Live: Holy Ship! With Fatboy Slim, Skrillex & More, January 6-9
|Photo by Ian Witlen|
With Fatboy Slim, Skrillex, Buraka Som Sistema, Diplo, A-Trak, Dillon Francis, Rusko, Brodinski, Egyptrixx, Dave Nada
MSC PoesiaJanuary 6-9, 2012
Check out a slideshow from the cruise here.
Better than: All my pre-Holy Ship! expectations -- this was pretty special...
Arriving at Port Everglades on Friday afternoon for embarkation and only the most very churlish could not have felt a sense of event excitement. Maybe there was still a sense of kinetic from the previous night's feel-good Mad Decent pre-party -- which featured somewhat of a coming-of-age performance from Dillon Francis, a brutal DJ Craze set and a stripped down Diplo-lead Major Lazer party. Alternatively it's just the combination of a sense of the unknown and pure expectation of seeing an impressive array of key electronic artists, private island parties and the beauty of the Bahamas.
Friday, January 6
It's apparent your average Ultra kid or very recent EDM fan doesn't fly across the country, spend $1,000+ and book six months in advance just to party, and it was a friendly, highly international (respect to those who flew all the way from Australia) and ultimately a music-loving crowd who seem to be battling through hangovers, ringing ears and a torturous line through check-in onto the MSC Poesia.
More than anything there was a strong sense of upbeat California in the air and it seems as if about half of the 2,500 cruisers travelled from the Golden State. One of the event producers, HARD, is well-established out there and they seem to inspire an impressive live event loyalty. While most were getting settled on the impressively modern and comfortable ship, Diplo held court around the main pool area and introduced the Mad Decent Scavenger Hunt. In reality, many of the tasks seemed only really possible for the truly dedicated or those that just don't give a fuck (eg. 'Receive a Mohawk from Rusko' - 3 points) but these kind of activities / challenges that seemed intrinsic to the sort of spirit that Holy Ship! was about.
A quick introduction from Gary Richards of HARD, aka Destructo (who was highly visible and vocally appreciative throughout the weekend) followed, and he passed straight over to Diplo for the sail away show. In fairness, it didn't explode as one might hope, wish and expect. Maybe everyone was still getting their sea-legs and it took some choice Moombahton cuts and the sight of the indefatigable Steve Aoki precariously dancing on the mixing table towards the set's conclusion to get everyone really down.
|Photo by Ian Witlen|
During the last half an hour of Diplo's set, the distinctively slight figure of a white-shirted Skrillex was seen at the back of the stage holding a Macbook and furiously connecting his set-up to the parallel mixing desk. With the cancellation of German producer Boys Noize, due to personal reasons, the dubstep phenomenon of 2011 from L.A. clearly relished the opportunity to take this newly vacant Friday spot. With little hesitation he launched into his biggest hit "Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites..." and about a thousand people on the drained out pool deck, that constituted the main stage, lost their shit in impressive style.
Going from this to the really quite grandiose and well designed Teatro Theatre to see about 30 people loitering for Buraka Som Sistema was slight unnerving, but it took less than five seconds after breaking into 'Hangover (BaBaBa)' for them to reveal themselves as a uniquely dynamic live band. Their raw energetic beats, energy and absolute stage charisma from their triple pronged vocal attack of Andro Carvalho (Conductor), Kala and Blaya made them quite unlike anyone else that played on the cruise.
Although Buraka gradually got a crowd, one sensed that some artists struggled for people throughout due to pure logistics. It's a big ship with five different stages and despite the approach towards eclecticism in the line-up, it's still primarily a dubstep and electro oriented production. This was rarely a problem on the main outdoor deck, which was the standard organic accumulation point for many, and Laidback Luke and Rusko delivered tight well-received sets as two of the big-hitters on Friday. Hearing the latter drop in Dire Straits' "Money For Nothing" was somewhat of a beautiful, unexpected and poignantly greeted surprise.
Saturday, January 7