What a trip! Take a two-level cruise boat, add a trio of bands and 100 or so fans, throw in a small bar and a simple sound system. Toss it into the East River and head south. For three hours, revelers aboard the Half Moon enjoyed cool breezes, gorgeous views and literally rocked and rolled alongside a cadre of intrepid musicians.
Shortly after 8 p.m., as the boat sailed towards NY Harbor, God Or Julie took the “stage” (a small, designated area at the boat’s rear, upper, open-air level). A local quartet with a solid NY fan base, this band is all about the rock and roll. They’ve got the power, but at times it felt a little too polished. They performed quite a few slower tunes along the emo-screamo vein, and mixed it up nicely with several hard rocking riffs.
While the Half Moon navigated around the Statue of Liberty, Billionaire Boys Club dove into their set. Let the tossing and tumbling begin in earnest, as this was the choppiest leg of the entire cruise. Fans and band members alike stumbled and lurched, as Mark quipped, “We should’ve got a boat to practice on.”
Through it all, there was plenty of great music to soak up and no tossed cookies to clean up. Billionaire Boys Club are known for their catchy tunes, double-duty harmonies, and revved-up garage-guitar sound. Theirs was a really spirited set, featuring classic Billionaire Boys Club songs like “Super OK” (intricate power pop spiked with layered harmonies), “Don’t You Wanna” (hard-rocking and quick, huge crowd pleaser), and “Good Girls” (quintessential BBC).
Just don’t call Billionaire Boys Club a pop band. This quartet is out there to put on a show, not sugar coat a love gone awry, with Mark and Reef trading the vocal spotlight and audience instigation duties. Nationwide, they’ve earned the respect of hordes of new fans with their edgy and animated set. Closer to home, they never fail to please with their musical merrymaking.
Heading back to the marina, NYC’s Fixer plunged into their hyperactive set. There’s quite a buzz surrounding this band, they certainly lived up to those expectations, and then some! Jumping on no bandwagons, Fixer have absorbed all the hi-test, hard rock, post-punk influences from the past and churned out their own intoxicating flavor of rock and roll. Besides sterling musicianship, this band oozes personality, confidence and rock star looks. Fixer put on a mesmerizing show, with lead singer Evan making several forays into the closely clustered group of fans in the front. Over and above their high voltage performance, Fixer write great material to fuel that performance. Opening with “Tell No One” and heading out with “Home Again” there were moments of lunacy and moments of subtlety, but never a dull damn moment.
As a unit, the band meshes well, with the explosive guitar work of Wilson snaking around the boom of bassist J Brown and drummer Reverend Diamond Tim Newton. Through it all soars Evan R. Saffer’s impressive and passionate vocal calisthenics. Fixer are poised to pounce, and demands to be seen as well as heard. Visit www.myspace.com/fixer
There was a fleeting moment of melancholy as the Half Moon eased back into her slip along FDR Drive. The odyssey, part of the 4th Annual Rocks Off Concert Cruise Series, was over. It was a quirky experience, a unique juxtaposition of swanky sights and street-wise sounds, and absolutely a trip worth taking again. For future concerts, visit rocksoff.com