Monsters Of Rock Cruise 2024: Day Two Review

Monsters Of Rock Cruise 2024: Day Two Review

Feature Photo: Paul Lidel of Dangerous Toys by Shannon Wilk

It’s day 2 of a rock n’ roll party on the high seas, the infamous Monsters of Rock Cruise. Another day of debauchery and heavy metal mayhem awaits these die-hard music lovers. Despite a late night on the first day, the second day would start early and go even later than the previous.

Kicking off the day bright and early at 11:30 AM, yes AM, was Kaleido from Detroit, Michigan. This is a band that has quite a different style from the majority of the other acts on the ship, with heavier riffs and edgier vocals and even gutturals at times. One thing that I personally love about the MORC demographic is that the majority of the attendees are welcoming to any subgenre of rock and metal, just being happy to have heavy music in any form. Kaleido features a beloved member of the MORC crew, videographer Drew Johnston, who strapped on a guitar for the hour and absolutely melted faces on the Pool Stage.

Christina Chriss of Kaleido Monsters Of Rock

Christina Chriss of Kaleido – photo by Shannon Wilk

Drew Johnston of Kaleido – photo by Shannon Wilk

Next up on the docket for the day were Texas metallers Dangerous Toys. Featuring a nearly complete original lineup, along with longtime guitarist Paul Lidel, the Toys brought their sleazy hard rock sound and energetic live show to the Pool Stage under a beating afternoon sun. As I stand right in front of the subwoofers, my whole body is rattled by the booming bass. Dangerous Toys are a group of 5 extremely talented musicians who blend southern stylings with heavy metal – and manage to be some of the nicest guys in rock n’ roll. Only playing a handful of shows each year, it’s always a treat to see this band.

Dangerous Toys:

Monsters Of Rock Cruise 2024: Day Two Review

Paul Lidel and Jason McMaster of Dangerous Toys – photo by Shannon Wilk

  1. Outlaw

  2. Take Me Drunk

  3. Sugar, Leather & the Nail

  4. Gimme No Lip

  5. Hold Your Horses

  6. Bones in the Gutter

  7. Ten Boots (Stompin’)

  8. Queen of the Nile

  9. Hangman Boogie

  10. That Dog

  11. Sport’n a Woody

  12. Line ’em Up

  13. Teas’n, Pleas’n

  14. Scared

Back at the Pool Stage for another rock show, it’s time for something a little different. Of course, being involved with the rock scene, I was familiar with “I Believe In A Thing Called Love by The Darkness,” but truly that was all I knew about the band. Well, and also that all my friends insisted I needed to see them live – so alas, I went. The four members took the stage, each in a unique rock n’ roll outfit, each having this intangible mystique about them. The band’s frontman, Justin Hawkins, is truly a once-in-a-generation performer – with absolutely soaring vocals, shredding on the guitar and keytar, doing headstands, cracking hilarious off-the-cuff jokes, doing high kicks, and even executing a guitar solo in a hot tub on the deck. The Darkness performed their set during golden hour, with the sun setting just behind the stage – making for an ethereal type experience, honestly one of the most impressive performances I’ve seen in a long time.

The Darkness:

Frankie Poullain of The Darkness

Frankie Poullain of The Darkness – photo by Shannon Wilk

  1. Black Shuck

  2. Get Your Hands Off My Woman

  3. Growing on Me

  4. Givin’ Up

  5. Japanese Prisoner of Love

  6. Love Is Only a Feeling

  7. One Way Ticket

  8. Stuck in a Rut

  9. Solid Gold

  10. I Believe in a Thing Called Love

  11. Love on the Rocks With No Ice

Justin Hawkins of The Darkness

Justin Hawkins of The Darkness – photo by Shannon Wilk

Switching genres again, I went over to Studio B to catch an old-school heavy metal act, Accept. The last time I saw this band, Dangerous Toys vocalist Jason McMaster was filling in for Mark Tornillo while he was under the weather. Still, this time around, McMaster is right against the barricade, rocking out harder than anyone, sporting a smile like a kid in a candy store and singing every word. With three guitarists, a beyond-solid rhythm section, and a vocalist with grit like no other, Accept creates a total wall of sound – no tracks necessary. Just before the Cruise, the band released the first single, the title track from their upcoming album, Humanoid. Another treat for Cruisers was the first-ever live performance of the new tune midway through the set. Accept is an excellent live band with untouchable technical prowess and a fantastic stage presence.


