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Storming Across Europe @ Backstage, Munich, Germany, 2014

ALESTORM / Brainstorm / Crimson Shadows / Troldhaugen
in Thursday, 2 October 2014 at Backstage
by Erika Kuenstler

You can always tell it’s going to be a night of debaucherous fun when all the metalheads dress up as pirates. Add a national holiday and a whole load of awesome bands into the mix, and you know it’s going to be a killer night. And that’s exactly what was in store for Friday night, with Pirate Metal masters ALESTORM making Munich one of their final port of calls of their European tour.

Kicking off the night’s activities was TROLDHAUGEN, an Australian Folk Metal band. Having proved their mettle as opener band on ALESTORM’s Australian tour, TROLDHAUGEN were invited over to Europe to join the current lineup, and showed once again that they were an excellent choice. With this being their first tour of Europe, several people had never heard of them before, but the comical humour of the frontman along with their quirky music very quickly won the crowd over.  Delivering one fun song after another, TROLDHAUGEN were definitely one of the highlights of the night. To give you a feel of what they sound like, imagine the compositional skills of FINNTROLL melded with the wackiness of TROLLFEST. With the recent release of “Obzkure Anekdotez For Maniakal Massez”, most of their setlist stemmed from this album, although one of the songs that most captivated the crowd was a cover of ABBA’s hit, with the title modified to “Gimme Gimme Gimme (A Troll After Midnight)”. I’m sure TROLDHAUGEN earned themselves a number of new fans that night; if you’re into bands like NEKROGOBLIKON and TROLLFEST, definitely check them out!

1. Hunting Tactics for Mythical Creatures
2. Lefty's Wild Ride
3. The Good, the Bad, and the Gristle
4. Dia del Chupacabra
5. Viva Loa Vegas
6. Cut to the Chase
7. Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Troll After Midnight) (ABBA cover)
8. Swampstomper

Picking up from there was CRIMSON SHADOWS, a Canadian Power/Death Metal band. By this time, the initial smattering of a crowd had doubled in size, with a few people coming in from enjoying one of the last days of Oktoberfest, still kitted in the traditional lederhosen. Despite it being CRIMSON SHADOW’s first time in Munich, this band went down exceptionally well, and by the time they got to their last song “Heros Among Us”, the crowd was fully captivated by them. Despite their relatively short setlist, their excellent showmanship coupled with some truly stunning guitar work had the audience vociferously calling for an encore at the end of their set.

1. Rise to Power
2. A Gathering of Kings
3. Freedom and Salvation
4. Braving the Storm
5. Heroes Among Us

Penultimately, it was time for BRAINSTORM. Having been around for the last 25 years, and having the home-ground advantage, this band soon had the crowd practically frothing at the mouth. Playing Power Metal with heavy influences from other genres, this band had something to offer everyone. With the release of their album “Firesoul” earlier this year, several songs of their setlist came off of this opus, including the title track. This clearly was much to the approval of the audience, some of whom sang along word for word throughout their entire show. Indeed, BRAINSTORM were so well received that the atmosphere crackled with the excited spark usually reserved for the headlining act. Eagerly cheering along and pumping their fists in the air throughout the entire show, the only hint of disapproval from the crowd came when BRAINSTORM announced that it was time for their final song of the evening. Mollifying the crowd with promises to come back soon, frontman Andy threw his t-shirt into the crowd much to their delight. But all too soon it was the end of BRAINSTORM’s set, and the stage was cleared to make way for ALESTORM.

1. Highs Without Lows
2. Shiver
3. Firesoul
4. Fire Walk with Me
5. Worlds Are Comin' Through
6. Hollow Hideaway
7. Falling Spiral Down
8. Doorway to Survive
9. Shiva's Tears
10. …And I Wonder
11. How Do You Feel

Emotions were running high whilst the stage was being set up, and to ease this, the DJ played soundtracks taken from Disney movies, along with South Park’s song “Blame Canada”. With CRIMSON SHADOWS hailing from Canada, I’m not sure if this song choice was intentional or accidental, but still garnered a few laughs from those who got the little witticism. Nevertheless, this jocular attitude was clearly infectious, with the crowd alternatively howling for ALESTORM or chanting “We are here to drink your beer!”. And true to this motto, ALESTORM-shirt toting fans were thick on the ground, chatting and watching the stage being set up with an impatient air.
Finally it was time for the headliners of the night: ALESTORM. The stage had a minimalistic feel to it: a large but simple ALESTORM banner hung as a backdrop, with the drums set up to the side, making the stage look bigger than it had when the previous bands had played. With chants for the band starting long before their appearance on stage, it would be an understatement to say that the band was eagerly anticipated. Kicking off with “Walk the Plank”, ALESTORM had the audience completely under their thrall from the word go. Whilst the sound had been very good for the previous bands, ALESTORM did have a couple of technical problems at the beginning of their set. However, frontman Christopher took this in his stride, keeping the crowd entertained with his banter,

Possibly the star of the show however was Heinrich Von Monkeys Hausen, the hand puppet monkey that had previously been nestled in between a bottle of Jack Daniels and a bottle of rum hanging on the drum kit’s stand. Sharing keytar and vocal duties with frontman Christopher, Heinrich Von Monkeys Hausen played and sang along to “Midget Saw”, pausing briefly to get in a bit of headbanding or watch other band members play.
Also amusing was the staring contest between guitarist Dani and bassist Gareth, adjudicated by Christopher, all whist playing at the frantic pace set by “Pirate Song”. With Dani holding an impressive record of 8 wins in a row, and Gareth having never won a staring contest in his life, odds were not much in Gareth’s favour. Sure enough, after a minute’s intent staring, Gareth stepped off his podium, and Dani was crowned undefeated victor, cheered on by the laughing crowd.
However, this was not all, with the multitude of ALESTORM’s anthems cleverly distributed throughout the setlist. I thought that this song order was brilliant: too many bands follow the philosophy of “save the best for last”, and as a result, one feels like a child that must eat all the vegetables in the hopes of getting some desert too. But ALESTORM cunningly had spread out all the crowd favourites, thereby keeping the audience fully engage but still giving them enough time between anthems to catch their breath again. “Keelhauled” in particular turned the entire venue into a seething and writhing mass of jumping bodies, whilst the slow paced intro to “Wolves of the Sea” had people swaying about with lighters held up high, and “1741” had a massive wall of death that spanned the entire dance-floor of Backstage Club.

Normally I would list ALESTORM’s playlist here, but in this case, I’ll let it speak for itself. Here is the setlist for the “Comic Sansing Across Europe 2014”:
Such an epic night deserves an equally epic ending, and this is exactly what Christopher had in mind. Having finished up the last part of the last song of the evening, Christopher launched himself into the crowd, only to be borne aloft all the way to the bar, get bought a beer, and be carried back to the stage: an impressive ending to a legendary night!

Promoter: RTN Touring
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Edited 30 January 2023

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