Monsters of Rock Cruise – Final Day at Sea – 5/3/2023

As we headed back to Port Canaveral, there was one final day at sea, which began with a performance by Lynch Mob in the Royal Theater just after noon.  As mentioned in our earlier coverage, George wasn’t feeling well and had actually missed the band’s photo experience earlier in the week.  So this show wasn’t as exciting as the band’s pool stage performance, but he still powered through for his fans while hanging close to his pedal board and mic stand.  And, of course he was backed with some strong support with Gabriel Colon taking the lead, Jaron Gulino on bass, and Jimmy D’Anda behind the kit.

While we’d intended to catch Treat after, a morning storm changed that plan, and it seemed as if the entire boat had headed to Studio B to catch the final Tyketto show when we arrived.  The show was bitter sweet as it was the final performance for guitarist Chris Green and drummer Michael Clayton. It was hard not to get emotional, especially when Michael came out from the behind the kit for a farewell.  But, talk about ending on a high note! After a killer performance, family and friends gathered in the green room to take photos, which included a Tyketto “family” photo with new drummer Johnny Dee (Doro) and his family front and center.

Lynch Mob

While the ship was at sea, the sports deck was open for business, and that meant big kid fun on the wave rider, basketball court, and water slides.  So, we were sure to catch some paparazzi shots of Ted Poley and Eclipse bassist Victor Crusner in action (naturally, Captain Ted didn’t disappoint)! And with fun on our minds, what better show to catch than D.A.D.

It wasn’t exactly afterdark with a mid-day show in the theater, but D.A.D. most definitely brought the fun.  As always, we were excited to see which of the two-string bass guitars Stig Petersen packed for his trip, and which songs the band would fit into their set. Usually dressed quite spiffy for the show, it was humorous to see drummer Laust Sonne underdressed. Frontman Jesper Binzer joked that the boat lost his luggage (maybe it was one of those dozen bags still at the port when we picked up ours despite proudly earning the title of ‘last off the ship’ the following morning?!)

While having about a dozen albums under their belts, the band still covers all the favorites from their wildly popular No Fuel Left for the Pilgrims which hit in the US way back in 1989.  Amazingly, the band is still going strong with their latest release A Prayer for the Loud’s release some 30 years later!  If you’d like more from that album, you can check out our interview with Laust here.

Ted Poley

As mentioned in our recap from the day prior in Labadee, the next show that we’d been waiting was from Dirty Looks, who took over the pool stage.  And that momentum continued with a quick visit to see Chris Holmes and his band blow us away by including several of our W.A.S.P. favorites before rushing to the Star Lounge for Finland’s Reckless Love.  Holmes continues his Mean Man’ 65 Tour in the UK with Oliver Tindall taking on lead vocals, Lex Gifford on bass and Stephen Jackson on drums. The schedule includes a birthday show in Northampton on June 23rd.

With all that rushing around, you’d think I’d want to sit down, but honestly, it was beyond difficult to sit still during Reckless Love’s set as we watched frontman Olli Herman dance his way through our favorites…but sitting allowed for all of the large crowd to see the show.  While there was some overlap between the band’s two performances onboard, as promised, the band’s second set hit their back catalog harder with favorites like “Badass,” “Beautiful Bomb,” and “Hot.”

If you haven’t already checked it out, I’d encourage new fans to watch our video interview with Olli as he walks us through their influences and approach to their unique take on albums, here.

Dirty Looks
Dirty Looks
Chris Holmes
Reckless Love

While we didn’t catch much of their set, Doro was kicking ass on the pool deck up against the likes of Stryper and Extreme that afternoon.  We’d prioritized shooting Stryper’s set having missed them earlier that week, and had great fun capturing golden halos around the band in their bumble bee striped attire.  They are one band that never disappoints with favorites like “Soldiers Under Command,” “Always there for You,” “Sorry,” and of course “To Hell with the Devil.” So, if you missed them, catch them on the road now on The Final Battle Tour. And for more from Stryper, check out our Rokisland coverage, and an interview with Michael Sweet from our archives here.


As the day went on their was a lot of jumping off drum risers catching Extreme and Hardcore Superstar performances back to back.  But sadly Extreme’s show got off to a bumpy start as Nuno Bettencourt was unable to perform while standing. Another example of a a guitar great tying to power-through for his fans, Nuno had to play the set from a stool after suffering a knee injury playing basketball in the annual rockers vs. cruisers game.