Martin Motnik of Accept – photo by Shannon Wilk

  1. Zombie Apocalypse

  2. Symphony of Pain

  3. Restless and Wild

  4. Midnight Mover

  5. Humanoid

  6. Breaker

  7. Shadow Soldiers

  8. Princess of the Dawn

  9. Fast as a Shark

  10. Metal Heart

  11. Teutonic Terror

  12. Pandemic

  13. Balls to the Wall

Martin Motnik & Wolf Hoffmann of Accept

Martin Motnik & Wolf Hoffmann of Accept – photo by Shannon Wilk

I hopped into a packed elevator to head up to deck 12 for the Faster Pussycat show, and as we hit each floor, more people attempted to get in the elevator without success. The doors open on deck 9, and the one and only Taime Downe is standing there, “we need him!” the crowd in the elevator says in unison and squeezes in tighter, allowing the singer in to head up to his set. It was up to the Pool Stage for a time machine back to the Sunset Strip in 1989 for some sleaze rock with Faster Pussycat. Typically, these Hollywood boys get a midnight slot on the Pool Stage for their Pussycat Pool Party, but this year, it’s an “early” night, with their set starting at 10:30 PM.

For their MORC sets, the group brought back their longtime guitarist, Ace Von Johnson, alongside their secret weapon, Sam Bam Koltun. I stand next to the stage with a group of artists, all enjoying the band’s set and awaiting the post-show party. In typical MORC fashion, the show featured several special guests, from Paradise Kitty’s Jenna Syde and Rachael Rine to the inimitable Jacob Bunton and multi-instrumentalist Tyson Leslie. If there’s one thing to be said about a Faster Pussycat set, it’s F-U-N.

Faster Pussycat:

  1. Where There’s a Whip There’s a Way

  2. Ship Rolls In

  3. Cathouse

  4. Slip of the Tongue

  5. Don’t Change That Song

  6. You’re So Vain (Carly Simon cover)

  7. Like a Ghost

  8. The Power and the Glory Hole

  9. Pirate Love (The Heartbreakers cover)

  10. Poison Ivy

  11. House of Pain

  12. Bathroom Wall (with Jacob Bunton)

  13. Shut Up and Fu*k (Betty Blowtorch cover) (with Jacob Bunton)

  14. Babylon (with Jacob Bunton)

Following Pussycat, it was time for a MORC special event – Izzy Presley’s Cruiser Jam. This year, things were a little different, with the Cruisers taking over, selecting their band members and songs. Personally, I had three out of four members of my band, Broken Road, on the ship with me, so naturally, we performed together. We chose to jam Dokken’s “Breaking The Chains” with Tyson Leslie on vocals, my bandmates Damiano Christian on guitar, and Sam Wall on drums. In addition to the Dokken tune, I was invited to play guitar on a Hanoi Rocks tune, which certainly confused some folks who know me as a bassist, and it was a blast to play guitar live again.

I closed out the night by visiting the buffet with friends and then hanging at karaoke until around 4 AM—as one does on the Monsters of Rock Cruise. Day 2 was full of amazing bands and memories, and there is so much more to come from the rest of the week, so stick around!

Shannon Wilk photo by Will Greenberg / Will To Rock

Broken Road – photo by Will Greenberg / Will To Rock

Broken Road – photo by Will Greenberg / Will To Rock

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