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70000 Tons of Metal 2023 | FESTIVALPHOTO

70000 Tons of Metal 2023



After 4 straight days of uninterrupted metal debauchery, you find yourself being awakened by a knock at your door at 9 am sharp. It is your stateroom attendant ever so kindly asking you to “please wake up”, probably not too ignorant to the fact that you had just returned to your room roughly an hour earlier following a long, long night of drinking, swimming, and metal karaoke, which finally concluded with sunrise breakfast while waiting to deboard in Miami Port.

And as you pack your bag in a daze, you try to recollect how many shows have you seen on this year’s trip. Was it 20? 40? 60? If you had only tried harder, could you have made it to all 120? That's just about how many times you saw Herman Li from Dragonforce crowdsurf last night… Also, why do you have ice cream cones in your bag? Maybe that last one is specific to my own experience, but I doubt I was the only one to witness the energy and atmosphere that Dark Tranquility, Kamelot, and Nightwish closed with that night. The Pool Deck was overflowing with bodies in the hot tub and all around the stage.

If you were lucky enough to make it on board 70k before the pandemic, you will be familiar with the experience. Though the boat has changed from the Independence of The Seas to the Freedom of The Seas, everything on the boat is exactly the same. Yet again, you were presented with 60 bands performing a total of 120 shows. Yet again, you visited a Caribbean paradise, this time stopping at Bimini, The Bahamas for artist accompanied excursions or to simply live out your best beach bum fantasy. And, yet again, you used and abused your unlimited access to the soft serve ice cream machine (perhaps despite all of your best efforts to the contrary).

From what I can say about Bimini, it was hot, sandy, and sunny… At least, that’s what I can infer based on what I saw through the window as I closed the blackout curtains–foregoing the beach trip to instead focus my energy on some good ole fashioned R&R after the 6 A.M. show and pizza snackies.

When it comes to the performances onboard, I want to forego discussing the headliner bands (who of course all played phenomenal, engaging, and musically kick-ass shows) to instead highlight some of the incredible performances from the up-and-comers of the genre.
First up, I want to acknowledge the amazing show Fractal Universe put on in the Star Lounge at midnight on the third day. It's rare to see a band put out so much raw energy during a performance while simultaneously maintaining constant interaction with the fans. Next, gotta give some props to Batushka's midday performance on the Pool Deck. With the full fury of the Caribbean sun above, it was hot enough for those of us in the crowd wearing T-shirts and board shorts to have pit stains, and these guys still sounded as fantastic as they ever have while playing an hour long set in their customary stage attire of black robes and face coverings (and no shoes…for some unexplained reason). The crowd was also sweating during the hour of hardcore cardio that was Feuerschwanz’s high-energy Pool Deck performance. Melechesh made me kick myself for missing their first set. And Manegarm made the closing set of 70000TONS an absolute banger, with audience and security both going HAM. These are just a few bands that come to mind as I write this while I try to unpack everything that has happened in the past 4 days.

But now, it is over, and we are back to waiting for the next 70000TONS announcements. In the everlasting words of our beloved skipper, “Soon…”


Writer: eplixs
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