They will have heard the caveman clangs and reverb, booming through anodyne walls. They will have smelled the sweat and stale beer, lurking under doors and through hallways. They will have triple-taked at the Vivian Girls‘ cheeseburger and cassette-tape tattoos. And they will have wondered: What the fuck are these punks doing on my vacation?
When the Carnival Imagination departs from the Port of Miami this afternoon, it will hold as many as 2,052 passengers. Four hundred of them are here for the Bruise Cruise, a “3 day rock’n’roll vacation” starring some of America’s loudest, dankest garage rock bands. The other 1,600 guests? They’re your typical cruise-goers, base tans and buffet bellies and khaki conformity and all.
That’s what we’re here to see. Not just the performances from buzzy acts like The Black Lips, Surfer Blood, Thee Oh Sees, Ty Segall, The Strange Boys, Turbo Fruits—-and those sirens of hiss and jangle, Vivien Girls. And not just for the color commentary of “cruise director” Ian Svenonius, the jester laureate of D.C. punk rock. Not just the 24/7 ice cream machine.
No, what interests us is the absurdity of dropping all of the above into the gauzy, humdrum hedonism of a Carnival cruise ship. “Music’s not for everyone,” goes a doom mantra on Svenonius’ latest musical project. It certainly ain’t.
So Darrow Montgomery and I will be here all weekend, live-blogging and photo-snapping and buffet-plundering as our indie-rock cruise ship makes its way to Nassau, Bahamas, and back. What will we learn? The medium is the message—-but in this case, the medium happens to be a giant-ass boat.
Yes, that was a cheap riff on the beginning of that famous David Foster Wallace luxury-cruise essay. Respect is due.