Rock and Roll Yacht
I was standing at the stern of The Ben Franklin Yacht, lost in thought as we cut down the Delaware River. Rays of sunshine poked through the cloudy sky, illuminating our way towards the horizon. Skinny Pete and some of the members of The High Five lit up cigarettes while I sucked back diesel fumes from the engines.
“You smell that?” asked Skinny Pete taking in an extra-large breath. “God damn that’s good,” he exhaled, and then took a long drag of his cigarette.
“It adds flavor, you know?” injected one of The High Five.
“WELL, the sun is over the yardarm,” said Skinny Pete.
Everyone stared at him confusedly.
“It’s an old naval term for ‘its five o’clock somewhere’,” he explained before running off in search of a drink.
The Rock and Roll Yacht was in full swing. Fantasy Panther was set to perform on the second floor as a few of us finished snacking on the first. They served up the proper nutritional blend to get us through a three hour tour of excessive drinking: nachos, fish sticks, chicken wings and cheeses. Suddenly, sounds of chainsaws and wild animals clawed at the floor above me as they tore into their set.
I made my way to the second deck to check out the show. Everyone nodded their heads and stared wide eyed and mesmerized as a blood soaked, Edward B. Gieda III, growled out lyrics. I eventually found Skinny Pete working on his third plate and fourth beer on the top deck.
“Right here? These wings? Perfect,” he said biting into one. GeoAwiyn was spinning classic R&B tunes like Barret Strong to the Chicago soul of Jackie Wilson that kept the boats upper atmosphere mellow and reflective.
Skinny Pete suddenly leapt from his chair, gripping his camera white knuckle tight. He dove down the ladder to the second deck in a mad panic. I was left confused and a little uneasy that anyone could move that quickly after that many drinks.
I strolled back downstairs to see what the madness was about. The High Five had taken the stage. From the first note a rumble rippled through the crowd like a powder magazine exploding in the bowels of our makeshift Rock and Roll warship. Like the Argonauts we were slaves to their Siren sounds, but there were no ears stuffed with cotton for this set. Skinny Pete was dashing around the room snapping photos as Yusaf Ali Awan belted out hard hitting chords and emotion-filled lyrics. The night was ramping up to a proper pirate dream as many were stumbling, slurring, and shouting “I’M ON A BOAT,” over and over.
I returned to the upper deck for some fresh air. A gentle breeze coursed through my hair and the soothing rhythmic music from DJ Chris Carlin filled the gaps in the whistling wind. Every chair on the deck was claimed by people stretched out in total relaxation with a collection of crushed beer cans underneath their feet. Carlin suddenly shifted the mood and lights of every Crayola color lit up a sea of Pabst Blue Ribbon trucker hats that bounced, bobbed, danced and grooved.
After only three short hours, the lights of the marina were sliding into view and a sense of dread fell upon us. The grooving crowd picked up the intensity with each passing minute, not wanting to surrender and return to land.
I quickly found my thoughts turning inward again. This was a summer of adventure, excess and fun, something I was proud to have shared with new and old friends alike. My gaze was suddenly drawn to a golden sunset that quietly crept underneath the starry evening sky and realized this was the perfect way to end a debaucherous summer.
The bottom line:
The truth was that even if we could have spent the rest of our lives on the yacht, it still wouldn’t have been enough. In fact, as soon as our feet kicked up the gravel from the parking lot, everyone smiled and already began recounting stories from this night. The Pabst Rock and Roll Yacht Presented by The High Five was an incredible way to end the summer.
Revision: Through the foggy mess that is our memories, we neglected to mention that local Philly based band The Shakes opened up the event and started off our adventure that night. Sorry! Check them out on Facebook!
Special thanks to Rory Cain of The High Five for having us!
Copyedits: Skinny Pete