Continuing on with fab Bruise Cruise coverage from PART ONE, we find ourselves back again at The Stage in Miami for the second night of Kickoff Party shows, and the lineup is KILLAH KOOL: Jacuzzi Boys, The Soft Pack, King Khan & The Shrines, Thee Oh Sees, and Fucked Up. Ohboyohboyohboy!!
Having seen and loved the JBs, The Soft Pack, and Thee Oh Sees previously here in Seattle, I had a pretty solid idea of how nutty the night would get, and knew that King Khan and Fucked Up would only raise the bar. As we walked into the club, I noticed several clusters of people that...hmm...didn't look like they would be here to see a band called Fucked Up. Dapper elderly men in crisp blue suits, doyennes in gold jewelry and elegant poufy hairdos, what?? I asked around a bit and it turned out that The Stage was hosting another event that seemed to be overlapping a bit. I smirked thinking how fast they would clear out as soon as the Jacuzzis started blasting sonic waves at them, because I am actually 12 years old. Also in refreshing immaturity, we briefly plotted to attempt a prank to convince the JB's that the mysterious and unknown "Jacuzzi Gals" of so-very-NSFW "Glazin'" video fame were actually their own mothers, but then decided it would be too psychologically damaging and fatally hilarious.
Hurray! In walked Suzi Pratt, my friend and fellow writer/photog from Seattle! Suzi and I decided that Seattle would officially be representing the Stage Left Side Corner, our backs protected by the placement of a cushy couch, and our fronts protected by ridiculously-expensive camera lenses. Let the music begin!
Playing to a boisterous, happy hometown crowd, the Jacuzzi Boys set the pace for the night, and it was FAST, like Ramones-fast, and surfy-fun.
Jacuzzi Boys, "Glazin'" The Stage, Miami 2/9/12
(Jacuzzi Boys Miami Flickr set)
Next up were the Soft Pack, who always look very serious and play very loudly. Serious and loud would seem like good qualities for a metal band, but I really cannot imagine these guys in studded leather and mullet perms. Well, OK, I can, because I am actually 12 years old. I stopped shooting during "Parasites" so's I could dance in my little floor space. The Soft Pack's California sound reminds me of a beach party populated by Midwestern runaway girls, semi-shady surfers, and cigarettes smoked under the pier.
(The Soft Pack Miami Flickr set)
As King Khan & the Shrines were setting up, I wondered how they were going to fit all those band members on the tiny stage -- there's a whole lot o' Shrines. And then...SLAMMO! Like the running of the bulls, the band and the crowd exploded into instant frenzy and chaos, people tumbling into each other while the magnificently-feathered and bespangled King shouted like he was presiding over a sweaty, take-no-prisoners soul review of days past. SMASH! Guitarist Mr. Speedfinger meant business, dangerously balancing a black-shod foot at the edge of the stage where Suzi and I stood, sending the glass bottles, plastic cups, and beer cans that had been sitting there flying. Most of the set Suzi and I were avoiding decapitation from his guitar headstock which swung violently a foot or so over our heads, although admittedly, that would have been be a cool way to go.
(King Khan & The Shrines Miami Flickr set)
The Nutty Bar was raised to Olympic levels for Thee Oh Sees set, courtesy fans still wild off the preceding three bands, malfunctioning gear, and This Guy:
See Martini Scorsese there in the striped shirt? He decided that his place for the night was ON the stage -- not next TO, not right BY, but ON THE ACTUAL MINUSCULE STAGE WITH THE BANDS. This can be amusing for, like, 20 seconds, but after that, not so much. He was so wasted that he almost took out the Marshall amp behind him -- twice -- weaved and wobbled into everyone, wouldn't leave when told to, kept trying to get the attention of the band members by awesomely extending his PBR towards them and talking, and finally exhausted the near-saintly patience of Thee Oh Sees drummer Mike Shoun and earned a shove off the stage. I cheered.
Ever seen a guy beat his drums to death? Poor Lars Finberg. As the second drummer for Thee Oh Sees, he had borrowed a kit for this gig that was one of those rack deals, and as the manic set went along, the frame slowly began to collapse. Despite his best efforts to ameliorate the carnage, and the grand gesture from the stalwart and burly fan who to tried to physically hold the frame steady for him, eventually the damn thing fell apart. When one of the cymbals also turned wrong-side-out, I nearly collapsed from laughter at the sight of it all. Fortunately, Thee Oh Sees are pros with a sense of humor, so they just continued on, and Lars played with what remained playable. I clicked and danced.
(Thee Oh Sees Miami Flickr set)
Covered in sweat, beer, Other People's Sweat, and Mundet Manzana Verde soda, after Thee Oh Sees I cleaned off my glasses and steadied up for Fucked Up. The most straight-up punk band of Bruise Cruise, Toronto's Fucked Up landed on the top of many 2011 music lists with "David Comes To Life," a genre-busting themed epic: a 90-minute rock opera with a dark and dense storyline, anguished vocals, and furious guitar work. Singer Damian Abraham, a large and imposing gentleman, is known for his stage antics, which have included running offstage out to the street, into a stranger's apartment, and singing from a opened window. As aggressive as Fucked Up's music is, Abraham is genial and funny, and also was serving as Bruise Cruise Director and General MC.
Abraham wasted no time after taking the stage, and the band tore into its set. Could I make out a word he sang? Hell, no, but it didn't matter.This was a purely animal experience; bodies and noise and movement. Abraham decided early on that he could use a little "cool off," and ran out the open end of the club to the patio as the rain poured down, apparently rolling in a rather frightening-looking puddle. He came back onstage, stripped down to his underwear, which he squeezed the excess water from right there. More crazy ensued, from singing from the bar, writhing on the floor, and wrapping his mic cord around his eyes. The crowd loved it all.
(Fucked Up Miami Flickr set)
(KEXP Bruise Cruise article and KEXP Flickr set)
Somewhere in the early morning hours, the party ended, and we headed back home. This had already been a spectacular experience, and we hadn't even BEEN ON THE BOAT YET! Holy crap! In Part Three, we head for Nassau on a HUGE WEIRD SHIP! Stay tuned!