THE WORLD’S BIGGEST
FLOATING HEAVY METAL FESTIVAL
January 24 – 28, 2011
Miami FL – Cozumel MEXICO – Miami FL
The Photo Gallery
DAY TWO – Heaven or hell? (Mostly heaven!)
Ready for boarding!! The excitement was as thick as the humid air. Despite heavy traffic it was very cool to see the many metal fans heading to the board. We were waiting at a light in our cab and who should pull up in a cab next to us? Tom from Sodom! We had met in Calgary at the Noctis IV Metal Fest and we yelled hello. The entire boarding procedure was quick and easy…so many black shirts and tattoos! The look on some of the other people going on ‘regular’ cruises was hilarious. I thought a pair of little old ladies we passed were going to have a heart attack on the sidewalk! The staff were amused and pleased to see a little life coming on board. As Edguy says…”welcome to the freakshow”!! We were standing in line just in front of the Metal-pirates of Swashbuckle!! This was a good omen as were were about to board the Metal Majesty of the Seas!!
The first few minutes were just heaven…everywhere you look we would see one of the Metal Gods. As we walked the ship we would here over and over, “Isn’t that Chuck from Testament?” “Hey, isn’t that Peavy from Rage?” “Look! it’s Biff!!”. The energy and excitement was very high as everyone, bands, fans and staff were ready to rock the high seas. The pirate ale was broken out of the locker and everyone started to party. Everyone was checked in, gear stowed and peopled wandered exploring the ship and talking excitedly about who they wanted to see most.
The mood started to turn a little sour as the logistical staff seemed a little overwhelmed. The boat left two hours late as stages and rigging were set in place. Things started to get a little ugly as Exodus (the first band of the night) had their set delayed by a full hour by technical difficulties. It was not the bands fault but a few fans who had been drinking heavily for several hours were in full-on pirate hostility mode. The security guards blocking the door to the main stage were almost taught a lesson in violence!! Calm was restored, the schedule was re-set (pushed back on the other stages) so no one would miss the bands and hundreds of drunk, Exodus fans stormed the stage. In other words, a typical Exodus gig.
It would be virtually impossible to describe the sheer volume of cool events, people and things we saw but here is a quick overview of just a few highlights.
Exodus: The self-stated Guinea pigs had a few sound issues but launched us onto the highseas in high ferocity and velocity. Almost everyone on the boat was there!
Destruction: The first of many firsts of many first because neither of us had seen the band before. They played a cut from the new album, “Hate Is Our Fuel” and slayed everyone in attendance with “Mad Butcher”
Gamma Ray: Another packed gig in the main room with the power metal faithful headbanging and playing air-guitar like never before.
Sonata Arctica: The first band we saw outside at the Pool Stage. It was hot and dark miles from land by this point and the sea-spray coming off the front of the boat made for impressive effects in the lighting rigs and pots. Tony Kakko reminded the drunk fans that “Breakfast is the most important beer of the day!”
Marduk: The only representation of Black Metal was attended by the loyal and a few curiosity seekers as the band delivered a crushingly heavy set. Another fist for me to see a long time favorite.
Blind Guardian: The headliners had the crowd in the palm of their hands and played many older songs including, ‘Valhalla’ and ‘Welcome to Dying’ and promised a completely new set in a couple of days.
Uli Jon Roth: It was getting late and Uli was late as well which didn’t help and we found ourselves having three bands all playing at the same time. Uli was certainly the lowest key gig but was, by far the musicians choice of performers that people ‘must see’. We saw members of Voi-vod, Death Angel, Exodus, Testament and Agent Steel all enjoying his legendary and pioneering guitar work. The entire room was in heaven, even the younger curiosity seekers, when he played ‘In Trance’.
Unleashed: For some reason Johnny couldn’t make it so the Swedish Death Metal warriors hit the stage as a three piece and took no prisoners. Our humble little viking longship rocked to a ripping version of ‘To Asgard We Fly’. They finished with a rousing version of ‘Into Glory Ride’. Brilliant. Another first for me.
Witchburner / Finntroll. By now it was 3:00am and the crowd was getting a bit thin.
The bands were playing at the same time at opposite ends of the tub. Even the Metal karaoke was getting a little thin with a couple dozen drunks ripping out old school Metal classics. The deck was literally littered with the bodies of drunken sailors! I’m not kidding, people were passed out all over the place. We caught a bit of each show, neither band pulling any punches as they both closed out the night in style. I have to admit it was kinda odd being outside on the open seas at 3:30 am hearing a bunch of skinny pale Finns rip out the ‘Humpa-Troll-Metal’. Awesome!!
4:00am. Back to the brig for much needed rest…tomorrow a rude-awakening at 9:30am
for the world debut of Duskmachine!!