Alestorm, Elvenking & Glyph – Pittsburgh, PA 3/26/2024

So it was Tuesday, and essentially the beginning of the weekend for those who signed up to see Alestorm, Elvenking and Sylph in concert.  The rain was coming down hard as we drove up to Stage AE on Pittsburgh’s Northside, but that didn’t stop fans of all ages from lining up outside the venue dressed as pirates and wenches as the waited to enter the venue for what promised to be a night of beer drinking fun!

Not being a drinker myself, I find such humor behind the logic of getting drunk and nursing a hangover, but I guarantee that the crowd last night would disagree with my thinking. In fact, the first time I saw Alestorm, it was in front of thousands of European ale drinking fans at Download Festival in France and it was so much fun that I decided to catch them again in my hometown.

As we entered the venue the crowd inside was even bigger than the one outside and after drying off and prepping my gear, I noticed that there was a formation of a line across the general admission floor that had accrued since the doors opened.  It was almost as big of a crowd as could be found posturing in front of the stage, and it was to buy merch to boast how each an everyone of them had partied like a pirate.  So for those who say that metal is dead here in the United States, I beg to differ.  It is just a question of which brand of metal is in town… In this case, the night began with a band of aliens called Glyph that instantly won us over with catchy melodies and a unique backstory.

When I say aliens, they are not the first and certainly won’t be the last band to inform us that they have come here from another planet, but this was my first history lesson on their home of Volaria.

The self-proclaimed intergalactic power-metal band first surfaced at Mad With Power Fest last August, and are set to release their first album on Friday.  They are Jeff Black (keys), R.A. Voltaire (vocals), Rob Steinway (guitar), Darin Wall (bass), and touring drummer Ryan Yancey.  Voltaire tells us that Cody Anstey performed drum duties on the the album, and that they have not yet found a permanent drummer for the band.

We would have loved to have learned more, but decided to keep our distance after the frontman described the illness that was taking his energy away.  They are indeed a rather new ensemble formed by musicians from the bands Gatekeeper, Greyhawk, Ravenous, E.H., and HJELVIK, with surprisingly just a handful of shows under their belts.

The songs from Gylph tell a story that follow the history of their home planet Volaria and include powerful cuts like “When the World Was Young,” and the fist-pounding anthem “Honor, Power, Glory.”  There is a story behind their hate for dragons, who sadly destroyed their planet and merch to drive the point home.  But, for those who are curious about the details, a pixel art video game retelling the story can be found on their website.  And for those wondering where they fit on a bill with Alestorm, it is important to note that their drink of choice is called volarad, which they describe as tasting a lot like acid (what else could you expect from aliens?).

The evening transitioned from the alien rock opera of Gylph to the folklore of the Italian metal band Elvenking.

The current line-up of Elvenking consists of Davide “Damnagoras” Moras (vocals), Federico “Aydan” Baston and Mattia “Headmatt” Carli (guitar), Alessandro “Jakob” Jacobi (bass), Simone “Symohn” Morettin (drums), and Fabio “Lethien” Polo (violin). However, the sixth member Lethien wasn’t available for the initial tour dates and as such the violin parts were pre-recorded, which was disappointing given that the violin is a big part of what gives the band their renaissance sound.

While there was no violin on stage, the make-up and props, including a microphone stand that appeared to literally be forged in metal, spoke to the folklore theme around the band.  They appeared as if they’d been brought to life out of Shakespearean play or a darker Brother’s Grimm fairytale.  Perhaps that is part of the reason German label AFM Records took an interest in the band early in their career.

Today, in support of their latest release Reader of the Runes- Rapture, which was released on AFM nearly a year agoElvenking is wining over new fans with their danceable melodies, hitting hard with metal influences while encouraging one to tap their feet in celebration.

Their set at Stage AE kicked off with “Rapture” and “The Hanging Tree” from that album, which is the second release from the band’s Reader of the Runes trilogy. The story began in 2019 with the Divination chapter of the concept trilogy, which introduced their followers to a whole new world.

The band played on with several more pagan anthems before closing out the night with “Elvenligions,” a song dedicated to their fans, a lively crowd, who they encouraged to speak up throughout the evening. Honestly, some of the best fist-pounding, moshing, and stage diving participation we’ve seen at a concert in a very long time unfolded during their performance.

