Barge To Hell Cruise 2012 - Day One: We Set Sail
|Event:||Barge To Hell 2012|
|Written by:||D.T. Metal|
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Supernaturals beware - we traveled on the edge of the Bermuda Triangle - we were too evil - you spit us back out - Barge To Hell for the WIN !!!
Wow, I listened to all of the incredible stories from friends who sailed on the past metal cruises. Everything from the awesome concert environment, the massiveness of the ship, the food, the booze and the ability to mingle with the artists like they are your next door neighbors. And while I am by no means a stranger to the biz and festival scene in general, the Barge To Hell cruise exceeded ALL of my expectations, seriously - we had the time of our lives (we, as in myself and pro tem Metal Storm contributor Dan).
But before I get into the nitty gritty of the event, Ultimate Music Cruises Inc., who by the way did an awesome job of organizing this cruise, provided us with some notable facts of the cruise:
Number of Guests: 1223
Ship crew: 881
Total number of people on board: 2520
Age Range: 3 to 69
44 Nationalities were represented on the ship
Top Ten Countries: 1. USA, 2. Germany, 3. Canada, 4. France, 5. Australia, 6. Sweden, 7. UK, 8. Switzerland, 9. Finland, 10. The Netherlands.
Photogallery - Day One - Barge To Hell Cruise 2012
Monday, December 3rd:
Since I had never been on a cruise ship before, I had no clue what to expect as far as boarding and such, but to my surprise, it all went really smooth. We left the hotel, got to the Port Of Miami, dropped off our luggage and didn't even make it ten steps before running into Aaron Aedy from Paradise Lost. As a matter of fact, none of the artists received any special treatment during boarding and were standing in line just like the rest of us mortals.
Once we passed the TSA security check point [so much more relaxed than in an airport] we had to check in with the cruise liner. We were handed our "seapass"; in essence, this was our room key, as well as the medium for all transactions on the ship that would normally require cash/credit. Pretty cool to walk around with no cash and to just charge everything with the pass. Convenient, but also extremely dangerous for some; word on the street is that a couple folks had a final bill of over $900; booze alone!
We made it onto the ship just in time for our room to be ready, so we dropped of the backpacks and ventured into the buffet style dining room for some lunch. Standard buffet food, actually nothing to write home about and I expected maybe a little bit better quality. But hey, there was something for everyone's taste, from Asian to Italian to your standard meatloaf and mashed potatoes.
People waiting on Exodus
People waiting on Exodus
The first band Exodus was not scheduled to perform until we set sail around 5.30pm, so after hanging around by the pool deck [bar!] we checked out the rest of the ship. Massive - and since I am too lazy to write everything down just click here and you will see what I mean.
So, Exodus was the first of the bunch to perform in the Chorus Line Theater; and while heading on over there, the Pool Deck Stage was still under construction. Sodom was supposed to play there at 10pm and by the way it looked, there was no way in hell this would happen - and it didn't; but more on this later.
Exodus was actually a bit behind schedule as well and folks were lining the entryway in front of the Theater. I haven't seen Exodus in a while and was looking forward to their gig. And as expected, they kicked some major ass and were a worthy opening band for the Barge To Hell. Vocalist Rob Dukes is sporting a horseshoe-moustache and I have to say, this suits him very well.
Notes from Dan:
Exodus, as usual, was awesome. But even better, the sound production in the venue was top-notch. Instead of sticking to the Manowar principle - "loud as it can be" - which I constantly hear at metal shows, you could hear the music clearly. I was very happy about that, especially since thrash is about RIIIIFFS, which lose their power when they become blurred by loudness. Anyway, a couple of songs into their set, the ship took off from the port. For me at least, it was very noticeable, but not enough to stop me from enjoying the show.
Next up the Norwegian folkish black metal band Kampfar took the stage at the Spectrum Lounge. This was the smallest of the venues with the stage being literally a foot off the ground which made for a more "in-your-face" watching experience. Since I haven't seen them before at all I didn't know what to expect, but they are not all that bad. Their set was right around dinner time, so we didn't stick around that long and headed down to the formal dining room.
Pretty nice to say the least and the food was way better than at the buffet line. And since it was the first day of the cruise, things ran a bit slower and therefore I missed Soilwork's set in its entirety. Oh well, since every band played twice on the ship at least I had the opportunity to see them the second time around.
After dinner we headed back into the Spectrum to watch Holy Moses. Been a fan for a long time, but never had the opportunity to watch them play live. Even though Sabina Classen surrounded herself with a new bunch of musicians, the sound didn't suffer at all - kick ass performance all around. At the end of their set she even crowd surfed and I bet some of the dudes in the audience got a kick out of this one.
Notes from Dan:
After Exodus I had over an hour to kill before the next band I wanted to see began. Perfect time for dinner. Earlier that day I had checked out the buffet. It wasn't bad. There weren't as many choices as say the Golden Corral, but some of those choices were happily unexpected, so that balanced it out. But I came on the ship with the intent to try tons of stuff I've never had before and probably can't get where I live, so I headed to the dining room. I was extremely impressed. The service and the quality and selection of the food were remarkable. Skipping desert, I left there thinking "I can't wait for tomorrow's dinner."