The pros that they are, Extreme made it work, and their set kept the same momentum as fans would expect. In fact, the injury led to the band’s last-minute cancellation at M3 Rock Festival for the second year in a row.  Obviously, Nuno’s well-being is top priority, and we wish his the best as he heals from his injury.

We couldn’t resist catching most of Hardcore Superstar’s second set in the Royal Theater for some ‘Debauchery’ and ‘Moonshine’ before heading to Studio B to see Chez Kane in action. And, as expected the band let loose with an explosive set again that evening.

We couldn’t miss the chance to photograph Chez Kane next, so we were ready and waiting for her opening song.  With Danny Rexon from Crazy Lixx behind her, we have been keeping an eye on Chez from her new solo album last fall to her recent duet of “Alone” by Heart with Erik Gronwall (former H.E.A.T., Skid Row). It was a delight meeting her on the cruise and catching her show which included some of our favorites like the title track from her album “Powerzone” and “Rocket on the Radio.”  Her vibe brings us back to the powerful pop rock sounds of 80s artists like Pat Benatar and Joan Jett, and we can’t wait to hear more from her.

Hardcore Superstar
Chez Kane

From feminine to masculine, Rhino Bucket’s second show was in the Star Lounge which didn’t allow for much of a view, but I thoroughly enjoyed sitting back with friends and enjoying some downtime after such a busy day.  Always cool catching this band, but even cooler now that our friend Greg Smith has joined Georg Dolivo, Brian “Damage” Forsythe, and Dave DuCey for another show.  According to an announcement made by Georg back in April, the band will continue on with Sean McNabb on bass duties in the US, including a gig at the Whiskey on July 20th.

Their set began with “One Night Stand” and ended with “Ride the Rhino,” and we enjoyed ever bit in between (except for the lack of a view).  So after saying farewell to our friend who’ll be out on the road on the “Happy Together Tour” this summer (in addition to some dates with his many other bands), we finally got to watch Wig Wam frontman “Glam” (Age Sten Nilsen) wave the flag on the big stage. I don’t know a damn thing about ciphering flag signals, but I’m pretty sure the message was that it was time to rock!

The Norwegian rock n’ roll warriors have seen renewed interest in their band band thanks to their classic track “Do Ya Wanna Taste It” being showcased prominently as the theme song for HBO’s popular Peacemaker television series.

Wig Wam is vocalist Glam (Åge Sten Nilsen), guitarist Teeny (Trond Holter), bassist Flash (Bernt Jansen), and drummer Sporty (Øystein Andersen), formed in Halden, Norway in 2001 and have been mixing ’80s inspired glam metal with classic hard rock, with entertaining lyrics and over-the-top imagery like their comic book likenesses thrown in, to create their own brand of rock for decades now.  We hope to see more of them in the states!

My final stop of the cruise was to catch the lovely ladies of Burning Witches performing late night in Studio B.  We stopped by to see them in the Star Lounge earlier in the week, but it just wasn’t the same without seeing the visuals. However, this show was worth the wait.  We first caught the band opening M3 Rock Festival last year, and knew to expect some hair-twirling metal.

The band brought Iron Maidens guitarist Courtney Cox along for the ride, as she is currently filling in for Larissa Ernst ,who is taking a maternity leave in anticipation of a baby due this summer.

Cox was joined by Swedish front woman Laura Guldemond and her Swiss bandmates Romana Kalkul on guitar, Jay Grob on bass, and Lala Frischknecht on drums.  The ladies are heading into festival season in support of a new album, and included a couple of tracks from The Dark Tower release in their set, “Unleash the Beast” and Tomorrow.”

Wig Wam
Wig Wam
Burning Witches
Burning Witches

In closing, I will say that my cruise experience is very likely very different from that of each of my friends and colleagues.  Everyone has a different list of priorities while on board, and that is what makes it so fun.  I hope to see you on the next sailing on March 2, 2024!

In the meantime, follow us @ThePureRockShop for more for more cruise recaps coming soon.  If you missed our prior MORC posts, check out our pre-party coverage, sail away day coverage, coverage from the Dominican Republic, and from Haiti, as well as the full story behind last year’s 2022 Monsters of Rock Cruise sailing.

Lots happening this past month as well as upcoming captures, recaps, news, and interviews from of local and regional concerts and festivals including Jackyl, Faster Pussycat, Chris Jericho’s Kuarantine, and more this summer so check back often.

Recap and Live Photos by Editor and founder Kara Marie Uhrlen for The Pure Rock Shop.  Posted on 6/2/2023.