Boats. As a person who lives in New England, I can’t avoid them. Me and boats, we’re cool, except for that one time when I was 12 when I went deep sea fishing and the sea was so rough that almost everyone on the boat started vomiting all at once.
But I digress. That was just one time. Mostly, I got to see whales or snorkeled with some sweet fish or something. What can greatly enhance your boating experience is drinking. A lot of drinking. It is pretty much a rule of boats.
Anyone who lives on this side of the Atlantic knows that drinking is pretty much the only thing to do on a boat, unless you are feeling fancy and want to see some whales. The ocean here is cold and filled with things that belong in an HP Lovecraft story and is not at all like that Pixar movie with that orange fish that I watched while I was on mushrooms in college. So, in order for you to forget that Cthulhu might rise from the sea, in addition to alcohol you are going to need some music. Yes. Now we have a party, one might even call it a cruise. A booze cruise.
Every summer, Rock On! Concerts puts on a killer concert cruise series via Mass Bay Lines in Boston. You can tell the concerts are good because you can only find tickets on ticketing websites like Ticketmaster or Ticketweb and not the Mass Bay Lines website, because fancy yacht people are totes ashamed of us. Sure, they’ll take our money, but oh man, is it fun to see how uncomfortable those people get when a couple hundred punk kids show up in the fanciest part of the harbor to get on a boat that I can only imagine is filled with my version of a great time, and their version of a sweaty, terror filled nightmare. What I’m saying is they gave us the shittiest boat. But fuck it, it was dark and I was drunk and there was good music, so I was happy.
We went to see the Slackers, a great ska/rocksteady band because in my head I’m still 14 and it’s still the 90s. I’ve seen the Slackers approximately 3 zillion times and they never disappoint. Also, Vic Ruggiero, the lead singer, was wearing a goddaman sailor suit, WHILE ON A BOAT and I mean….what more can you ask for?
The tickets are always will-call, which is usually a little confusing, because it’s hard to figure out where you need to go. After you get your tickets, you get in line for the actual boat. Because the vast majority of people in attendance are sweaty, smelly punk kids (and also because the drinks are waaaay overpriced and they don’t want outside booze) they check your bags and frisk you before you get on the boat. I hate this, because I would absolutely be brining in outside booze.
Unfortunately, the bar is a bit lacking in many respects. First of all, it’s cash only, but in case of an emergency, they have a sketchy looking ATM onboard, if you want to pay a $4 fee and are cool with the possibly that Mass Bay Lines might sell your social security number to someone on the deep web. *
There is not a lot of variety in terms of what’s available at the bar, the lines are usually long and the drinks are a bit pricy and a little watered down. I do have some solutions for this. Mainly, get drunk beforehand (Margaritas at Zuma in Faneuil Hall!) and double fist to avoid the lines. Ya know, because I’m an 18 year old Frat boy. It’s not pretty, but it works.
The boat itself isn’t beautiful, but it serves it purpose as being a boat full of drunk people. Once everyone is loaded on, you’re off to a pretty nice sunset trip around the harbor. After everyone is settled the music starts. Since this boat ride only goes from 7pm-11pm, there is only one opener and then the headliner. I totally forgot who the opener was, mostly because I was in line for booze for most of their set. Sorry opener, as a fellow performer, I know how you feel! #comedy #irrelevant #fuckitletsgetdrunk
The sound quality on the boat is actually pretty good, and you can get really close to the band. Like, on top of the band. There’s no real stage area, they just play at the back end of the boat, and everyone just sort of crowds around them. Then everyone dances around and sings along with their songs and generally has a great time. There are several different bands who do this concert series every year, so I can’t guarantee every experience will be the same, but I had a great time, the people were cool and the Slackers killed it as usual.
Warning to any ladies on the boat: Even though it is summer, you will be cold. It can get a little windy out there, so bring a hoodie. Yeah, I know you don’t want to. I know that tank top is really cute, but seriously, you will freeze your ass off unless you are smack in the middle of the crowd, or downstairs, ignoring the band completely.
After the band finishes the encore, the boat docks and you are released into the night. There isn’t really any food on the boat, except gross hot dogs and some chips and crap. You are probably going to want to eat. In our case, we went BACK to Zuma and got the same waitress as we did 4 hours earlier…except now we were with a group of 10 extra people and all of us were hammered.
Note to the waitress: I’m sorry, but those tortilla chips are delicious and Zuma is the only place in the area that’s even close to affordable. But seriously, I’m sorry. I hope we tipped you a lot but I honestly don’t remember. Thanks for putting up with us.
And so ends our journey.
This is actually the second or third time I’ve taken one of these concert cruises and as long as you are cool with the booze situation I would definitely recommend it. New England only has about 30 seconds of summer and this is a great way to enjoy it.
The concert series is over for the summer, but there are still plenty of alcohol/boating opportunities that are available. There is a floating burlesque show, a (good) beer night, a Halloween themed cruise and a bunch of other cool stuff. Check it here.
Want to see the Slackers but hate boating? Check out their schedule here. You won’t be disappointed.
Need some great Mexican food and margaritas and don’t want to spend a ton of money? Go to Zuma! (But only if you promise not to harass the waitress.)
*In the interest of not being sued, I can assure you, Mass Bay lines will probably not do this. Not on purpose at least.