70000 Tons Of Metal 2016 - Part Two: Why You Should REALLY Go In 2017
|Event:||70000 Tons Of Metal 2016|
|Written by:||D.T. Metal|
70000 Tons Of Metal Cruise 2016 by D.T. Metal (16)
As I am finalizing my annual trip down to Florida, we just had a major snowstorm. While some people like this idyllic Winter Wonderland, I for one am sick and tired of shoveling snow and dealing with incapable drivers on the roads, and I can't wait to escape this cold for some "Fun In The Sun".
Yes! It's that time of the year again. In less than a month I shall sip foo-foo drinks on board a cruise ship while listening to some kick-ass metal bands. 70000 Tons Of Metal here I come.
By now every Metalhead should have heard about the concept: 60 Bands, 4 Days, 1 Cruise Ship, and only 3000 Tickets aka 70000 Tons Of Metal - The Original, The World's Biggest Heavy Metal Cruise! If not, well… do yourself a favor and get educated.
Yes, even that late in the game, there are still cabins available. Head on over to the event booking page or check out the Official Event Forum and read the "Recruit A Cabin Mate" posts. People are still looking for cabin mates; even in the cheaper categories. But rest assured, once you decide to join the madness, you will most likely be hooked and will be looking forward to the next 70000 Tons Of Metal cruise as soon as you leave the boat.
Why? Easy. The cruise is one of the most fan friendly festivals ever. Not only do you see the bands on stage, but you will also see them roam around freely on the boat. No special backstage area, no separate dining facilities; for 4 days the "stars" are just like you and me. They are fans of music, they stand beside you while watching some of their peers, they get drunk, they sing (and some make a fool of themselves) at karaoke; in short - They are one of us.
Check out the line-up for 2017 thus far and you see what I mean; there should be something for everyone. And this variety is exactly what draws a lot of people to join the mass amount of repeat customers toward 70000 Tons Of Metal.
Below are some observations from the 2016 cruise:
1. The entire ship's Hospitality crew ROCKED. For instance, at the Pool Deck bar, with maybe 2 people in front of me, a server walked by and took my drink order so I wouldn't have to wait in line.
2. Yes, it's a metal cruise with metal bands, but we all know that MY definition of metal doesn't equal YOURS.
Case in point, 70000 Tons Of Metal is not a cruise with only the nostalgic 'where are they now' kinda bands ala Raven, since the trending symphonic black metal dudes of Carach Angren were playing during the same time in a different venue.
3. If you went hungry on the ship, you did it wrong. In addition to the regular classic sit-down restaurant, the buffet style Windjammer Café was not only open during dinner hours (18:30 - 22:00) but also welcomed the hungry crowds from midnight until 4 in the morning. The Café Promenade, which served sandwiches and small pastries, was open 24hrs, as well as the Room Service (small service charge for orders from midnight to 5am). Sorrento's Pizzeria opened at 2pm and didn't close until 7am the following morning and while Johnny Rockets required a $6.95 cover charge (for all you can eat that is), their 6pm - 3am opening hours were convenient for those who craved an American Restaurant Chain burger/fries/shake combo.
4. The Casino Bar was, per usual, THE hang-out place of the ship; due in part because it is one of the few indoor smoking places. To be honest, I don't even know if Gamma Ray's Kai Hansen even had a cabin, because I never walked through the bar without seeing him.
5. After hours Karaoke was once again a hit. If ABBA ever wants to reunite, they should contact Holy Moses's Sabina Classen aka Mrs. "Dancing Queen".
6. Technically difficulties are a part of every major Production and on 70000 Tons Of Metal we had our fair share over the years.
My advice: go with the flow, check out another band if a show is cancelled, have a drink, take a dump,… whatever you do, don't let this bring you down and have a good time.
7. Unfortunately, Mother Nature doesn't always play nice while we try to watch bands on an outdoor stage in the middle of the ocean. Follow instructions of Nr. 6 paragraph 2.
8. Since every band plays twice on the ship you can pick and choose which performance fits better in your schedule. And at this point major kudos to the staff at UMC since the entire running order for the cruise was published a day before sailing. This was a first and very much appreciated.
