Huge thanks to Remi for letting me use this report.
I raise my glass in your honour - cheers!
TEXT: Remi Cote
CORRECTIONS: Jacinte Pearsons
PHOTOS & VIDEOS: Jean-Philippe Beaulieu
BARGE TO HELL:
My name is Remi and I am a 43 years old metal fan from QC, Canada. I have been involved in the scene for close to 30 years, I did various labels, I still run PRC MUSIC (www.prcmusic.com – home of Negativa, Beyond Creation, Stalwart, Gorelust, amongst few others) and I started a record store called PROFUSION in 2003 which I sold in late 2011... I live for this music. It is in my veins. I will try to give you an idea of the day to day life on the first BARGE TO HELL as a metal fan, not a journalist, which I am not and have no pretention to be. I actually have no idea how to really do this… I sell music and distribute music, that is what I do best, so please bear with me if my article is not up to par with anything you will read in TERRORIZER or DECIBEL!
Can’t actually say how and why but we finally managed to survive this trip and made it back home safe… Why “Survive” you may ask? There were no tsunamis or plane crashes or Titanic-like catastrophes… But how can you think going to such an event with some of the best bands on earth, surrounded by friends, bars and drunken metal heads, and not get into the mood and shit faced? This is actually the best fucking festival I had the chance to experience, and for numerous reasons, and I am already getting anxious for BARGE TO HELL 2… I will be there, and you should too. Hell, we should go together.
We flew (me and 6 of my buddies) from Montreal and we could tell it was going to be a fun week because we were already (quietly) causing mayhem and laughing our butts off at the airport while checking in… the party was on, at 4:30 AM. After various body searches on myself and metal bro Eric by the very cool and chatty guy at the boarders (let’s call him Dick), we finally all boarded the plane… direction NY and then Fort Lauderdale, Florida. We flew out on December 1st in order to enjoy the sun, beaches and buckets of beers before the cruise… mission accomplished. We all had our proud moments.
We were all pretty anxious on D-DAY, December 3rd, and woke up early for a quick continental breakfast (meaning muffins and cereals) and shower to finally leave for the port of Miami…
We arrived there with a private shuttle. We saw black shirts and tattoos all over the place - Shane from NAPALM DEATH with his bass and luggage, the dudes from KRISIUN getting in line, the guys from ENSLAVED taking pictures with fans… we knew we were finally home… Home sweet home.
|EXODUS - Bonded by blood|
After checking in and finding our rooms, it was time to run around the boat and meet some cool people… EXODUS was scheduled to start the hostilities at the Chorus Line Theater. This is a cool club, actually my favourite place on the boat to watch a show, very comfy seats, the sound was always great and you have a perfect view of the stage where ever you may want to sit.
|ENSLAVED - The Space Odyssey of the longships|
It was unfortunately impossible to see every show, as some bands were playing while others were already on stage but on the first day I saw EXODUS (solid as usual), SOILWORK (Dirk is god and yeah, Speed was impressive), a bit of HOLY MOSES, I literally was blown away into very small pieces by ENSLAVED (incredible show!), SODOM killed everything on the pool deck… but nothing could actually prepare us for the unreal, incredible awesome first concert of the festival from my favourite band from Poland BEHEMOTH! I saw them numerous times and I swear on my wife’s head that I never saw them like that… evil was fucking dripping from the walls around us… it was incredible, magical. BEHEMOTH is way above everybody else as far as stage presence and precision… this show actually killed me several times in the process and since I slept a mere 5 hours in the 48 hours before, I decided it was time to hit the bunk bed for the night. I went to my room with a smile on my face.
|BEHEMOTH - Here and beyond|
Day 2 (December 4th) started at 10 with ARTILLERY… which I missed as we were already in line waiting for the merch store to open… yeah, I’m a 43 years old kid and I need my goodies. Unfortunately for me, it was a hard fucking task to find XXL size shirts… No BEHEMOTH dammit. No GRAVE. No ENSLAVED… Still got a kick ass POSSESSED shirt, a cool MONSTROSITY shirt, the Barge To Hell shirt and baseball cap… life goes on. Went back to the pool stage in time to catch MORGOTH and they were fucking amazing… loved their set. Afterwards I got my ass kicked by LOUDBLAST, a pleasant surprise as far as I’m concerned as I didn’t hear anything new from the band since forever. Then SACRED REICH killed everything. It was fun to actually enjoy the band in the pool with the guys from MUNICIPAL WASTE… They had as much fun as we did for sure, SACRED REICH killed it, it was great seeing them live again after almost 20 years in my case! I went to the Spectrum Lounge to see NECRONOMICON (the Canadian one!) which I usually enjoy, I saw them live a lot and they deserve their new success in my opinion… but playing on this stage didn’t give them much of a chance. The sound was bad and we couldn’t see much of them on stage because first, they had quite a lot of people showing up which is cool, but there was also a barrier in front of the stage, which made things a bit weird and difficult to fully enjoy the band’s presence… please take that fence off next year, it’s annoying and absolutely not necessary.
Next we had the chance to see BRUJERIA in action, which didn’t do much for me I’m afraid. The next gig was some sort of trip back to school for me, seeing CORROSION OF CONFORMITY in full force with their original line-up, like I did in the mid 80’s in a crappy bar in Montreal, was pure bliss… they were amazing. Pure gold for an old creep like me.
|LOUDBLAST the Caribbean Sea!|
|SACRED REICH...time to surf!|
|COC - 'Why Are We Here?'|
Still on the COC buzz, we ran to the Chorus Line to see NAPALM DEATH… I saw them numerous times, again and again, I love them to death but this concert was beyond fucking sick… I never saw Barney so fucking intense before. The set list was amazing; they played material from all their classics. Incredible gig! We skipped MAYHEM and went to grab a bite, we came back just in time for SANCTUARY. They were great, as if the band actually never stopped for 2 decades or so… can’t wait for the new album. Next, AT THE GATES were playing the pool deck. The set list was cool. MOONSPELL went on stage next at the chorus line and did a killer set too… from what I heard, the singer as a weird effect on the ladies… I took a peek at the MUNICIPAL WASTE show at the Lounge; we could barely see the singer on stage as they were too many people enjoying a solid fucking gig in front of him. I can’t understand why this band was not playing the bigger room… SEPULTURA was next on the pool deck. They played some amazing songs but I don’t know… I am not a fan anymore. It was like seeing a good cover band. Those who had the chance to see SEPULTURA with the (almost) original line-up will understand what I mean. POSSESSED were scheduled to destroy the chorus line and they did… I saw them in the mid 80’s and they were good. Fast forward 20 something years later, they were amazing… Everything they played on stage was obviously a classic. It is cool to see Jeff Bercera on stage again. This was my last concert for day 2. I was barely standing on my feet.
|AT THE GATES of the loud memory|
|MOONSPELL: Portugal ruling the seas once more|
Day 3 (December 5) was our day off within our vacation… we left the boat for Nassau. Went to the closest Starbucks for WI-Fi and a well-deserved coffee. We took a cab, died about 25 times on our way to the beach… barely alive; we went and find ourselves a nice spot to hang out. The weather was amazing, we had a blast. I am used to travelling in the south, I go at least once or twice a year, and I can’t say I would recommend Nassau… it is ridiculously expensive and you get the same treatment as if you were to go to a Mexican resort, weather and beach-like. And Mexico is much cheaper. Our taxi driver told us Michael Jackson stayed on Paradise Island and paid 25.000$ a night to stay there… I told him Uncle Tom was staying on our boat for free.
|At first sight those looked like CORONER shorts to me...|