70,000 Tons of Metal 2012 Day 3 Report: To Hell in Paradise
Band Photo: Nightwish (?)
Cautiously opening a bleary eye on day 3 soon showed that the Majesty of the Seas was behind schedule and did not arrive in the Cayman Islands until an hour past the scheduled time for 9am. This was fine for me, after last night's late one - I went for some breakfast and lots of much-needed coffee. The weather was a little threatening to start with, with some angry looking clouds.
George Town is a "tender" port, so to get off the Majesty of the Seas and onto the island, we had to get onto small boats to be ferried across. There were some people who had booked activites and were keen to get going as quickly as possible - so the queues were enormous, stretching up the stairs across several decks. I decided to hang back until the lines cleared, and ended up chatting to My Dying Bride frontman Aaron Stainthorpe about the band's sets and his interest in photography while waiting (I spotted him first by the blood streaks still painted on his arms). We got a little rained on while being taken to George Town but once there, the weather cleared up and it was as hot and tropical as it had been every day so far.
Once on the island, the more sporty minded participated in activities like kayaking and snorkelling. The adventurous checked out exotic locations like Seven Mile Beach and the town of Hell - which turned out to feature an interesting-looking rock outcropping - while those with no clear agenda wandered around the souvenir shops and invariably ended up drinking in one of the many bars that seemed set up exclusively for cruise ship tourists. I elected to join that third group and enjoyed a relaxing afternoon, much needed after the hectic previous day.
As we had been late getting to the port, extra time was allowed to get everyone back on the ship and as such, the bands scheduled for that evening were also delayed as the evening's proceedings could not begin until everyone was accounted for. While we were waiting, a friend and I decided to check out the Starlight Dining Room for dinner. I'd overheard the "skipper" (main organiser) Andy Piller telling someone the previous day that this was the best-kept secret on board, because instead of just picking off the buffet you could order a steak - and as all onboard meals were included in the ticket price, if you were still hungry, you could just order another. I went for some really nice fish instead of the steak, and overall it was kind of fun.
But meal over, it was back to the business at hand - photographing bands. First up for me was Cannibal Corpse in the Chorus Line Theatre. I was still sore about missing their delayed pool deck performance on the first night, so I made absolutely certain I was there this time.
Being the second set, the band included some songs that aren't on their usual set list. Some definite favourites ended up in there though - after all, what's a Cannibal Corpse set without "Hmmer Smashed Face"? George Corpsegrinder Fisher was as antagonistic as always, telling the seated portion of the crowd that if he could windmill up on stage with the ship's movement - which was quite a bit stronger than it had been on previous nights - the least they could do was stand up. It didn't seem to motivate anyone to move, however.
When Cannibal Corpse's set finished, I went out to the pool stage to photograph Nightwish. I was curious more than anything else - I'm not a fan of their particular kind of metal at all, but I thought they might be visually interesting. Those people I spoke to who were into the band seemed to enjoy the set a great deal - and more than any other metal band, I always hear reports of non-metalheads enjoying Nightwish too - but unfortunately that kind of music doesn't do it for me at all so a few photos is all I took away.
I caught some of Children of Bodom's set - unfortunately not with my camera - but left early to catch My Dying Bride for the second time, this time on the pool deck. Again, they were completely tortured and miserable and absolutely fucking fantastic to witness, although both the lighting and sound quality wasn't quite as effective on the outdoor stage as it had been in the Chorus Line Theatre. For absolute style, they were my favourite band of the cruise.
As it was now past midnight, one of my fellow Australians pointed out that it was now officially the 26th of January, Australia's national day, and I was therefore obliged - nay, required - to put my camera away, stop being serious and start toasting our homeland with various alcoholic beverages. The rest of the night is subsequently rather blurry, although I did witness some outstanding and hilarious karaoke, a staple of the 70,000 Tons experience.
Coming up next: the absolutely ripper last full day of the cruise...
Kay Smoljak is an Aussie photographer, geek, metalhead and goat aficioado who is currently hiding out in Berlin. She blogs sometimes at enter the goatlady.
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