Epica, Alestorm Trees Monday, November 19
There was a sizeable amount of hair windmilling at Trees last night, as a European metal tour of no specific genre rode into town. Indeed, Epica and Alestorm are something of a mismatch - Epica being a Dutch po-faced "symphonic metal" band (that basically means they have an operatic female singer and some serious violin-synth keyboards over the usual metal clichés), and Scottish quintet Alestorm being, well, if you can't imagine the genre "pirate metal," then one listen to an Alestorm track will immediately confirm that, yes, this is definitely pirate metal.
While headliners Epica, apparently beset by technical difficulties according to keyboard player Coen Janssen, seemed to be playing metal without much of a kick to it (the bass was overwhelmed by the treble at times), Alestorm, who were not even close to taking themselves seriously, threw an accordion-aping keytar and several songs about pirates drinking in bars by a harbor into the mix. Everyone in Alestorm looked like they were having the time of their lives, and it's difficult not to smile at a thrash metal song that stops entirely for an accordion breakdown and comes back in with four out of five band members affirming their love for drinking ("Wenches and Mead") and high adventure (the wonderfully named "Death Throes of the Terrorsquid") over a background of double-pedaling and down-tuned power chords.
You'd think that maybe, after three albums, Alestorm might get tired of writing songs about pirates, but their enthusiasm for pirate-based metal shows no sign of abating, running through every pirate cliché imaginable and coming out the other end smiling, and to a deafening ovation from a surprisingly packed Trees after set-closer "Rum."
Quote of the night: "Who likes pirates?" YEAH! "Who likes songs?" YEAH! "Who likes songs about pirates?" YEAH! "This one's called 'Pirate Song'!"