9. Make sure you don't miss the All-Star-Jam hosted by no other than Annihilator's Jeff Waters.
10. While you will see the artists all over the boat, there will also be an official Meet 'n Greet session with each one of them; usually on Day 2 of the cruise. Artist clinics are also scheduled throughout the cruise and some listening parties as well.
11. NFL fan? Have no fear, since the Super Bowl Game will be broadcasted live on the boat as well. Last year quite a few of the 'rockstars' joined the general cruisers to watch the Denver Broncos win it all.
But the "bread and butter" of the cruise is the music. All, or most, of the bands were great. Again, difference in opinions of what is "great" varies from one metalhead to another. But here are some of mine and Dan's highlights (in no particular order) during the 2016 70000 Tons Of Metal cruise.
Dan's notes: The band I looked forward to seeing the most gave two of the best shows on the ship. HammerFall were a joy from first note to last. Joacim had such a presence on stage, engaging the crowd and keeping them pumped up. Axemen Oscar and Pontus were totally in sync, and overall the playing was real tight. They picked songs that covered their whole catalogue, but it wouldn't have mattered what they played, if it's HammerFall it's going to be no frills fun sing-along power metal anyway. And for out of the norm, they played the Warlord cover "Child Of The Damned" in the Theatre, which Joacim said had been played only four or five times before.
Mr. Lindberg sure as shit had the undivided attention of his audience right from the start. I call myself lucky for having seen At The Gates multiple times, before and after their break-up, and while they are regarded as the forerunner of the Gothenburg movement, up until recently my opinion of them was 'meh' at best. Now, I really dig them a lot. Weird, but hey, at least I came to my senses. LOL
They mostly played songs off their 2014 comeback album At War With Reality with a mix of tunes from their last album - 1995's Slaughter Of The Soul. That's 19 years between those albums and who would have thought that At The Gates could ever top Slaughter…. Unreal shows, packed to the gills, awesome crowd response.
I went early to get a good seat for Twilight Force - the Pyramid Lounge having no slope, you better be tall if you're in the back. Well, add this one to a growing list of bands on the cruises that have had sound checks worth being around for. I couldn't help but smile (and laugh) at the old wise man narration of the keyboardist - asking for a "potion of rejuvenation" when his keys cut out of the mix was hilarious. And if the name didn't give it away, they played cheesy power metal with D&D lyrics and dressed to match (capes and hoods, the guitarist an elf, etc.). Musically nothing special, but oh were they a barrel of fun! I couldn't help but smile through the entire set, and it ended way too short. Definitely a highlight.
Even though plagued by some serious line-up changes during the past years, make no mistake, Lacuna Coil was on fire and Gemini Syndrome's axe slinger Daniel Sahagún did a great job filling those HUGE shoes left by Maus just a couple weeks prior to sailing. Their show in the Theater was just as good as the one on the Pool Deck with the exception of Epica's Simone Simons who joined them for a song during their outdoor set.
Ze Germans kicked ass - period - done! Lead 70K merchandiser and Gruesome bassist Robin Mazen was standing with some of her merch crew side stage and was seriously fan-girling it during Sodom's set - WE LOVE YOU ROBIN.
Sodom - the ugly duckling of the Teutonic Trio that never tours America. So, on top of being a thrash junkie, it's an even greater pleasure to see Onkel Tom in the flesh. And, I've got to give props to Mr. Angleripper. It might not be metal and Manowar would definitely disapprove, but during sound check he repeatedly gestured the sound board to turn it down. And the result - a very clear sound! All instruments and vox were very audible, and it's a shame more bands don't have this mentality. Anyway, Sodom were awesome (thrasheriffic to be more specific) as usual. The song selection was pretty good, and there were two moments that stood out. In tribute to Lemmy, Tom and gang played "Ace Of Spades", and the mic stand was raised so he sang it just like Lemmy did. Also, during one of the rests between songs, someone threw up a Wacken bull skull face mask, and Tom wore it for a while. All in all, a great performance from these legends.
even band members crowdsurf
Never heard them with the new vocalist Stu, but gotta say that he's a good fit. Pretty good range and Jon stayed mostly to the side and gave him the stage. Sound wise, the band was immense. Best sound production of the first day, and probably of the whole cruise. If you know anything about Iced Earth, it's the tight playing (and endless triplets) of Jon Schaffer. Yeah, he's still got it. Mechanical precision on guitars, with great vocals to boot made these pretty good shows.
