Photo Credit: David G Dami
Shiprocked Diaries: From a newb who isn’t really a newb.
Here’s the thing I’ve come to find out about this trip: from the moment I stepped inside the terminal to the second I stepped outside to a sun who was all too bright for my hung over eyes, I’m not a real newbie. In all technicality, yes, I am new to the Shiprocked experience. However, I went into this with the knowledge of the ship’s layout from a previous cruise and at least 50 different Survivors I already had established friendships with. For not one moment did I feel like I was a newb.
Fast forward past the first two days full of excitement, energy, and shenanigans to land ourselves (quite literally) on Wednesday. We were woken up bright and early by our captain’s cheerful voice announcing we’ve docked in the beautiful Grand Turk. It was time to explore new land. My roommate and I arrived in the dining room just before lunch to grab a last minute breakfast. The wonderful world of Shiprocked brought us company in the form of Art of Dying‘s Johnny Hetherington, who gladly invited himself to breakfast with us. Thanks to his long reach, we had eggs benedict and bacon to enjoy with hearty conversation that started our day off right.
Dressed down in a bathing suit, shorts, and a crop tank, the debarkation onto the island offered us bright blue waters, that bright asshole sun, and white beach as far as your eyes can see. My roommate and I made a b-line for Margaritaville, following the eager cheers of our fellow Shiprockers. Buzzing around the scene was Ralph Sutton, the crew from Letters From The Fire and Crobot, as well as shenanigan-ready Shiprockers. Cue the Pool Wars, made up of teams with raunchy names and warrior players. The events consisted of attempting to put on a frozen t-shirt and tug of war in the pool (as if tug of war wasn’t hard enough with solid footing). If you weren’t at Margaritaville, you found yourself on different excursions. My roommate and I finished our time on the island with a glorious massage and the best sunbathe I have ever had.
Bring us back on the ship, where Pop Evil was ready to sail us back into the ocean. Due to the confusion from time changes, we were ridiculously early for Pop Evil’s set. While waiting, we got the pleasure of seeing the 6 year Veteran’s Survivor Photo. Pop Evil hit the stage shortly after; their usual energetic show was pumped up with more adrenaline in the warm, salty air. Deck stage was the stage to be at for any show and it was definitely the case for Pop Evil. At most Pop Evil shows you can find Leigh Kakaty hopping over the heads and hands of his fans. The antics you can expect from Shiprocked is Leigh joining his fans in the crowd to sing, or calling on the ships’ T-Rex to raise his hands for the song like everyone else. Corine Drueke Parks said it best:
“One of my personal highlights was when Leigh of Pop Evil, ran into the crowd, up to the second deck, and sang “100 in a 55″ next to me and another starstruck chick! I was sooooo in awe, I couldn’t even focus my camera enough to take a good pic! Awesomeness at it’s finest!”
Photo credit: David G Dami
I may have missed a few bands, there’s only so much you can do with a roster that big, but I was able to check a few more off the list on this amazing day.
Lacey Sturm provided a heart wrenching show, full of soul and dedication. Lacey has a story to tell about her journey, her passion and her experience of life. No one can get a point across better than Lacey. She turned out to be my most emotional experience out of all the bands.
Photo Credit: David G Dami
Across the ship, shows were in full force. The shiprockers submersed in the music and the experience.
“My favorite moments were every time there was a special connection between the performers and people in the audience. Joseph Longo already mentioned his which was one, but there was another in the theater with Sevendust where LJ connected with a fan while singing Angel’s Son and got emotional for a moment and had to stop singing the verse. Those are the moments.” -Joseph VanDer Besche
“Oh man, 12 Stones. This band, these non-headliners bands, are one of the bad ass surprises of a vaca like Shiprocked. 12 Stones are one of the hidden treasures and I’m damned happy we all got to share the bounty of their awesome show.” -Heaven Bassett
“I thought they [12 Stones] were very energetic and Paul McCoy’s vocals were spot on. Great performance! It’s been several years since I’ve seen them live and they were even better than years past. I also appreciated them interacting with us off stage, taking pics & all.” -Corine Drueke Parks
Courtesy of Corine Drueke Parks
Fast forward to The Stowaways which makes our first performance made by a conglomeration of legendary artists singing classic and tribute songs together. Says our own Emilie Rae of the Type O Negative tribute:
“This may have been the coolest thing I’ve ever seen happen on the ship in all of my six sailings. Seeing Kenny Hickey and Johnny Kelly play THAT SONG live nearly brought me to tears. Johannes was the perfect fit for a vocalist in memory of Peter Steele. And a little side note: being from Grand Rapids and having Pop Evil as my hometown band, I was so proud to see Matt DiRito up there rocking out with those guys. Very special moment all around.”
Avatar brought a close to the night for me, as the best show on the entire cruise. Not a thing compares to our Svenskar brothers, with their theatrical performance and their connection with the crowd. Blasting their hits like “Smells like a Freakshow” and “Bloody Angel,” Johannes geared up the Shiprockers by addressing everyone in a horror-like cantor. There was never a dropped moment; never a pause in excitement. I went into that show a fan of Avatar and I came out of that show claiming the world of Avatar as my own. Don’t ever skip on an Avatar show, you will instantly regret it.
Photo Credit: David G Dami
The party didn’t end there, my dears. No, no. I found myself front row for Live Band Karaoke, singing along with Meredith Bell (and for those of you who don’t know her, find her, because that woman rocks!) and rocking out next to stars like Paul from Crobot and Decker from Stitched Up Heart. Wrap up the night with 24 hour pizza and we have found the “Fin” to our Wednesday.