Welcome to the fifth and final installment of this year's Popthomology coverage of Bruise Cruise 2012! (Click on these for PART ONE, PART TWO, PART THREE, and PART FOUR.) It's been a month to the day today that I went to the first of the BC preshows in Miami, and I'm already ready to do it all again, but I'll have to wait another 11 months or so. We left off in Part Four with all the woozy boozy snoozy Bruisers heading back to the Carnival Imagination ship at 2AM after a wild concert night at Senor Frog's in Nassau, Bahamas. I fell asleep in my Murphy crib in my cabin, thinking I was in pretty good shape, party-wise, and should have no problem getting up in the morning to get a place in the Shangri-La Lounge for Miss Pussycat's "Puppets and Pancakes" at 11:30AM. I also figured lots of other Bruisers would sleep in, but I was wrong! Getting to the Lounge just a little late, it was jam-packed and so I missed it. Ah well, there were no pancakes there anyway, I heard.

Rob, Stacy, and I then decided to wander around the boat on this cloudy, cool morning, now heading back towards Miami, to hunt up some breakfast. Eggs sounded good, we agreed -- eggs and coffee and maybe even a replacement pancake or two.

Yet we ran into the dreaded "THIS BUFFET IS NOW CLOSED" placards everywhere as noon closed in, with staff members shooing people along who lingered by the sweet rolls too long. What?? BOAT, DON'T YOU KNOW THAT ROCK FOLK NEED 24 HOUR BREAKFAST??? Rob spotted scrambled eggs in a stainless serving bin and like a ninja swooped in past an Official Breakfast Denier and scooped up the last serving for us. HA! The boat got me back, though. After finding a table to sit at by the pool area, I went to get my coffee. As I filled up the beige melamine cup, I instantly felt a sharp, hot pain in my hand that was holding the cup, but was too sleepy to react quickly, because I HAD NO COFFEE YET. "F*CK!" I eventually exclaimed, reflexes finally kicking in and I dropped the cup to the deck. The cup, I noticed, was completely split open down one side, and so I had been pouring hot coffee directly into my own hand. DAMMIT, I NEED MY HANDS! With my now-puffy pink mitt, I sheepishly returned to my table to eat my eggs, and made a mental note never to steal eggs from a cruise ship buffet again.

Time for the next event back at the Shangri-La Lounge: another installment of a Damian Abraham-hosted "Dating Game!" This edition was even funnier than the one before, with free condoms flying everywhere, and a sunny mood to the room.

Next up, a real treat: Kyp Malone from TV On The Radio in an emotional and powerful solo set, with backing vocals by Heidi Ferrell. "This one is for...cameras," Malone drily joked as his looked at all the media pointed his way, including me. I hear ya, Kyp...if I could be invisible, I would be. I sat cross-legged directly at his feet, feeling lucky to be hearing his music like this.

(Kyp Malone Bruise Cruise Flickr set)

The next performance turned out to be my very favorite of the entire event. Mikal Cronin ruled the room, with a fantastic set that showed off his considerable songwriting skills: sharp, memorable classic pop hooks and melodies that shined through strong, aggressive guitar-based garage-psych. Ty Segall ably assisted on manic guitar. I was so excited about the show that I went up to Cronin afterward, all bubbly and babbly, telling him how much I liked it and why. He was very sweet and patient.

(Mikal Cronin Bruise Cruise Flickr set)

After a break, we landed back at the Xanadu Lounge for Open Bar Hour and the last two live concerts of the event. Filled with exotically-colored alcohol and ready to end this fest up right, the crowd gave Quintron & Miss Pussycat and King Khan & the Shrines their all, dancing and screaming and clapping the entire time.

(Quintron & Miss Pussycat Flickr set)

(King Khan & The Shrines Flickr set)

King Khan & The Shrines, Bruise Cruise, 2/12/12

After the concerts, a change out of sweaty clothes for one last Fine Dining experience in the Spirit Dining Room, and then it was up to the Lido Deck again at 9:30PM for a smokin' Swamp Stack Dance Party, DJ'd by Quintron. Those who didn't dance roamed the darkened pool deck, drank at the bar, talked in little huddling clusters, smoked cigs, or like me, just watched everybody movin' and groovin'.

YouTube makes it possible for you to FEEL LIKE YOU WERE THERE! Thanks, bazooka1828!

Quinton Swamp Stack Dance Party, Bruise Cruise 2/12/12

At the very end of the night, there was one last event, a piano bar/comedy set with Ryan Sambol of the Strange Boys and Neil Hamburger. After 45 minutes of waiting for Sambol to get a mic and speaker, the tiny low-ceilinged room was so unbelievably smoky that both Rob and I had to bail. I was sorry to miss it.

(Bruise Cruise People and Things Flickr set)

And bright and early Monday morning, like really early in the morning, we packed up and disembarked from the Carnival Imagination to a gorgeous sunny Miami day. Bruise Cruise 2012 was over, just like that. The entire day back on land again I kept feeling the sway of the boat, and kept thinking, "When's the next show?" Instead, I immediately got a nasty cold, and sat and processed photos for hours and hours. Rock n' roll.

Thank you, thank you, thank you to Bruise Cruise hosts Michelle Cable, Jonas Stein, and Damian Abraham, all the musicians and performers, the Budowsky family, our ship steward Elvis, Suzi Pratt, Jim Beckman at KEXP, and all the great new friends met onboard. Go on Bruise Cruise 2013, and I'll buy you a fruity drink!

(KEXP Bruise Cruise coverage and my KEXP Flickr set!)

(photo by Ian Witlen)