Carnival's Bruise Cruise Lets Loose 400 Garage Rock Fans Onto a Cruise Ship | Feature | South Florida | Broward Palm Beach New Times | The Leading Independent News Source in Broward-Palm Beach, Florida


Carnival's Bruise Cruise Lets Loose 400 Garage Rock Fans Onto a Cruise Ship

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"Everyone will remember this festival as our Woodstock," Cross adds excitedly.

Sambol winces a few times, but generally he's fine with the pinpricks. He tells some dirty jokes to the room, including one about Waylon Jennings and Merle Haggard tattoos on a woman's thighs and another about a vampire using a tampon as a tea bag. Eventually, the permanent markings are finished, and "GINA" bulges from his shoulder.

After he replaces his shirt, he shrugs and adds, "Wait, who's Gina?"

Well past midnight, it's approaching time for the final scheduled event of the Bruise Cruise — a semiprivate gathering "Featuring Piano Playing by Joseph Bradley of the Black Lips."

The Mirage Bar is a tiny, dark triangle of a room with leather seats and a round bar surrounding a grand piano. Bradley has traded the red swimsuit he wore while lip-synching for the video that afternoon for a black tux. His black hair is suavely slicked back, and he's easily the classiest-looking person in the room of haggard, sauced survivors, and he delivers his selections, ranging from Vince Guaraldi jazz to the Zelda theme, with precision.

Bruisers begin to find quiet corners of the boat's top level, the Sun Deck, to make out near the green plastic carpet of the minigolf course and jogging track. Some retire for the night.

Surfer Blood manager Rich Weiss' tall frame is slumped at a table near the Lido deck bar. "It's 3:42 a.m. on the last night of fucking Bruise Cruise," he says. "And look at what we've got going on here. A lot of happy smiles. I wish this wouldn't end. It's indie-rock summer camp. No one wants to say goodbye. We're toasting marshmallows. Except instead of toasting marshmallows, we're drinking Crown Royal out of a bottle. Nothing will quite compare to this first time."

Miami rises in the distance, and the sun comes soon after from the other direction. The organizers, Cable and Stein, sprawl on deck chairs for one last impromptu photo shoot of them nodding off with happy exhaustion. Dreams of Bruise Cruise 2012 are brewing after early positive reports from Carnival folks. The smells of breakfast food come wafting in from the dining area nearby. Just like a two-minute garage rock song, it was a fleeting experience but worth repeating.

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Reed Fischer
Contact: Reed Fischer

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