The Weezer Cruise
By David M. Goldstein | 16 July 2011
The “tropical cruise ship vacation as rock festival” actually isn’t that new of a concept. It was popularized by jambands and aging boomer (e.g. Journey, REO Speedwagon) bands in the late ’90s on the not-unreasonable assumption that those two genres bred fans insane enough to want to see sixteen sets of their favorite act amidst daily activities like snorkeling, sunbathing, and gorging at the buffet. I went on a cruise with my parents when I was eighteen. Truth be told, I was bored out of my mind. But had there been twelve sets of Gov’t Mule spread out over four days on that cruise ship? Totally different story.
Until recently, garden variety indie rock bands had yet to do the luxury cruise ship thing. I think the Black Lips teamed up with King Khan and Vivian Girls for a long weekend “Bruise Cruise,” but the self-explanatory Weezer Cruise just might be the first of its kind: a veritable indie festival on the high seas. The line-up is actually pretty stacked for anyone born prior to 1978; there’s a handful of no-name punk-pop acts towards the bottom, but also Dinosaur Jr., Sebadoh, Gene Ween (and his bass player), and Yuck, twenty-year-olds who make music designed for thirty-five-year-olds. And Wavves for the kids!
A few questions immediately abound. Namely, 1) Who’s gonna go to this? The Weezer OGs who spent college carving the lyrics to “Across the Sea” into their wrists are all married now with kids and jobs, and disowned the band after Make Believe (2005) anyway. And recent converts who enjoy Raditude (2009) and Hurley (2010) unironically all still live with their parents. So I guess my money is on mid- to late twenty-somethings just old enough to both afford the trip and remember the simple joys of a pre-“Beverly Hills” world, while reveling in the abstract strangeness of seeing Weezer on a motherfucking boat. Tattoos depicting the Weezer “W” and/or calligraphy versions of the lyrics to “Butterfly” are a MUST for entry.
2) Just how much Weezer does the Weezer Cruise get you? Most interestingly, not that much! Apparently there’s one outdoor concert as the boat disembarks, and one concert in the ship’s theater. Actually, there’re two concerts in the theater, but passengers are forced to pick just one each because the theater only holds half of the ship’s capacity (I hope for the band’s sake the setlists don’t differ). So only two (!) Weezer shows on the Weezer Cruise? That’s like one-seventeenth of the moe. equivalent that you would get on their cruise. Also, there’s nothing in the itinerary to suggest exclusive Blue Album (1994) or Pinkerton (1996) shows, so you could theoretically drop a grand and still be subjected to “We Are All on Drugs” or that song on Side B of The Red Album (2008) that the drummer sings. There’s some band Q & A, and a photo session, but how can you sign on the dotted line without some sort of guarantee that the setlists will veer towards the non-shitty?
3) What of the other bands? Give Rivers and co. a little credit, most of the acts playing the Weezer Cruise are more interesting at this juncture than Weezer themselves. This rings especially true if you fancy yourself an early ’90s lo-fi junkie; with Dino Jr., Sebadoh, and solo Barlow and Mascis sets, there’s more of these longhairs than the cruise’s namesake (and Yuck, the ultimate Dino/Sebadoh tribute band). Plus, the opportunity to drink a banana (and blow?) daiquiri with Gene Ween is an attractive one. Free Energy have two good songs, Conrad wrote a favorable piece on the new Antlers record, and someone out there apparently likes Wavves. Few of the other bands on the bill ring a bell.
But basically, it comes down to a quote taken directly from the Weezer Cruise site:
“In addition to the weezer shows & all other artists shows mentioned above onboard activities also include swimming pools, water slides, relaxation decks, casino, mini-golf, ping-pong, shuffleboard, flip cup, karaoke, bars, lounges, nightclubs, DJ’s and more! Now imagine all this with a boatful of weezer fans! The party is on!” (sic forever)
OK, you had me at flip cup.
If you’re reading this and have purchased tickets to the Weezer Cruise, please do not hesitate to let us know how it was, or the impetus behind your purchase. Seriously. That’s what the comment section is for. Godspeed.