By Jacob Katel
By Karli Evans
By Jose D. Duran
By Pablo Chacon Alvarez
By Kat Bein
By Abel Folgar
By Laurie Charles
Bad news, lazy hipsters: The inaugural Bruise Cruise is sold out. You literally missed the boat.
And now your cooler, richer roommate is rubbing it in your face by giddily stuffing her oversized duffel bag full of Red Bull, airplane-sized bottles of unlabeled vodka, two iPods, back issues of Vice Magazine, sunscreen, socks, and 16 clean pairs of American Apparel underwear. Sure, she's only going away on a "three-day tropical rock and roll vacation." But undergarments get soiled real bad and real fast when you're having the time of your freaking life.
Departing this Friday from Port of Miami and stopping over for some nefarious Saturday action on the former pirate paradise of Nassau, Bahamas, this floating music festival will take place aboard Carnival Imagination, a 70,000-ton fantasy-class cruise ship equipped with a nine-hole mini-golf course, water park, resort-style pool, hot tubs, palm trees, card rooms, and a 24-hour self-serve sundae bar. There's even an exclusive kids-free zone called Serenity Adult-Only Retreat, which just sounds like an open-air sex deck.
697 N. Miami Ave.
Miami, FL 33136
Category: Dance Clubs
It all appears to be a pretty standard family cruise package until you take a long look at the band lineup. Stacked with raucous garage punks, heavily distorted indie-poppers, and skuzzy psychonauts, the fest's roster is an act of aggressive aural terrorism, especially in an environment where entertainment typically means either a Barry Manilow impersonator or a cut-rate magic act.
At the top of the Bruise Cruise bill, you've got Atlanta rock demons the Black Lips, a foursome whose stage antics have often included dude-on-dude tongue kissing, public urination, and indecent exposure. And then just below, there's master of ceremonies Ian Svenonius, West Palm's own prize pigs Surfer Blood, Brooklyn's Vivian Girls, rumble-y San Fran band Thee Oh Sees, Austin twang mongers Strange Boys, crackling Orange County act Ty Segall, New Orleans's Quintron and Miss Pussycat, Nashville riffers Turbo Fruits, Miami crew Jacuzzi Boys, and dance deviant DJ Mr. Jonathan Toubin.
"I think it's kinda ironic," laughs Turbo Fruits guitarist and Bruise Cruise cofounder Jonas Stein. "A lot of these bands started their careers playing dingy, dirty basements. That's where the fans heard this music for the first time. And now all of a sudden the bands and the fans are getting to go on some exotic vacation together."
That said, Stein's buddy and business partner Michelle Cable, head of New York City booking agency Panache, adds: "I think we're also proving a point that people are interested in cruises. They're just afraid to admit it. And the garage rock scene gets pigeonholed as only punk basements. There's this impression that people don't really care about having a comfortable experience. But I feel like there are garage rockers who have gotten a little bit older. And they still wanna experience the music. But they also wanna have certain amenities at their disposal.
"The Bruise Cruise is a way to go see a band," she says, "but also hang out in a hot tub or go lounge by the pool or just chill under a palm tree. You can enjoy the crazy show and then escape by doing something ridiculously vacation-esque."
Relaxation will probably be the last thing on the average attendee's itinerary, though. With only 72 hours to get one's $400 fill of booze, food, and tuneage, there will be absolutely no time for foot massages and transcendental meditation. And even a short sample of the Bruise Cruise schedule serves as definitive proof:
12:30 p.m. Board Carnival Imagination at Port of Miami.
2:30 p.m. Score party credentials in Xanadu Lounge.
3:45 p.m. Safety briefing!
5 p.m. Freak out with Ty Segall and Thee Oh Sees in Xanadu Lounge.
8:15 p.m. Stuff your gut in the Pride Dining Room.
10:30 p.m. Master of ceremonies Ian Svenonius delivers a lecture on a top-secret subject.
Midnight Unlimited pizza and 24-hour sundae bar run!
2:15 a.m. Drunk dance with DJ Jonathan Toubin in Xanadu Lounge.
6 a.m. More pizza!
8 a.m. Fall asleep in the hot tub.
9:14 a.m. Wake and repeat.
Now for those aforementioned lazy hipsters who failed to reserve a comfy Carnival Imagination cabin and earn certified Bruiser status, you're not entirely screwed. You can still get a taste of this hectically cool music experience with Thursday's Bruise Cruise Kickoff Party at Grand Central. In fact, according to Cable, the kickoff's guaranteed to be a satisfactory substitute: "You know, we're only bringing 400 people on this thing. But the number who want to go is way higher. So I feel as though a lot of people are kinda like, 'I can't go on the cruise. But I wanna have some affiliation with it.' So those people can go to the pre-party, which is the exact same lineup but on land."
Of course, you won't need to pack an entire bag for this shorter trip. But you should still bring an extra pair of underwear. Who knows when things might get messy?
Check out crossfademiami.com for a full schedule of events, previews, interviews, live reviews, and other ongoing coverage of Bruise Cruise.