As local quarantining becomes more and more important, bands are finding alternative ways to share their music and continue their planned events. Coming to our attention most recently was the Swedish band of buccaneers, Ye Banished Privateers, who had to cancel their album release show for Hostis Humanis Generis. Well, rather than cancel completely, instead they did a very comprehensive virtual release stream on March 28th, 2020, to which we tuned in!
Follow the set as a playlist on Spotify:
The stream began with a live spoken greeting on top of a scrolling backstory on the band, which seemed like it may have been accidental. The backstory restarted after a few moments, telling a tale about the band’s “history” that fans may or may not have already known. Once the story finished, a slightly sheepish and giggly MC greeted the crowd properly, introducing the night, promising not only a show but also interviews and an afterparty. She told the history of how she discovered the band and directed attention to their donation page, Patreon, merch, and so on. She also asked viewers to leave their stories about the band and questions for the band in the comments, and promised that people could vote for things like who would get hit by a bottle.
The event started with a screening and commentary of their new video, “Rowing with One Hand.” Following this, the MC spoke to the band, asking some basic introductory questions like how they were formed and how many of them are really in the band, before showing another music video, “No Prey, No Pay.” This was followed by more interview questions on the new album and its concept; while the video had played, one of the band members swapped out so there was someone new to interview.
As an interlude, the band got up on stage and began to play a song that made us want to bounce about. The sound here wasn’t optimised for the dual nature of the stream and so the performance felt a bit like a recording of friends in a bar, or more accurately, a bunch of privateers in a tavern singing shanties. It was, in its own way, kind of perfect. This was followed by a commentary for another video, “Annabel” and after some more questions, the video for their 360 video, “First Night Back in Port.” The MC asked them about moving to Napalm Records off their independent label, and then had a comedic call from who may or more likely not was the CEO of Napalm.
At last, it was time for the show to start proper. A cloaked plague doctor with an incense lantern was the first visual on camera and we soon got to see how many of them there truly are on stage. They opened with an extremely catchy and fun shanty, “Bring Out Your Dead” that got us excited and dancing about.
The band greeted the crowd and spoke about how they didn’t want to cancel their release show, so they are excited to stream from an empty auditorium. The stream was well-filmed with nice angles and tasteful cuts, making it fun and easy to watch. The band really is a collection of people more so than a band, per se, and hearing them all sing together creates a totally new atmosphere that was a ton of fun to watch.
One of the women in the band came forward and rocked a very impressive vibratto for “Cooper’s Rum” and thanked everyone for watching and allowing them to still put on the show from their small town in northern Sweden. They then explained the backstory for “Elephants’ Dance” before starting right in. “I Dream of You” is about being far from home and they wanted to rewrite it for people stuck at home who can’t get out and see anyone. After “Annabel,” they had an interlude where the MC spoke with some people from behind the scenes and they announced that there were results now for the bottle smash and the song choice, which would be soon revealed.
The performance had everything you would hope for and more from a band of people who look like they came straight out of Tortuga: great costumes, a wide assortment of instruments from violins and accordion to marimba (which was a highlight of “Capstan Song”) and harpsichord, and more tricorns and eyeliner than anyone strictly needs. The atmosphere was fantastic, perhaps at its best in stomping fun songs like “They are Marching Down on Highstreet.” Following this, a judge came out to sentence the accordionist; his defense was in the form of a song, sung from a witness box. He was nevertheless strangled by the judge in the end for his crime and they played mournfully on the strings as he was given a funeral with “Death of Bellows.” He popped back up, however, for “Gangplank.” The whole band had died by the end of “Yellow jack” but the accordionist gave some hope to the world by having the viewers think of a better place, and they finished up the show with “Libertalia.”
The show ended as the band took their bows and the afterparty began. You can view the full set and the afterparty online now:
Coming into this stream with no prior knowledge of Ye Banished Privateers, we had a ton of fun and they did a great job showcasing their new album. This band is something totally unique and fun, with a lot to see and experience. While this type of music isn’t my personal go-to, I can imagine putting this band on at a party or in the background while working easily to create atmosphere. We were very impressed by the whole production as well, not only the show but the extra material, interviews, and video commentaries, and frankly, we recommend that you check it out!
1. Bring Out Your Dead
2. We are Ye Banished Privateers
3. Cooper’s Rum
4. Elephants’ Dance
5. I Dream of You
7. Ship is Sinking
8. Parting Song
9. Capstan Shanty
10. They are Marching Down on High Street
11. Rowing with One Hand
12. Death of Bellows
14. Yellow Jack