The Pagan Knights tour hit the US shores this year with Suidakra and their folk influenced Black / Death metal. Alestorm with their unique Pirate metal. And Tyr as headliners. Staff from Infernal Masquerade attended to two show of this tour. You will find the full reviews here. Also be sure to check out the interviews conducted with the bands (thanks to Cartel, the tour manager for scheduling the interviews).
Note: All pictures were taken at the Salt Lake City show. Go to our myspace page to see the full set of pictures.
The Launch Pad (Albuquerque, NM) - Monday, 9 March, 2009 by Proof Of Existence
If you have never been to The Launch Pad in Albuquerque, you probably wouldn’t understand the unique environment the venue presents for concerts. The venue consists of a bar front, a loft (21+) and a main floor with a small stage in back for the bands. House capacity is around 300 people, so whomever you’re going to see, you know it will be an intimate experience with the bands. The Pagan Knights Tour was an excellent example of this band-to-fan interface.
Starting off with SuidAkra, a German band with Celtic folk undertones, lead singer Arkadius Antonik immediately addressed the people on the main floor. The set was short (about 45 minutes) and was mostly played from their new album Crógacht (Released in the US on 3 March, 2009). The acoustics in The Launch Pad were perfect for the melodic sounds and bagpipe accompaniments. SuidAkrA put on an excellent show both musically and performance wise, as they played to the audience (especially the people in the loft who were enjoying their beer during the show).
The second band on stage, and probably the loudest of the show, was Celtic Pirate metal band, Alestorm. Having never seen the band members before, I can say I was a touch disappointed that they didn’t come on stage in full pirate drab, however guitarist Dani Evans was wearing a full length Scottish Kilt. Alestorm followed SuidAkrA’s lead in playing to the small audience. There was a great deal of drink hoisting for fan favorites like Wenches and Mead and Nancy the Tavern Wench. The keyboards, played by vocalist Christopher Bowes, were every bit as good live as they had been on Captain Morgan’s Revenge (2008). Also performing for about 45 minutes on stage, Alestorm performed many songs from the Captain Morgan album with Leviathan and Heavy Metal Pirates from the Leviathan EP (2008).
Viking-Folk metal band TÝR, was the band I was most excited to see. They came on stage and started off with a cover of The Wild Rover from the Eric the Red album (2003). The sound quality was excellent and the band sounded exactly the same as they do in their albums, so musically they were exactly as I had hoped. However, unlike the previous acts, and perhaps as a result of them, TÝR lacked any type of charisma on stage. The music and set list were both exceptional, not focusing on any one album, but lead singer Heri Joensen didn’t seem to be too excited to be performing in Albuquerque. This seemed to be felt by the majority of onlookers, and the audience participation during songs was minimal. As satisfying as the music was, it was difficult not to walk away a bit disappointed with their lack of enthusiasm.
When all was said and done, I would like to say that it was the best show I have seen for a mere 12.00 USD. If you have the opportunity to see this tour, as a fan of one any of the bands, you won’t be disappointed with the overall quality of the music and performances.
Club Vegas (Salt Lake City, UT) - Monday, 16 March, 2009 by Dark Emperor
I usually don’t drive 6 hrs to see a show, but this tour provided enough bands that I wanted to see so I made the drive to Salk Lake City. The drive was well worth it because of the great performances put up by the headlining bands.
I had to miss the first two local bands because I was interviewing band members from: Suidakra, Alestorm and Týr. But from the last few minutes I got to listen to one of the bands and I regret that I missed them.
The night, for me, was kicked off with Suidakra. This band provided enough energy to get everybody going from start to end. I’ve been listening to Suidakra for quite a few years and I have to say their latest release is one of their strongest ones, so I was quite eager to catch them live. Their set felt short but it was very powerful and diverse providing some of their best songs older, and emphasizing on new material. Arkadius is very good as a front man and always tries to keep the crowd going in Salt Lake he was able to get some of the most energetic responses from the night. Their set felt short but it was perfectly executed all songs sounded very good, and while not all the keyboard samples where played during the songs, when they where present they boosted the overall feeling of their performance.
Next up where the Pirates from Scotland named Alestorm. Their set was amazing from start to end. I really love their music and live they bring all the elements that make them great, and they provide enough energy and the right vibe to the performance. One thing that was missing, in my opinion, to complete the right feel to the performance was that the band would really be benefited by using some stage props, at least a fake parrot in Christopher’s keyboard guitar strap. The only one kind of dressed for the occasion was Danni, their now guitar player, was wearing a Scottish kilt. But enough of my rants, their set list provided the best drinking songs of the night, as well as a collection of hits from their albums. The crowd energy was at an all time high by then end of their performance, end every body seemed to enjoy themselves. I have to say that Alestorm’s unique musical sound is perfectly translated to their live performances.
Last but not least, Týr came up, and like always their unique and complex spoke for it self. Týr provided a very powerful sounding set that was probably the most technically complex of the night. By this time many people have left, but I guess it was their loss. The band managed to do a good job at involving the crowd that was left. The majority of the people left in the bar were raising their horns and chanting along the band. I must say that while I like Týr’s music very much, there was a clear change of intensity from Alestorm to Týr because of the nature of the music this is probably why some people left, but I was exactly where I wanted to be. I’ve seen them before at Tuska 2008 and this performance reminded me very much of that one, and also if you see the live in Wacken 2007 performance, it’s also very similar. Looks like Týr has a ‘script’ for live performances.
The Pagan Knights Tour provides a great opportunity for the US fans and metal head to see these great bands that in previous years would have been nearly impossible to see them live in the US.