Leading up to the February sailing of Holy Ship, the anticipation was in full force and before I knew it, 72 hours and many Red Bulls later, I had to disembark from the beautiful Italian cruise ship, the MSC Divina, back into the port of Miami. Being a virgin shipper, I had no idea what to expect but it was better than anything I could have imagined. The insanity, music, DJs, people, costumes, dancing, new friends (#Shipfam) and sheer fun was worth all of the planning and anticipation. As I sit here trying to write about my experience, I can’t help but smirk and think about next year. The buzz from the February Holy Ship Facebook group is constantly going and keeping my spirits up #HolyShip2017.
Multiple venues on the ship were rocking at all hours of the day from the likes of Porter Robinson, Destructo, Thomas Jack, Claptone, Gramatik, Baauer, Tchami, DJ Snake, Marshmello, Malaa, Subset and SNBRN as well as a Dirty Bird Players Stage and a host of other performers whom I have the utmost respect for. From the opening set on Wednesday of RL Grime B2B with Baauer on the Pool Deck to the closing of the festivities with Bauuer and numerous guest DJs in the Black and White room, the crowd for each set was alive – chanting, singing and dancing. I was constantly reminded that it was a music festival on a cruise and not a cruise with a music festival. The atmosphere was unreal from start to finish and morale was high.
There were too many DJs and sets while aboard the ship and on the private section of the beach on Nassau to write about since I can go on for pages so I selected a few from each day that left an impression. I spent most of the first day in the Black and White room which was taken over by the Dirty Bird Players featuring Will Clarke (the bearded wonder with the hit “Can You Funk”), Ardalan, Justin Jay (recent college graduate and the youngest Dirty Bird member will be appearing at Baby’s All Right in Brooklyn, NY this April), J. Phlip, Shiba San (the French sensation with the hit “Okay”), Justin Martin and the special guest DJ, head of Dirty Bird Records, Claude VonStroke (dropping huge hits like “Make A Cake” and “Barrump”) from 9pm-6am. With a lineup like that I had to force myself to check out Anna Lunoe, What So Not and Gramatik in the Theater so I didn’t fall too far in that tech house hole.
On the 2nd day, the ship arrived at Nassau, Bahamas and took a journey to a private beach section with performances by Alex Metric, Felix Da Housecat, Claude VonStroke and a memorable set by DJ Snake B2B with Tchami. After getting back onto the ship, a much needed nap and a quick change into an “Under the sea” inspired costume, I ventured to the theatre to watch the musically gifted duo, Chromeo play a live set on the drums, keyboard and guitar. Following it up on the pool deck with a new favorite dressed in white with a glowing head, Marshmello, as he dropped some serious trap and hip hop mixes with an electronic twist as lasers flickered everywhere. And soon after, my can’t miss DJ, Porter Robinson rocked the crowd with new mixes on his hit songs “Language” and “Lionhearted.” Late night in the Theater, to a waning crowd of about 60 troopers at 5am, quite the memorable set of Mercer B2B Jauz B2B DJ Snake B2B Tchami B2B Marshmello B2B Mija happened. And while dancing, all I could think was, only on Holy Ship would this happen to a crowd of the 60 or so troopers. Soon after, the night stretched into the early hours of the morning where Destructo hit the decks to play his “Sunrise Sermon” from 6-9am throwing on new jams and oldies from the 90s. But that didn’t conclude the night, or morning at that point because Subset brought out his laptop and his own set of speakers to play a “Trap Breakfast” to a crowd by the Zen Pool as the sun shone.
After a couple of hours of sleep and a quick ride on the water slide I found myself submersed in a massive crowd of shenanigans at the hip hop party at the Zen Pool. Where a number of DJs including Snakehips threw on mix after mix making everyone bounce. Later on, I changed into a new costume and became a Ninja Turtle for the night’s theme of “Super Heroes.” Porter Robinson got the crowd going wild, this time in the Theater and rocked the crowd with his Anime infused visuals, lasers galore and a number of songs off his album “Worlds.” The man in the black mask known as Malaa closed down the Pool Deck to big bass drops and trap and tech-house fire beats. Which made me wonder, who is Malaa? But that’s a side point as the project between Mercer, Tchami and DJ Snake came alive on Holy Ship and surely did not disappoint. Justin Martin shut down the Galaxy Disco with a much needed drum and bass set. I wandered over to Black and White to witness Baauer throw down a mix of his own hit “Higher” as well as new and old jams to close down the stages at Holy Ship. But when it was supposedly all done, Subset was back out on by the Zen Pool on his lab top to keep the tunes going.
To sum it all up, Holy Ship was an amazing experience music enthusiasts of all types need to witness. Just to be a part of the phenomenon known as Holy Ship, makes me feel like a kid again and the anticipation for 2017 is already in full effect.