Shiprocked 2014 launched from the Port of Miami, on Sunday, January 26th with an opening deck of power and energy delivered by headlining hosts: Five Finger Death Punch. The main deck stage also hosted Aranda, Nonpoint and The Halo Method to rock the main deck stage.
There are six stages total on the Norwegian Pearl and some of the best music of each evening rings from the smaller and more intimate clubs and lounges available on almost every floor; as well as a full indoor theater to keep all guests rocking their entire voyage to Great Stirrup Cay and back.
The Stardust Theater is a great stage to take in live performances indoors, in a lush theater setting should one prefer this style of viewing as opposed to the outdoor deck stage. The first night was a packed double header with two bands slated to perform: In This Moment and Three Days Grace.
In This Moment took the early set and took the Stardust stage around 8:15 PM and filled that theater and boat with powerful sound, lead by the vocals and commanding presence of Maria Brink. In This Moment is a metal band from Albany, NY that have taken the festival tour scene by storm over the last few years. They are a favorite featured act on almost every music festival tour possible currently and their show is one that is unforgettable with the black-eyed, faceless dancers accompanying this dark rocking band on a live stage. Maria keeps in shape averaging at least a five full wardrobe changes in one hour long set and always ready on cue.
The show is grand; however, it is the crisp, clear and howling vocals of Maria Brink that brand this band and their sound; as her voice is almost haunting at times. This band, show and vocals are simply impacting and that is why they leave the stamp they do upon fans. In This Moment played again on the main deck stage to remind all fans why they embarked on this journey to Great Stirrup Cay.
Three Days Grace stepped onto the Stardust stage at 9:45 PM to continue the rocking vibe in this theater to open Shiprocked 2014. One of numerous Canadian native bands on Shiprocked, Three Days Grace was aboard with their touring lead singer, Matt Walst, that joined the band towards the end of 2013. What a way to test a touring vocalist, indeed.
Matt Walst does a stellar job as lead vocalist for Three Days Grace on a live stage and it appears to be coming together nicely, as this is a jam packed show of emotion, riffs and melodies that only Three Days Grace is very well known for. They laid down favorites like: 'Pain', 'Home' and 'Misery loves my company' like they have been together for years. Matt is used to the role of front man, in that he also takes lead vocals for My Darkest Days; however, new Three Days Grace material is said to be in the works. Three Days Grace fans need to stay tuned, as there is more to come as they played the main deck stage later in the week.
Young Guns are an alternative, melodic hardcore rock band from the UK. They opened up the Atrium or Meliti Stage this first sailing eve. A style that covers a lot of genres to make their brand of sound, this band grabs your attention and holds onto it. Keep your ears and eyes open for Young Guns to rock a stop near you, as they just continue to tour. They just finished up with Bullet for my Valentine, in December 2013.
Black Stone Cherry sails out of Kentucky and laid out a straight forward, southern rock style set that rounded up the Spinnaker Headbanger Lounge. Cruising veterans, this band was on their fifth cruise tour and enjoying it like it was their first. A love for entertainment and an Elvis influence is what keeps this band focused and touring, they have accompanied Lynyrd Skynyrd on tour twice and this does not come to a band without talent, determination and a sound to take a nation over with. Black Stone Cherry loves these cruise tours as they view it as a paid vacation where they get to know their fans better.
American Fangs was a band name heard throughout the Norwegian Pearl during Shiprocked 2014, both from fans and other performers. This flat out rock band rips loud guitar, big hooks and a bit of punk attitude into one of the best live sets around. American Fangs want to create their own 'vibe' within music and they are well on their way. Check out some American Fangs music right here and see why some of the biggest names on Shiprocked wore the American Fangs name to support this individual vibe that is the Fangs sound.
The Butcher Babies played a rip roaring late set in the Headbanger Lounge, as well but this show will follow in the next article to accompany our beach interview with Chris Warner and Jason Klein, on Great Stirrup Cay.