Zippo Encore Stage - Saturday, June 10
By Eric Mackinnon
Christopher Bowes is delighted to sail the good ship Alestorm into the Donginton waters but the band’s frontman reckons they have been ‘neglected’ by the UK festival circuit in the past.
With just a solitary Bloodstock appearance and a single set at Sonisphere on their UK festival CV, Bowes fears festival promoters on home soil don’t consider Alestorm a serious band.
But now as they zero in on their Download Festival bow the main man is determined to make the most of this opportunity and show all involved Alestorm are a band which firmly puts the music first – and the gimmick firmly second.
“Download will be fun as we've never done it before and we've heard how big a thing it is to do,” explained Bowes.
“We have been neglected by the UK festival circuit a lot. We did Bloodstock once 10 -years ago and Sonisphere once too before that imploded. It'd be nice now to finally hit the big one.”
He went on: “I don’t know why we've been overlooked. I suppose it is because a lot of promoters don't take us seriously and think people don’t actually likes us as a band.”
The subject of Steel Panther comes up as an example of a band with a gimmick and a group who are hugely popular and don’t take themselves seriously.
“'But people take their lack of seriousness, seriously,” said Bowes. “People think we are a stupid band and no one likes us. With Steel Panther people say they are a stupid band but people love them. I don't really know.
“We will do well and we will do a big smashing show at Download and it'll be fun.”
Bowes also reveals the band are looking forward to their set at Download so much they are preparing to break a six-year long absence from the rehearsal room.
“Download will be the first show after our new album comes out,” says Bowes, with ‘No Grave But The Sea’ due to drop on May 26.
“So we have only ever played one new song live but at Download we will want to play a couple more because the album will be fresh out and people want to hear them. This will mean we will be playing songs we have never even rehearsed before infront of who knows, 50,000 people?
“We haven't had a rehearsal since 2011 and we have changed guitarist and added a keyboard player since then. I think we are going to have a rehearsal this time and we are going to book a room before hand which will be exciting and Download will be the first festival show that ever made us want to rehearse. It'll be nervy playing these songs live for the first time but I'm sure it'll be good.”
He added: “I used to think I loved wee shows but now I realise I was wrong. There is nothing better than big show with a million people screaming back at you. It's fun. I don't think we are a gimmick band.
“Sure there is the whole pirate shtick but the songs are good. The music comes first and the gimmick is always second.
“People can see we are actually good and I hope we show that but maybe people will just want to see us drink rum and wear pirate hats.”