Mariachi music on a luxury cruise boat circling Manhattan on a Thursday night, all for around $40? Count me in! Rocks Off Concert Cruises is such a great concept, and usually get some pretty good artists year after year. When I heard Mariachi El Bronx was coming back to participate, once I saw my schedule was clear, I was in. Fortunately my friend already had some extra tickets, so scooped that up and we all decided to set sail.
This was actually my fourth time seeing Mariachi, previous times were the Rocks Off Cruise about 4 years ago, at Atlanta’s Shaky Knees festival last year, and at Baby’s All Right in Brooklyn also in 2015 (I’ve only seen the Bronx once at their Album IV release show at Bowery Electric, which I must say was an amazing time).
Immediate differences from the previous boat cruise show was that this was at Pier 26 near South Street Seaport versus Midtown West near the Intrepid, and this boat looked much larger and nicer. Once we got in, this was definitely accurate. The stage at the previous show was barely a stage, and the band was essentially playing in the middle of the bottom floor of the cabin. This time it was a separate room (with full bar) and elevated stage, creating a much improved experience.
Upon entering the boat, we immediately flooded to the bar, taking part in cheap bottles of El Presidente, and hanging outside to enjoy the actual cruise part of the experience. It was a perfect night, rained a bit earlier so wasn’t extremely hot like most days had been this month. I caught a bit of opening band Pound the Surf, which sounded like surf rock, but performed by guys looking like extras in a Breaking Bad montage. Definitely a fun group, but was more preoccupied with enjoying views of southern Manhattan and the Liberty Island.
At about 9:30 PM it was finally time for the main event. We each had a few beers in us and were ready to rock out. The band came out and was tight as ever, launching straight into “Right Between The Eyes” off their third and newest album, then “Cell Mates” and “48 Roses.” Mariachi El Bronx doesn’t really have many “hits” (“Revolution Girls” might be the closest one) but they definitely covered their entire 3 album catalogue, and even throwing in a Prince cover towards the end. Lead singer Mat Caughthran seemed a bit tipsy, and was also drinking while on stage, and made several references to everyone on the boat having a giant orgy, as became the main theme of the night. However, this did not take away anything from the performance, and maybe even added to it. He was spot on with the vocals, and so was everyone playing the rest of the instruments, including accordion, violin, acoustic bass, and trumpets.
It was upsetting I had to miss the double header of The Bronx performing on the same boat the next night, as I’m sure that show got a lot wilder than Mariachi. However, I will definitely catch them the next time they’re in town. And if you ever find that one of your favorite bands is playing on a boat cruise around Manhattan at a reasonable price, I highly recommend you check them out.
- Right Between the Eyes
- Cell Mates
- 48 Roses
- High Tide
- Norteno Lights
- Everything Twice
- New Beat
- Silver or Lead
- Slave Labor
- My Brother the Gun
- Poverty’s King
- Revolution Girls
- I Would Die 4 U (Prince Cover)
- Clown Powder