This is a tour that doesn’t need an introduction; in fact it was evident this event was in every metal head’s diary, calendar, smartphone or however they keep track of dates nowadays. The infamous tour in question consists of two of Metal’s greatest titans; they are Swedish Power Metal legends SABATON and Scottish Pirate Icons ALESTORM. They were joined by the powerful BLOODBOUND so the line-up alone showed a solid package, but would it deliver? Here is what Southampton’s show had to offer.
02 Guildhall in Southampton is inarguably the city’s biggest venue, many Rock and Metal giants have played the stage. Icons such as LAMB OF GOD, BLACK LABEL SOCIETY, MÖTORHEAD and ALICE COOPER have played this stage and now it was the turn of these metal giants. As the venue filled up with punters it was, as predicted, a mesh of camouflage trousers and pirate gear; the co-headliners trademark uniform.
First to take to the stage were Swedish born BLOODBOUND and this was a set of power. Generally as an opening act to two Metal titans the pressure is higher than ever to win the crowd over; BLOODBOUND did incredibly well to secure some fans within their crowd that evening. With songs on their setlist including “In The Name Of Metal”, “Stormborn” and “Metalheads Unite” was enough to gain headbangers, fist pumping and cheers all round. There was even a moment during “Metalheads Unite” where two Metal brothers joined together in harmony along to the song. Beautiful moments like that make people proud to be a part of this community. With the positive reception from the crowd, fans queuing up to get merchandise signed and to have photos with them; it is incredibly safe to say they are more than welcome back to play Southampton again. The perfect choice to open up this evening of iconic metal.
The venue was filling up ready for the Metal pirates to take to the stage; the past few times ALESTORM have played in Southampton their concert venue has only seemed increase in size. 2012 saw them at The Cellar (formerly The Soul Cellar), 2014 saw them play The 1865 and 2016 now sees them at Southampton’s biggest music venue. It was confusing to see rubber ducks on the stage as part of their set but it seemed to delight the fans regardless; ALESTORM did always have a sense of humour. Their set provided booze, party, metal and a lot of fun; their setlist contained a great selection across their discography from the newer material such as “Magnetic North” and new anthem “Drink” to classics that never get old such as the metal sing along “Nancy The Tavern Wench” and “Keehauled” the setlist pleased fans all over the venue. They are usually a favourite live band to see amongst the metal community and this entertaining set provided clear evidence as to why that was. Those who have yet to see them, be prepared for melodies of theirs swimming around in your mind for days on end. That can be called the ALESTORM effect.
There are no introductions needed for a band like SABATON, whether you love them or hate them they have made a big impact on the Metal scene for over a decade. It was obvious from the moment the lights went down, who was in control of that crowd that evening. This was reinforced further when their intro music, consisting of Rock anthem “The Final Countdown” and their own instrumental “The March To War” were heard on the system. There performance contained a lot of things that pleased the crowd greatly; boundless energy, a strong sound, a sense of community, a killer setlist and of course the drum tank.
A particular highlight of that night during SABATON’s set was bassist Pär Sundström lead a whole venue of Metal heads into a sing song along to Monty Python’s “Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life”. The whistling then lead into one of their new anthems “To Hell And Back” where lots of bouncing took place. As well as those songs the setlist contained a number of the fan’s favourites including “Resist And Bite”, “Carolus Rex”, “The Art Of War” and of course not forgetting “Swedish Pagans”. They ended gallantly on “Primo Victoria” and “Metal Crüe”.
This night was one big Metal party, a place where people can enjoy themselves and smile about it. Fans are still buzzing about the show days later, it was the ultimate metal party people didn’t want to leave. If they ever tour together again be sure to catch them, you won’t regret it.
Words: Lotty Whittingham Photography: Tomasz Wrobel
For the full photo galleries of each band click on the links below.