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Review: Various Artists - Pagan Knights Tour
Various Artists
Pagan Knights Tour
Venue: The Marquee
City: Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA

Show date: March 07, 2009
Guests: Suidakra, Alestorm, Tyr

Review online: March 13, 2009
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Readers Rating
Pagan Knights Tour

Rated 5/5 (100%) (2 Votes)

I was extremely jazzed to see this show, as I am a big fan of Suidakra and Tyr, and I think Alestorm are pretty kickass too. Any one of them I would have come to see by themselves, but on one bill it was impossible to pass up.

The doors opened at 7, so I arranged to show up around 8. I got there right in the middle of an opening set by a local band whose name was either "Safina" or "Sarafina" – I didn't catch it. They were a seven-person band with four girls and a frontwoman and a lead violinist. They played mostly Nightwish and Edenbridge covers, but were really together and tight for all that. Their singer seemed a bit overwhelmed, but I think she was really young. Overall they were one of the best opening acts I have seen. Rating: 4/5

I was expecting Alestorm first, but it seems the bands have been rotating spots as bands often do on long tours, so Suidakra opened things up with a blazing set. They played "Darkane Times" from Emprise To Avalon as well as a few tracks from Caledonia and almost half the Crogacht album: "Isle Of Sky", "Conlaoch", "Gilded Oars", and "Shattering Swords." The sound was really heavy on the low end, and so a lot of the leadwork and melodic guitars got lost in the double bass attack, but they still played hard and heavy. Rating: 4/5

Next up Alestorm took the stage and knocked everybody's socks off. This is the band I was least excited to be seeing, and they put on the best show. Frontman Chris Bowes is a big goofy kid playing a frigging keytar, but he has stage presence. They ripped through an energetic set including "Huntmaster", "Over The Seas", "Wenches And Mead", "Set Sail And Conquer", and the ultimate crowd-pleaser "Captain Morgan's Revenge". The shout-along choruses went down a storm with the crowd, and the reel-type melodies led to some weird antics. There was a substantial punk/skinhead contingent at the show and they were having a blast. Alestorm's set led to the formation of a mosh pit, which I haven't seen in decades. And I have never seen a mosh pit spontaneously morph into a hornpipe, with drunken skinheads linking arms and dancing in a big circle, kicking their legs like chorus girls. Bizarre. Alestorm was easily the best act onstage all night. Rating: 5/5

I had not expected a big draw for this show, but I had completely discounted the veneration of Tyr by the sizeable local pagan community. There was a big crowd of people there from the local Society For Creative Anachronism decked out in their forked beards and Thor's Hammers. A big chunk of the crowd left after Alestorm, and out of maybe 200 people at the height, for Tyr's show it was down to maybe 80. But those 80 were religiously into the band. Heri Joensen has replaced his chainmail with a killer suit of custom leather armor emblazoned with runic ‘T's, and he cuts a commanding figure onstage. They played a heavy, intense set highlighted by fan favorites "The Edge", "Regin Smidur", "The Wild Rover", and "Hail To The Hammer", which almost whipped the crowd into a frenzy. Rating: 4.5/5

It was very cool for all the band members to filter out into the venue after their sets, mingling with the fans for pictures and autographs. I got Arkadius to sign some CDs for me, and was kicking myself for leaving my Tyr CDs at home. But nobody seemed in a rush, so I headed out, drove across town, and came back. Heri from Tyr was still hanging out chatting with fans, and so I got some autographs and just hung out and talked for a while. It was very cool of him, especially considering how tired they all must have been, and what a long drive they had to the next show on Sunday.

I have to say the show was kickass, and as the Pagan Knights tour is continuing on through the US and Canada for several more months, I highly recommend you catch it if it comes near you.

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