Sabaton/Alestorm/Thaurorod Slade Rooms, Wolverhampton - 15th October 2010 By Ellie McGee Photography unavailable due to stolen camera. Bastards. Perhaps not the most obvious of touring combinations, Sabaton and Alestorm have been all over Europe this autumn, on the kind of tour thats measured in months, rather than weeks or nights. That said, epic is hardly a new concept for either band, so it was rather appropriate that the Slade Rooms (formerly known as the Little Civic) were easily the most packed and vocal Ive seen them since the venue moved. This was certainly a crowd very much up for singing, drinking, and general hot, sweaty debauchery. Opening support consisted of Thaurorod, who were already working up a storm by the time we fought our way through the crowd standing at the back to observe isnt exactly practical at 5ft and they were being very well received for an opening act. Whether that was the crowd warming themselves up for Alestorm and Sabaton, or Thaurorod bringing their own fanbase with them, it was nice to see an opener getting such a reaction. The set itself was full of energy and highly proficient; although I was left with the impression they still have some growing to do as a band. Still, Im not complaining about melodic/symphonic metal with a liberal dash of power metal and general excess, especially when its as well put together as this. Talking of general excess, what can you really say about Alestorm? Ive been trying to do them justice in reviews for a few years now, and it never gets any easier. I could waffle about their musicality and technical excellence until the cows come home, but that would be missing the point by a nautical mile and then some. The point being that Alestorm are one of the most entertaining live bands on earth, providing you have the necessary inclination towards ale and cracking drinking songs. The setlist held a few slight surprises Over The Seas and Wolverhamptons Of The Sea (!) and a new song about rum called, in true Alestorm fashion, Rum. On the grounds that I should probably write something vaguely serious about them: theyre a lot better for a long break from touring, the Black Sails At Midnight material sounds phenomenal now theyre comfortable playing it live (especially Keelhauled) and, well, they get better every time I see them. All together now: I want more wenches! More wenches and mead! After waving a pint in the air to Alestorm and relieving the merch table of an assortment of piratical items (including a lighter I've now lost - gutted), it was time for Sabaton. Having not seen them before, I was pleasantly surprised by the sheer enthusiasm of the set they belted out at full volume and then some. Starting off with The Final Countdown may not have been everyones cup of tea, but launching straight into Ghost Division soon put any doubts to bed. Highlights were a cracking rendition of 40:1 and the appearance of some of their older material towards the end. Not having seen them before, it was wonderfully easy to get caught up in it and join in with the most enthusiastic crowd I've seen since, well, Alestorm. Despite my initial scepticism, the line-up turned out to be very well matched, and each band lead seamlessly into the next and made for quite the show. Considering I hadn't seen two of three before, it turned into what is easily one of the best gigs I've been to for quite a while. Usually I whinge about levels and coherency etc (poor sound is a massive pet hate of mine), but like the couple of other gigs I've been to at the new Little Civic, there were no major issues that I noticed. The bands seem to get on, so here's hoping we'll see this combination again!