My Thursday started right at midnight and went well into the morning hours. As has become a tradition on the boat, I ended up watching the sunrise at least once on the trip. Early Thursday morning was that day for me. I went up to the aft deck with a couple friends and stayed up until about 7:30am to see a beautiful sunrise. But knowing the schedule of music just hours away, I knew I had to get some sleep. So, I set my alarm for noon and headed down to my cabin for a few hours of shut-eye. This is when having an interior cabin is the best thing ever. It’s dark as night no matter what time you go to bed.
After my alarm went off and I managed to peel myself out of bed, I made my way up to the deck for a quick bite to eat before the Raveneye show. It was another warm and sunny day, and for the first time in years we managed to have all the shows stay on the deck up to the last day. I had caught Raveneye’s first set earlier in the week, but it had been difficult to see in the Adriatic Lounge. I was super excited to be in front on the deck and they did not disappoint. My friend Eddie Valentino perfectly described them:
“Let me start by saying, as a three-piece, these guys are stronger than ever. I kept watching the drummer and seeing these insane drum-fills like I was watching John Bonham (Led Zeppelin). The bass player kept switching his tone and had me thinking, ‘He’s playing a bass from hell.’ Then, their front-man shredding his face off while sticking to old school rock and roll rhythm. Overall one of the best performances on the cruise.”
Photo Credit: Robin Ervolina
Next up for me was Wilson. I wasn’t going to miss my favorite Detroit rockers play their second deck show of the week. Complete with a cheer-leading team, Wilson volleyballs, and all the usual antics you get from a Wilson set, the guys set the tone and energy for a perfect last day on Shiprocked. There’s just nothing comparable to rocking out to one of your favorite bands in the middle of the ocean while getting a nice tan. Word on the street is they are going to be working on a new album. I am so excited to see what album number three is all about.
After Wilson, I wanted to rest my feet for a minute. So, it was a perfect time to head down to the Adriatic Lounge to catch Living Sacrifice. Arguably the most ‘heavy’ band on the boat, the guys seemed to have developed a following and the rockers on the floor looked like they were having the time of their lives. Vocalist Bruce Fitzhugh seemed to be having a great time and even said as much. Their heavy sound was a welcome change of pace from the mainstream. It’s always fun to mix it up a bit.
Okay, so this next one I kind of stumbled upon by accident. I saw the Spraygun War on the schedule and literally thought there was going to be a bunch of people on the deck with super-soakers. I went to the outdoor water station to fill up a cup and was happily surprised to see Josh Todd and Stevie D (from Buckcherry and on the Stowaways roster) on the stage with what I learned was a side project of theirs. A rap/rock/electronic sound was just what I needed to pick up the energy. While I only managed to stay for a few songs, I’ve listened to them more since I’ve been home. I definitely dig it. So, what I thought would be hiding from people to avoid getting my hair wet, turned into a cool new discovery.
Up next on my list was the VIP party. It took place in the Adriatic Lounge and featured acoustic performances from Dameon and Gabe Aranda followed by Lacey Sturm (all of which are on the Stowaways lineup). It was slightly more quiet than other shows down there but that was okay. It was a good time to catch up with friends I’ve met over the years and enjoy the free drinks. Both performances were excellent and I count myself blessed I was one of the few who were able to see them.
After, I took some time to just sit at a table on the deck to enjoy the weather and the company of good friends before the incredible deck show from Alter Bridge. I missed their theater show, so I was looking forward to this one. I am a huge Myles Kennedy fan. They had a stacked playlist with all their hits, plus some newer stuff. Watching Myles Kennedy and Mark Tremonti on guitars will never get old to me. It was hard to believe it was only 9:30 when they were over. Somehow the days on Shiprocked seem like the longest days of your life, yet the trip goes by in the blink of an eye.
Photo Credit: Heather Shelby
Next up, was something really fun. The Shippy Awards. A couple of my friends even won some of them. Shout outs to Wayne Summers (Shiprocked MVP) and James Poyer (Shipfaced), and I need to add an honorable mention to Hannah Carter for the Best Ink category. Your Deadpool cat should have won.
Last but certainly not least, the final performance of the trip was a deck show by our headliner, Breaking Benjamin. The last night is always the most bittersweet time of the whole cruise. I parked myself close to the front so I could enjoy this one. It was so fun to sing along to songs I’ve known and loved for years. It was a great set by a great band and was over all too soon. Little did I know in a few short hours, I would get to meet Ben (Burnley) in the casino. It was one of the highlights of my trip. He is such a nice guy and gives more proof to the fact the Shiprocked is unlike any other festival.
Photo Credit: Heaven Bassett
I ended the trip at the casino with a last hangout with people I only get to see once or twice a year. It was a fun night, but also sucks saying goodbye. All in all, Thursday was an extremely long, but perfect day. The music coupled with the forever friends is an experience you don’t understand until you’ve done it. The only thing I wish I could change about Shiprocked is simply to have more Shiprocked.
I think so many would agree, the proof is in the comments:
“You could feel the emotions that Lacey Sturm had during her performances and the strong conviction she wanted to share with the world.” -Jenna Shutters
“In my opinion, Man the Mighty was the best up and coming band that played on the ship. I admit that I had never even heard of them before Shiprocked. But, when I caught their show on the main deck, I was an instant fan. The best way to describe their music…. that shit is BEEFY! The band is some of the nicest guys you could meet; very humble and appreciative of their fans. Be looking for them to rise up the charts. These guys are going places.” -Daniel Roy
“Stitched Up Heart adopted my kids. Had them come up on stage with them in the Adriatic Lounge. Then told them they could join the band if they practiced. They were very sweet to them and I think my son is now in love with Mixi.” -Debbie Weber-Janofsky
“Cane Hill really got the crowds adrenaline pumping right from the beginning which eventually turned into a small mosh pit as Devin Clark throttled out a cover of Panteras “A New Level” on the drums. Hard hitting, aggressive guitars kept the crowd pumped up. Singer Elijah Witt, thanked the crowd for being there and how excited he was to be on shiprocked; and not locked up.” -Juli Schultz
“The Dead Deads had such energy at their meet and greets I saw so many smiles! The after party I finally started to get into them their lyrics remind me of a woman scorned who isn’t going to take bullshit. All the girls on stage headbanging, and hey on the floor we got a mosh pit going. That’s how I roll.” -Jill Marantette