Ye Banished Privateers - 'First Night Back In Port'

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Ye Banished Privateers - 'First Night Back In Port'

These privateers have tales of war, wine and wayfarers – and they tell it so well.

"Fresh from their Scandinavian tour, the show to rival all shows comes to the heart of London's theatreland! In the West End for the first time, this jolly Jack Tar tale has more yo ho ho per hour than 'Pirates Of The Caribbean' – now with even more men on a dead man's chest..."

It helps if you think of this as a musical theatre piece. This isn't Rock... not remotely Rock if I am honest. This troupe (twenty-five in some counts) base their music on Scandinavian and Irish Folk music, with lyrics based on actual events. Even Alestorm have some riffs.

It's as if some songs start with a door opening to a grog-addled party in the middle of a communal singsong. Some will love this and it is interesting to hear. What is more interesting though is the drama, the interplay of voices and the storytelling; this is pretty fantastic.

'Coopers Rum' sets up this musical theatre, a barnstorming beginning and even when it settles into the drinking song style, it returns to the dynamics, as does 'Skippy Aye Yo', playing with different vocalists to take us to different places. 'Ringaroo At Cooper's Inn' has a Cabaret slant and a Gogol Bordello vibe, jousting vocal lines and a triumphant excitement, while their signature offering 'We Are Ye Banished Privateers' breaks out an accordion and basks on the quayside at Cadiz. Stay on the line after the final waves break on the beach though because there's a quite lovely aching bonus track.

It's a really interesting ride this, theatrical as an Ian McKellen fan club and full of fun, just look at 'Devil's Bellows' for nine minutes of tale-telling fun, these scurvy sons (and daughters) of the sea have a lovely light sound too, lots of pipes and fiddles, it works as a Folk feel but it's so much more than that.

These privateers have tales of war, wine and wayfarers – and they tell it so well. Pass the porter, splice the mizzen, the fleet's in!

Steve Swift

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