Pagan Knights Walk the Highline

Show date: March 29, 2009
Venue: Highline Ballroom
, NY
Bands: Tyr, Alestorm, Suidakra

Odin must have been smiling as three of the best Folk Metal bands around took the stage. Suidakra, Alestorm, and Tyr once again pillaged NYC.

The first of the night was a lesser-known (at least to me) band by the name of Suidakra. Hailing from Western Germany, Suidakra kicked things off with “War Tunes”, from their album The Arcanum, and didn’t let off of the throttle for the rest of the set. Unfortunately, the crowd didn’t seem as enthused as I, or my partner for the evening was. They opened to a small crowd; which did grow as the set went on, but seemed mostly uninterested in what they were hearing. Arcaduis (lead vocals) did manage to get a “wall of death” going, though it was rather lack-luster.

The sparse crowd and their lack of energy didn’t detract from my overall enjoyment of the show. Personally, I’ve been waiting to see Suidakra live for quite some time and tonight’s performance didn’t disappoint one bit. I do wish they weren’t limited to only a thirty minute set, but they were able to play a good sample of music from their greater than fifteen year career, including a few songs from their newest album Crógacht, released this past March.

Next up were those purveyors of true Scottish Pirate Metal, Alestorm. These rowdy Scots leapt onto the stage with quite a pop. Just think of them as a pirate version of Flogging Molly. With songs such as “Capitan Morgan’s Revenge”, “Wenches and Mead”, and “Keelhauled”, Alestorm was packing more gunpowder than the Queen Anne’s Revenge. They were even able to pull off a more spectacular “wall of death”. Yes, Alestorm was the draw of the evening; there was far less space to be had during their set. I can’t blame the crowd though. Alestorm had a quirky energy that I haven’t experienced at a show in quite some time. After their set was done, so was the crowd as a lot of them dispersed. Be sure to check out Alestorm’s new album, Black Sails at Midnight, due to be released in June.

All the way from the Faroe Islands of the far North Atlantic, Tyr was the headliner of the evening. These true Pagan Knights brought their Progressive/Folk Metal sound to the stage, albeit to a slightly reduced crowd than Alestorm had previously. I do admit that Tyr isn’t the best band to follow up the high an energy level of Alestorm. Though I do enjoy Tyr’s hard yet mellow sound and their Nordic lore based lyrics, they just don’t have the same kick that Alestorm does. While playing songs like” Hold the Heathen Hammer High”, “Sinklars Visa”, and” Regin Smidur” they left me with the same feeling I had when I first saw them at last year’s Paganfest. I felt they would be better enjoyed in a more traditional setting, like a group of Vikings telling stories and singing songs by firelight in a Mead Hall. Tyr’s new album, By the Light of the Northern Star, will be out this coming May.

All in all the night’s festivities were a big hit. This was a great preview of what’s to come with Paganfest 2009, which will be kicking off in Canada on April 29th and coming to Irving Plaza in New York City on May 4th. Don’t miss it!


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