Blew me away on the first night; it was a little before 4am in the morning and most cruisers had been up all day and OH EM GEE - the venue was packed. No clue how many folks were over at the Lounge watching Squealer, but they seriously missed out.
Dan's notes: Well, I was stoked to finally see German power metal giants Gamma Ray. It was nice to be sure, but truly Kai is a "Man Of Confusion." Frank Beck was introduced as the new singer…sort of, since Kai still sang some songs and some parts of songs, and still interacted with the crowd, but so did Frank. It felt a bit disjointed. Besides that though, the band played the soaring and anthemic metal they're known for. No other surprises, and the band and crowd connected well.
Dan's notes: Now there was some nice thrash, thankfully playing in the style native to their country, Brazil. The guitars and drums were just plain devastating, and the vocals were on point as well. Sure, some of the songs were very similar to each other (especially in the chorus), but the energy made up for that. Fast, vicious and brutal - solid intense thrash metal. What more could you ask for?
Dan's notes: The two sets of Stratovarius were almost a case of night and day. In the Theatre, the sound suffered badly. Though positioned dead center, I rarely heard the guitars, and the keys were even cutting in and out. Timo still sounded good, but heavier tracks like "Unbreakable" lost all its power. The next day on the Pool Deck - amazing. The sound was perfection, and the band had tons of fun; bassist Lauri Porra couldn't stop smiling. And to top it off, they played even more songs from the classis 90's era.
- Someone please google if Slayer's late Jeff Hanneman got his signature baseball catcher's gear outfit idea from Raven's guitarist Mark, since he was rocking it as usual.
Alf and Chainmail Santa
- Lame-sauce at the first DragonForce gig. They had issues with their in-ear monitor and after, what felt like an eternity, played ONE cover song (Johnny Cash's "Ring Of Fire") and the gig was rescheduled for another day. I talked to one of the sound guys and actually got the real deal on why they couldn't play their set; pretty lame and interesting to say the least, and no, I won't put the real reason to pen and paper.
- One of the highlights, or so I thought, was watching Fabio Lione belt out those Rhapsody Of Fire tunes. Yes, it was good. But while older songs such as "Dawn Of Victory", "Emerald Sword" as well as "Distant Sky" and the title track off their 2016 release Into The Legend came over nicely, I couldn't really get into their sets. To be honest, when Luca Turilli's Rhapsody toured a couple months after the cruise, I enjoyed this much, much more. Oh well.
- Despite having a rather famous drummer in the band, it was amateur hour due to their vocalist. He was a dick on stage, unplugging the guitars and knocking over the cymbals. People expected more and many left the gig after a few songs. (band name omitted for a reason; those who were there know, others can check the 2016 line-up)
- I had to laugh every time I heard someone shout: "Schmeiß den Fisch zu den Fischen" (German inside joke and no disrespect to Subway To Sally)
In closing, there is so much more that could be written about 70000 Tons Of Metal, but unless you experience it yourself, it's just words on a screen.
While this was not an easy task, here are the Top 5 bands for us on the 2016 outing:
Myself: HammerFall, Sodom, Lacuna Coil, Rotting Christ, At The Gates
Dan: HammerFall, Sodom, Stratovarius, Twilight Force, Vader
And for 2017 I already predict the following bands to totally kick ass and I am looking forward to seeing them: Amorphis, Anthrax, Demolition Hammer, Dying Fetus, Marduk, Orden Ogan, Suffocation, Testament…. Shit, the line-up is going to be awesome this year.
To find out more about the ship and destination check the Official 70K event page or read up right HERE
Again, and I can't stress this enough: make this happen, sell a kidney if you have to, but try to make it at least once in your life on the boat - you won't regret it. [Disclaimer: Metal Storm does not advocate selling organs ]
So, if you want to be part of the 70000 Tons Of Metal 2017 madness, head on over to their booking page and check which cabins are still available. Or, as already mentioned, check out the Official Forum where people are looking for cabin mates. And don't hesitate to follow the cruise on Twitter and Instagram, like their Facebook page and subscribe to the YouTube channel for any updates.
Written on 08.01.2017 by
Professional concertgoer ... dangerously armed with a camera!
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