It's usually a safe bet that if my photos are bad, the show was good. Looking at these photos, you are going to need to set your expectations pretty high. It was quite good, but sadly, I don't have time to tell you all about it, so here's just a quickie.
Topeka's Moonsick took the stage at 7:45. The witching hour. In truth they didn't take much of the stage as there wasn't much to take. With the touring acts back-lined, there was barely room for the trio to stand. Trio? Yes, trio. Two guitars (each providing vocals) and a drummer. No bass player. Maybe there just wasn't room? Anyway I'd call it technical death though I think the band prefers melodic death. Tomato, tomato. Plenty of blast beats. Some solid solos. A fair amount of melody. Long red hair. Tight as can be. The guys seemed nice. The audience loved 'em.
Aether Realm [marked as "Æther Realm" with the ash grapheme as evidently metal umlauts are passé] are bear metal. It's not a thing. But that's okay. The singer wore a bear head on his shoulder though. Not like pagan metal furs, but like dude around town with a dead bear on his shoulder. One guy in the band was wearing a John Prine shirt. Actually maybe that's how they do pagan metal in North Carolina. Anyway witty band. Funny jokes. Vocals from very gruff to pleasantly clean. Melodic death I suspect, but the (pre-recorded) keys made it seem a little jauntier and folk metal at times. Worked the audience like a pro, and the audience obliged every request for fist pumps. Band still cramped onto the tiny stage. Audience not faring much better.
Next up, Nekrogoblikon. I've wanted to see this band forever. Actually I've wanted to see John Goblikon forever. John's the goblin cheerleader for the band. He's a salesman. His boss is Brad. Brad is a dick. There's backstory you really should know. So they're obviously goblin metal. Which is also not a thing. So call it melodic death and some folk metal in because, again, the keys. That is unless the keys are providing some sort of jump-up-and-down EDM-type diversion. But lots of riffs. And lots of leads. So really, the band will do anything for a laugh. Like that band Lawnmower Deth. Remember them? "Satan's Trampoline?" No? Just me? Oh, John Goblikon is a good jumper, and he is very short. He didn't have much room to run around on the stage. No one did. Also I can attest that he is definitely not a human in a goblin costume.
When the roadies removed all the drape cloths that had hidden Alestorm's gear all night, there stood a 7' inflatable rubber ducky. That shit took up 30% of the stage. Here's a hint Alestorm, if you're playing a tiny venue, skip the duck so the opener doesn't have to leave their bass player in the van with a window cracked. This is Kansas City on a Thursday, not mainstage Wacken.
Anyway so roadies prepped the guitars and water fowl and all that while the audience packed in tighter. Then suddenly red and green lights that had been dark and stationary all night came up. New colors! Strobe lights! Blinding white search lights! Migraine! Curiously the majority of the fans around me were ladies. Good on you Kansas City. Only a few were dressed as wenches. Also good on you. Oh the band is pirate metal. That's actually kind of a thing. Maybe it's just folk metal though. The banter was silly and great. Fans knew all the words. Everyone was bouncing and jigging and head banging. I got whipped silly by some gal's hair. It didn't feel like Kansas City on a Thursday night. That duck is frickin' magic. I'd have been happier if the accordion bits were played on a real accordion and not a keytar, but hey I remember the '80s too. Set was long. The room got very steamy. My lenses all fogged up. The band closed with "Rum" and everyone left happy.
Nekrogoblikon didn't have any shirts in XL. I'm fat.