Alestorm kicked off this North American tour, just in time for the newly released EP, Voyage of the Dead Marauder, on Napalm Records. The release, which dropped last Friday, is causing an eruption of pirate parties. As I write this, Detroit is leading the charge this evening as the tour rages on there with. Wisconsin soon to follow.  The band’s new single “Uzbekistan,” which teaches geography to the greatest historians about the famous pirate-sea-land, is almost as infectious as cuts like “Mexico” or “Wenches & Mead.”  And, on a dreary rainy night, it allowed us to imagine a lang of sunshine and of course good drinks!

The line-up features Christopher Bowes (vocals, keytar), Gareth Murdock (bass), Mate Bodor (guitar), Peter Alcorn (drums), and Elliot Vernon (keyboards). They were joined for two songs by Patty Gurdy, the first of which included the epic title track from the new EP, “Voyage of the Dead Marauder.” Her vocals added a magical touch to the anthem reminiscent of bands like Visions of Atlantis as her mere wardrobe added an edge of class to the ensemble, and when she began to sing, it merely elevated the previously juvenile atmosphere.

There’s nothing wrong with juvenile, however, as that is what the crowd signed up for, correct?  With my favorite selection being “Hangover,” which is so simple, honest, and hilarious, it is magnificent! You just know that the majority of the audience is singing along and thinking, ‘I’ll drink to that’ (hence the earlier mention of calling it an early weekend). And you know damn well that we all came to see the giant ducks!

This new Alestorm EP succeeds the band’s chart-topping previous album, Seventh Rum of a Seventh Rum, which debuted at #7 on the German album charts and #5 on both the US Current Hard Music and Top New Artist Albums charts upon release, as well as six further humorous masterpieces. After a successful UK and Ireland tour supported by Korpiklaani and label mates Heidevolk, and voyage across the pond, they are currently headlining venues in North America!  Additional dates for the “Tour Of The Dead Marauder” with Elvenking and Glyph and upcoming festival appearances can be found below, should you choose to join them and raise a glass!

ALESTORM Live 2024 “Tour Of The Dead Marauder” with Elvenking & Glyph

27.03.24 US – Detroit, MI / The Majestic
29.03.24 US – Milwaukee, WI / The Rave
30.03.24 US – Omaha, NE / The Admiral
02.04.24 CA – Winnipeg, MB / Park Theatre
03.04.24 CA – Saskatoon, SK / Coors Event Centre
05.04.24 CA – Edmonton, AB / Midway Music Hall
06.04.24 CA – Calgary, AB / The Palace Theatre
08.04.24 CA – Vancouver, BC / Commodore
09.04.23 US – Spokane, WA / Knitting Factory
10.04.24 US – Boise, ID / Knitting Factory
12.04.24 US – Sacramento, CA / Ace of Spades
13.04.24 US – Santa Ana, CA / The Observatory
15.04.24 US – Tucson, AZ / Rialto Theatre
16.04.24 US – Albuquerque, NM / Sunshine Theater
18.04.24 US – Oklahoma City, OK / Diamond
19.04.24 US – St. Louis, MO / Red Flag
20.04.24 US – Indianapolis, IN / Old National
21.04.24 US – Nashville, TN / Marathon

Alestorm Festivals 2024
28.06.24 FI – Tuska / Sulvilahti
05.07.24 DE – Rock Harz / Ballenstedt
11.07.24 HU – Rockmaraton / Dunaújváros
12.07.24 CZ – Masters of Rock / Vizovice
13.07.24 AT – Area 53 / Leoben
14.07.24 NL – Pirate Metal Party / Helmond
17.07.24 RO – Metalhead Meeting / Bucharests
20.07.24 IT – Luppolo in Rock / Cremona
10.08.24 ES – Leyendas del Rock / Villena

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So, watch for continued coverage from this month’s Monsters of Rock Cruise as well as local shows and regional shows with Alestorm, Elvenking and Glyph; Joe Satrianiand Steve Vai; Firewind; and Queensryche and Armored Saint shows coming next month.  And in May, you’ll find us at the M3 Rock Festival in Baltimore.

Coverage by Editor and founder Kara Marie Uhrlen posted on 3/27/2024.  All event photos are property of photographer Kara Uhrlen and The Pure Rock Shop.