But that thought was soon replaced with another: Holy Moses was about to play. Having never seen them live before, a result of living in the U.S., and moreover having met them two days prior at a pre-cruise gathering, I made sure to see them on the cruise. They played at the Spectrum Lounge, and, just like at the Theater, the sound quality was surprisingly good. They sure as hell didn't disappoint.
Enslaved already played at the Chorus Line Theater when we got there and the room was pretty packed. The Theater is actually a couple stories high and therefore the seating was tiered, but even in the upper levels, no free seat could be found. Enslaved played a couple of their new songs and the audience really got into them.
Then it was actually time for Sodom to be the first band to play on the Pool Deck Stage - well about that. The stage was nowhere near to being done with the lighting rig still being worked on, so we decided to hang out and mingle with the rest of the passengers.
Stage still being worked on
Stage still being worked on
The mighty Behemoth was up next in the Chorus Line Theatre and while it was packed during Enslaved I bet there were even more people present for those titans out of Poland. Nergal looked and sounded great and as usual, they put on a hell of a show - in mostly red light and with tons of smoke. Holy crap, it got so bad a couple of times that I couldn't even see the people in the front row while standing in the photo pit. I didn't stick around for their entire set since there was no way I was going to miss Sodom, a band who rarely plays in the USA.
Unfortunately, and in part due to delays and time schedules, some bands played at the same times on different stages. And while Behemoth was pounding away in the Chorus Line, Bonded By Blood played in front of 15 people in the Spectrum Lounge. [I didn't see that for myself, but the source of this information is reliable.]
After a 2.5 hour delay, Sodom began their set at the Pool Deck Stage and it was well worth the delay. Fuck yeah - another thing I can scratch off my bucket list. "Napalm In The Morning" was very fitting since we were approaching the 1am time mark. Sodom looked and sounded great; no words can possibly describe that experience - done.
Necronomicon, another thrash veteran out of Germany, were already playing in the Spectrum Lounge and due to the delays on the main-stage, there were very few people present. They kicked some serious ass nevertheless and apparently word got around, since for their second show there were much more fans.
Notes from Dan:
Since most people were at Sodom, there were hardly any people in the Spectrum Lounge for Necronomicon; a bummer for the band, but I didn't mind. Everyone who showed got to be pretty much in the front row. If you've ever heard Necronomicon's studio albums, I'm telling you right now: go see them live. The albums don't even come close to capturing the energy that the band gives off. Also, during "Face To The Wall" bassist Andi Nagel walked off the stage and went into the middle of the "crowd", something he wasn't able to do during their second performance.
After a double dose of German thrash I made my way back out to the Pool Deck to watch Paradise Lost. I just saw them not too long ago in Denver and thought they were really good then, but somehow they didn't get the response from the audience that night. Very few people in attendance, but I figured this was due to the fact that it was already 2.30 in the morning.
Well, I figured wrong. Krisiun was actually the last band playing the outdoor stage that night [well morning] and even though they didn't start their set until 4am, there were a hell of a lot more people present than for Paradise Lost. I actually stuck around for their entire set since I just love those dudes and while I was standing one deck above the stage, I spotted a couple members from other bands as well.
Krisiun played the last note of their set a little after 5am and while some patrons made their way into the karaoke lounge after this flawless performance, I decided to hit the sack. *clunk*
Notes from Dan:
The bands I enjoyed most that day were (in order) Sodom, Necronomicon and Exodus. Dan out for today.
My Top 3 bands for the opening day were: Sodom, Krisiun and Exodus
Notes of the day:
- If you get thirsty, it was your own fault. The waiters were EVERYWHERE, they would bring you a beverage into the mosh-pit if needed (no shit).
- Senseless to do your hair - it's windy as hell on the outdoor decks - bring a hair tie.
Funny story: Now Dan already mentioned that we met Holy Moses before the cruise. Keeping up with the times, I joined the Facebook group for the Barge To Hell people a couple month ago and we all met the Saturday prior to the cruise at a Sports Bar & Grill in Miami, FL. There were tons of people and since smoking was not allowed inside, a lot of us were congregating outdoors. I have the gift of gab and was telling those two young metal heads that one of the bands I am most looking forward to see is Holy Moses. Their response: "Hi, we are Holy Moses"! PRICELESS
Shit, their line-up changed so much over the years and other than Sabina, I had no clue who all was in the band. Actually ALL of them were at the bar and after talking with them for a while, we discovered that their rehearsal studio is actually in my hometown in Germany - small fucking world.
For one reason or another, and since all bands were going to perform twice on the ship we missed the following bands: Novembers Doom, Soilwork, Bonded By Blood, Lock Up, Vital Remains and Dark Sermon.
Stayed tuned for Part Two of the "Cruise Documentary" and also check the Photogallery from Day One - Barge To Hell 2012.
Written on 12.12.2012 by
Professional concertgoer ... dangerously armed with a camera!
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