CONCERT REVIEW: Avast Ye! ALESTROM and Hearties at The Knit


It was the tenth of March at the Knitting Factory in Boise, Idaho in 2024. Hundreds of people gathered for this event that was about to sweep the night away with drunken debauchery. I sat at my table looking around at the crowd just to find a couple of pirates like out of a Where’s Waldo book. Sadly, I did not find Waldo, just his two hearties. As more and more people filled the venue, I had a feeling it was going to be an epic night. Alestorm was about to take the bounty right out of Boise, Idaho’s crowd, and the crowd was willingly offering it.

As the lights dimmed, five men stormed the stage with their weapons of choice; Ryan Yancey with conviction sitting at the drumset, Jeff Black holding his keytar ready for anything, Rob Steinway gripping his guitar with determination, Darin Wall (who Boise considers the unsung hero), clenching his bass with bravery, and R.A. Voltaire snatching the mic and bursting with self-confidence. While they looked like people, we learned quickly they were in fact, aliens and they were known as Glyph. As the band started to play, it did not take the crowd long to recognize that these aliens were immensely talented and insanely entertaining. This intergalactic five-piece had everyone chanting, singing, clapping, moshing, everything they asked, the crowd was quick to do. Alien mind control perhaps? Or maybe just that enticing of a live performance. Voltaire’s vocal range and clarity were brilliant and beautiful. Steinway and Black had a legendary keytar and guitar battle, which I had not seen before that night. Yancey tore it up on the drums while Wall hammered his bass lines with tenacity. The vocal harmonizing between Voltaire, Black, and Steinway was phenomenal. Glyph played songs titled; “Storm of the Crimson Fire”, “When the World was Young”, “Defy the Night”, and “Volarad”. They completely stole the night with their high-energy alien humor and had the crowd chanting their name before their set even ended.

Elvenking took the stage next as vocalist Davide Moras ran out with antlers to set the scene of the folk, power metal outfit they are. Electric violinist Fabio Polo stole my attention much of the time due to his unique instrument and stage presence. They had some theatrics to their set from their look to their performance, and this created a very unique visual. Both Federico Baston and Mattia Carli were inspiring to see as they took turns completely shredding it on guitar. The set included songs like; “The Hanging Tree”, “Moonbeam Stone Circle”, “Pagan Purity”, “Silverseal”, and “Elvenlegions”, which I think we can all agree are exceptional titles. Drummer Simone Morettin had some insatiable beats and fillers. I zeroed in on him for a while watching his fillers in awe. I was particularly impressed with the musical shifts in some of the songs and the mix from clean to harsh vocals from Moras. Alessandro Jacobi had high energy as he moved around freely with bass in hand. You could tell Elvenking were no strangers to live performances and looked at ease on stage, their natural environment.

While waiting for the headliners, the crowd observed a giant rubber ducky being inflated, which Alestorm fans know is the “mascot” of the band. I also noticed the giant Cthulu on the drummer Peter Alcorn’s bass drum,  adding to the pirate theme of this Scottish band. Ahoy! It was time to begin, as the seadogs jetted to the stage with their confidence and, well, ale. Christopher Bowes demanded the attention as he quickly jumped into the first song on his keytar and belted out, “Keelhauled”, along with fellow band members: Gareth Murdock (bass, backing vocals), Elliot Vernon (keyboard, harsh vocals), Alcorn, and Mate Bodor (guitar, backing vocals), plunging in. Bowes was wearing his recognizable kilt, sandals, and rubber ducky hat, and the crowd lost their minds with excitement. Murdock and Bodor appeared as if they had just come from the gym or would be going after the show with their spandex, headband, and sleeveless shirts. Vernon was amusing and lively to watch throughout, he had so much energy and personality. As soon as Vernon took his shirt off, about five to six men in the crowd followed along and it became a half-naked, sweaty moshpit. While it was easy to see this band loves to have fun, this does not take away from the seriousness and talent of these musicians. They were tight and masters of their instruments. Bodor and Bowes had some fun interactions back and forth including some impressive jumps as they played. When you thought it couldn’t be any more entertaining, Barbara Blackthorne (Empress), joined them and sang her heart out to, “Voyage of the Dead Marauder”. She was extraordinary as her voice carried clear and breathtaking through the crowd. She also joined them for, “Zombies Ate My Pirate Ship”. Her brilliance next to Bowes rough, pirate vocal style, was the perfect match you wouldn’t expect. Alestorm also played: “Under Blacked Banners”, “Wenches and Mead”, “Mexico” (a crowd favorite), “Nancy the Tavern Wench”, “Drink”, and “Fucked with an Anchor”, along with many others.

Blimey! It was a fun night of top-notch musicians and entertainers from the beginning of the night to the end. Everyone brought their A-game and I can guarantee we all left a sweaty mess of fans. If you have never seen any one of these three bands, I highly encourage you to change that.

Photos by Katarzyna Cepekcc Photography


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