Friday, 11 March 2016

Sabaton Live Report

Over the last few years we get to see Sabaton once a year round these parts. Familiarity might breed contempt in some bands case, but in the Swedish war machine. You know you're guaranteed a great time at a Sabaton gig no matter if you've seen'em countless times like I have.

So two days after the great Avantasia gig I'm back at the Forum once again. We last saw them in January 2015 with Delain and Battle Beast and here they are again with Alestorm and Bloodbound. A different bill but suitable support anyway. The venue was soon filling up and even though Avantasia was sold out, it feels as though there are actually more people in here tonight than that night. A real proper close to heaving and uncomfortable capacity. Mind you I was safely tucked up in row one of the balcony upstairs with a perfect view. Downstairs would've been totally uncomfortable especially during Alestorm when it got really mental.

First up were fellow power metallers Bloodbound and a 40 minute set of anthemic melodic metal. Front man Patrik, used to wear a beanie but now he reveals his bald head with what looks like two horns one on either side. Now far my far away vantage point I couldn't actually tell what was on his head but it definitely looked like two horns like the Nosferatu chap they sing about. The sound was a little off at the start, and it wasn't that clear what song they were actually playing but soon settled down or my ears adjusted better. Either way Bloodbound was the perfect opener for this bill. The best tracks were Moria, Stormborn and of course Nosferatu whch they always close their sets with. In fact some dude came on in a wolf/nosferatu body suit and mask to give them their own mascot or something like that during the quiet parts at the start of the song. Front man Patrick is a cool showman and knows how to get the crowd going. A good start and Bloodbound got the punters fists shaking and voices raised although not yet at fever pitch.

Iron Throne
When Demons Collide
When The Kingdom Fall
In the Name of Metal

Alestorm were up next and the roadies got the stage ready. It seems as though Alestorm have had a bit of a change in character. They've morphed into some kind of goofy kids tv parody kinda show with a big inflatable duck sitting centre stage and the logo changing to something you'd see on kids TV. Bowes came on dressed in his Scottish kilt, sneakers and bright red kiddo baseball cap. The rest of the band are more regularly dressed but the musical theme of the band is still based around pirates and drinking rum, and walking the plank and all those cliches. They went down a complete storm I must admit but I personally found them pretty childish. It's funny 'cause he's also the same in GloryHammer, but I really like that but Alestorm's joke is starting to wear thin. Not saying it's not fun, 'cause it is, but there's just something bottom of the barrel about the humour and the music doesn't quite make up for it. But I'm far in the minority, there was a full scale dance floor riot going on downstairs and I wasn't invited!

They played all their major hits with the sea shanty keyboard melodies, and the drinking songs and "arggggghhhhh" bellows etc. I think part of the bands problem is Bowes is just not a very good singer. Not that he's probably claiming that it's just that his voice doesn't carry much melody and he starts to growl his way through the songs almost. Anyway they played for more than an hour and went down like the proverbial storm. My complaints mean diddly squat in the big scheme of things, the kids are here to fucking party and riot to Alestorm and that's exactly what they did.

Over the Seas
Magnetic North
Surf Squid Warfare
Nancy the Tavern Wench
Walk the Plank
The Sunk'n Norwegian
Wenches & Mead
1741 (The Battle of Cartagena)
(Taio Cruz cover)
Captain Morgan's Revenge

Finally at just gone 9.30, the roadies readied the familiar tank drum riser and stage set similar to last years as The Final Countdown played over the PA with massive sing along by the crowd below. The band soon rushes on bursts into Ghost Division as usual with the crowd already in apeshit mode. You'd think they'd take their time getting up to a frenzy after the already crazy Alestorm riots, but no, they are immediately in full attack mode with pits and mass jumping starting here there and everywhere. I like Ghost Division as a song but I'm starting to think they need to change it from it's starting position. I think they've got it in their minds that it has that energy that immediately lifts the crowd but they have other energetic songs and don't need to start with Ghost Division every single time.

Either way the band sounds as good as ever musically speaking and the cheers after the opener deafened everyone and had the band in shock as well as they looked back at the absolute delirium down on the floor. Joakim had his dark shades on so you couldn't see his eyes but his reaction and words revealed his thoughts as the band looked amazed at the sheer volume of support coming back at them. I'm always amazed how much people love this band and the thing is the love seems to be only strengthening and not stagnating at all judging by last nights crowd.

The band continued onwards and upwards with a slightly changed set list as Joakim said from the stage. Of course this was part of the Heroes tour and we got to hear songs from that album which was cool. In fact all of the songs aired from Heroes were my faves of the night especially Soldier of 3 Armies and To Hell and Back. In between we always get a few of their classics such as The Art of War, Carolus Rex and Attero Dominatus. It seems these three are staples of every Sabaton set list now. I must admit I am a huge fan of Cliffs of Gallipoli and I did miss hearing it though I guess others are not. It was good to hear the super melodic Gott Mit Uns sung in Swedish minus Joakim actually.

The set went by in a flash and soon they left to mass cheers before returning for the encore of three more songs. The band's anthem Primo Victoria, new song Night Witches and the metal tribute Metal Crue. The whole of Forum floor was basically moving for Primo whilst the party song Metal Crue is always a crowd pleasing end. I would actually like to see them drop Metal Crue from the set list actually and try a different song to end with. Not sure which but try something else.

So there we have a night of true metal by legends of the power metal scene. Like I said before people love Sabaton as much as ever. They may have lost a few fans with constant repetition, but when you go to a Sabaton show, there's one thing you're guaranteed. A big shit eating grin on your face and your fist in the air!

The Final Countdown
(Europe song)
The March to War
Ghost Division
Far from the Fame
Gott Mit Uns
Resist and Bite
Carolus Rex
Swedish Pagans
Attero Dominatus
Soldier of 3 Armies
The Art of War
Always Look on the Bright Side of Life
(Monty Python cover) (Thobbe solo, verse and chorus only)
To Hell and Back

Night Witches
Primo Victoria
Metal Crüe

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