Thousands of rock lovers left work, the polar vortex, and their worries behind on Jan. 26 to board the incredible Norwegian Pearl for the 2014 ShipRocked Cruise. The four-day event featured 6 stages, including a beach stage set up on a private island in the Bahamas. There was no time to spare exploring the new home of the annual rock 'n roll party, however, with headliner Five Finger Death Punch hitting the Monster Energy Deck Stage to provide the tunes as we set sail towards the Bahamas.
Knucklehead's needed no help from the sea to get the boat rocking, forming what would be the only mosh pit of the cruise with the encouragement of front man Ivan Moody. Old favorites were complimented by new tracks such as "Burn MF", during which Moody brought Ocean, a girl from the audience, on stage to sing along with him on the chorus, and citing "good parenting" as the reason for her unwillingness to yell "Burn mother f***er into the mic.
The first and only downside to ShipRocked made itself known later in the evening when the band's sets began to overlap. Young Guns were the first to kick off a continuous string of concerts across the boat. The UK rockers took the Atrium stage, playing a number of their hits, including chart topping "Bones", as well as an anxiously awaited new track. While Young Guns rocked the Atrium, Aranda continued the festivities up on the Deck Stage.
In This Moment christened the Stardust Theater for the trip, bringing out their elaborate stage set up and amazing stage presence. They played favorites including their latest single "Whore" as well as "Adrenalize" and "Blood." They also graced the almost packed theater with a cover of Nine Inch Nail's "Closer,” and a rarely heard ballad that allowed singer Maria Brink to show off her powerful voice.
Those not checking out In This Moment that night were most likely enjoying Black Stone Cherry in the circular and scenic Headbanger Lounge. There, the audience was on level ground with the band making for a much more intimate setting. American Fangs overlapped with Black Stone Cherry's set in the Atrium and soon after, Nonpoint rocked the Monster Deck Stage.
Three Days Grace closed out the night in the Stardust Theater to what appeared to be a packed house. Very few if any seats were left unclaimed as the band took the stage and hit the first note of Chalk Outline. The chemistry of the band was undeniable as they worked their way around the stage, smiling and making faces at one another. The Stardust Theater was mostly a seated area, but that didn't stop dedicated rockers from jumping and moving around. By the time Three Days Grace closed their set with Riot, the entire theater was cheering and yelling the lyrics back with their rock horns in the air.
A few short minutes after, those wanting to catch the last concert of the night made their way to the deck stage once more and caught The Halo Method's first set, featuring Ben Moody on guitar and Lukas Rossi on vocals. Late night comedy and a set from DJ Lippy Rage kept the party going until well late into the night, wrapping up the first night of the cruise just before the sun came up to reveal the island paradise the Pearl would call home for the next two days.
Check out tons of photos from day one HERE and stay tuned for interviews with the bands!