Live review: Sabaton / Alestorm

Power metal heroes offer thanks, and tanks

Sabaton on stage
(Image: © Will Ireland)

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The first of two bands willing to wade deep into the preposterous, pirate-themed madcaps ALESTORM [6] take to the stage with a giant rubber duck for boozy, sea-themed shenanigans.

“I don’t care if you’ve got work tomorrow, you’re getting fucked up!” yelps hyperactive frontman Christopher Bowes, as the band stumble around excitedly, belting out the likes of Rum.

Alestorm survive an encounter with Moby Duck

Alestorm survive an encounter with Moby Duck (Image credit: Will Ireland)

SABATON’s [8] stage is heavy on the troop theme as two helmeted ‘guards’ enter to stand alongside the huge tank that’s centre stage. But theirs are the only stony faces you’ll see here tonight. The Final Countdown blares from the speakers before the camo-clad band stampede onstage with manic grins, hair swinging and legs lunging, and launch into Ghost Division.

After seven albums, there are clear Sabaton favourites; Swedish Pagans and Carolus Rex get everyone singing along passionately while frontman Joakim Brodén leaps around, managing to not lose his trademark shades, and offers heartfelt gratitude.

As they close with the cheesy power metal anthem Metal Crüe, the band run across the stage, the audience jump to the music and the massive tank flashes with bright lights. This is a band who can sell out stadiums all across mainland Europe, but they still give it their all at shows like tonight.

Hannah May Kilroy

Hannah May Kilroy has been writing about music professionally for over a decade, covering everything from extreme metal to country. She was deputy editor at Prog magazine for over five years, and previously worked on the editorial teams at Terrorizer and Kerrang!. She currently works as the production editor for The Art Newspaper, and also writes for the Guardian, Classic Rock and Metal Hammer.