Location: Southampton 02 Guildhall
Date: 29th February 2016
Bands: Sabaton, Alestorm and Bloodbound
Sabaton and Alestorm embark on a co-headline tour together along with Swedish metal heads, Bloodbound. One of their stops on this incredible tour is Southampton’s legendary 02 Guildhall. People are queuing around the block for an amazing night of metal.
Bloodbound have the hard job of warming the crowd up and they offer the crowd a really fun, old school metal sound mixed with a modern power metal twist. There’s nothing out of the ordinary here but their easily memorable lyrics gets the audience singing and putting their fists in the air which is impressive for a first act. On stage the band are energetic, particularly their vocalist whose wearing a red jacket and a pair of devil horns. Overall, Bloodbound do a really good job in warming up the crowd although their performance was forgettable for the rest of the evening. But that’s no surprise considering that pirate metal legends Alestorm and power metal giants Sabaton are due to take the stage.
Alestorm’s arrival in Southampton has caused a whole lot of people to dress up this evening in full on pirate gear and in the crowd you can see people act like a pirate and it’s amusing to watch as we wait for the time to pass for the band to get on stage. So what can you expect from an Alestorm show? Everything from banana ducks to a giant rubber duck in the middle of stage and even a working bar. All of this is a recipe for craziness and the crowd love it. With the smell of booze in the air the Scottish group start off their set with the classic ‘Keelhauled’ that gets fists pumping and people dancing to the addictive tune. Alestorn have put together a set list that consists mainly of fan favourites such as ‘Walk the Plank,’ ‘Shipwrecked’ and ‘Wrenches and Mead.’ A great moment is when they perform ‘Drink’ which of course gets the everyone singing. The highlight of their set though is when they play their cover of Taio Cruz’s ‘Hangover’ because it’s great to see a bunch of metal heads in pirate gear sub to a pop anthem Ultimately, Alestorm bring an incredible atmosphere and lots of heavy metal insanity that all together makes for a truly fun and memorable show.
You would think after such a high energy show that the crowd’s level of interest would drop slightly, but you are wrong. Just as Europe’s classic ‘The Final Countdown’ finishes playing the members of Sabaton take to the stage and begin their set with ‘Ghost Division.’ Their stage setup is amazing as it’s fitted with giant tanks, helmets and a killer lightshow. The band come together to dominate the concert hall and from the first song they have the crowd wrapped around their fingers. They effortlessly get through their set playing crowd pleasers like ‘The Art of War,’ ‘The Price of a Mile’ and of course ‘To Hell and Back’ which gets the entire crowd jumping up and down. One of the best moments of Sabaton’s set is when a fan throws a bear on stage that’s dressed up like vocalist, Joakim Broden, and he picks it up and says, “is this supposed to be me?” The bear then stays on stage for the rest of the set. Fundamentally it’s this type of crowd interaction that truly makes Sabaton’s show so special as you feel a real connection between the audience and the band.
Whoever came up with the idea to bring Alestorm and Sabaton out on tour together is a genius because it was such a good evening and no words can be put together to describe how good it really was. It was one of those evenings that you wish you could go and relive.