 9 2024
  • Alestorm, Live at the O2 Forum, Kentish Town, March 9 2024
  • Alestorm, Live at the O2 Forum, Kentish Town, March 9 2024
  • Alestorm, Live at the O2 Forum, Kentish Town, March 9 2024
  • Alestorm, Live at the O2 Forum, Kentish Town, March 9 2024
  • Alestorm, Live at the O2 Forum, Kentish Town, March 9 2024
  • Alestorm, Live at the O2 Forum, Kentish Town, March 9 2024
  • Alestorm, Live at the O2 Forum, Kentish Town, March 9 2024
  • Alestorm, Live at the O2 Forum, Kentish Town, March 9 2024
  • Alestorm, Live at the O2 Forum, Kentish Town, March 9 2024
  • Alestorm, Live at the O2 Forum, Kentish Town, March 9 2024
  • Alestorm, Live at the O2 Forum, Kentish Town, March 9 2024

Setlist

Keelhauled
No Grave but the Sea
The Sunk’n Norwegian
Alestorm
Under Blackened Banners
Treasure Chest Party Quest
Hangover (Taio Cruz cover)
Wenches & Mead
Magellan’s Expedition
Mexico
Voyage of the Dead Marauder (with Patty Gurdy)
Big Ship Little Ship (with Patty Gurdy)
Nancy the Tavern Wench (with Patty Gurdy)
Rumpelkombo
P.A.R.T.Y.
Captain Morgan’s Revenge
Shit Boat (No Fans)

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