Summer Ska Cruises: The Toasters, The Slackers, and More!

Boston Area Ska Boat CruisesWith summer basically already here, the season of the Booze Cruise is approaching us at full speed. These cruises have a special atmosphere, in which ticket holders get on a decent-sized boat and then drink and dance excessively (and also in that order) to some of the best ska music around.

1. The Toasters and Mile 21 (June 13th)

This year the fun will start early, when a week from Friday (June 13th) The Toasters and Mile 21 play on a cruise that ships out of Gloucester Harbor. Tickets are $35 in advance and $40 at the door (at the port? Starboard?), which seems pricey at first glance until you notice that admission includes an on-board buffet featuring lobster rolls that are known the world over. What’s impressive about this cruise is that unlike the annual Slackers Booze Cruise (see below), this event is all ages (yay!) yet still manages to fool no one by including a full cash bar.

This will be the second Boston-area Toasters show in two weeks (they opened up Big D and the Kids Table’s Good Luck 15th year anniversary show last Saturday), but more importantly it will be Mile 21’s first 2014 Boston show since their reunion. The group formed on the north shore in 2000, and played semi-steadily until their temporary hiatus in 2009. If you remember seeing this band in the mid-to-late 2000’s as much as I do, you’re not gonna want to miss this show!

I can’t stress enough that all transactions at the port on the day of the show (the bar, the tickets) are CASH ONLY. Don’t be the guy bumming drinks off strangers. Though festivities on the 13th begin at 8 pm, be mindful that boarding onto the boat starts an hour before the boat departs. While in Gloucester, feel free to see the local scenery, sneer and throw rocks at the person in your friend group who suggests that something smells awfully fishy, and lament over the fact that the Artspace is now a carwash.

2. Spiritual Rez (June 27th)

Two weeks later, Spiritual Rez will continue the season by playing a booze cruise at Rowe’s Wharf in Boston Harbor. The event is 21+, and tickets are $25 regardless of whether you get them in advance or the day of the show. Spiritual Rez describes themselves as “Volcanic Reggae Rock and Ska”, and though I’ll admit i know very little about the band, every person with dreadlocks that I’ve met in the past three years swears by them. This show will be part of their 2014 tour supporting the album “Apocalypse Whenever”, which was released back in February. Opening up for them is Boston hip-hop/funk/reggae band Eight Feet Tall, and the show is being put on by Rock On! Concerts, who have had a major hand in Boston’s ska oriented concert cruises over the past few years. Boarding begins at 7:15 pm and the boat will depart at 8, furthermore this event is rain or shine.

Here’s a video from 2007 of Spiritual Rez at the Paradise Rock Club playing “Alone Again” with Bernie Worrell of Parliament Funadelic and The Talking Heads on keys.

3. The Slackers (August 22nd + 23rd)

And finally, no summer in Boston would be complete without The Slackers’ Annual Booze Cruise. This year’s cruise will go down on August 22nd at Rowe’s Wharf (Boston Harbor), and is also put on by Rock On! Concerts. Chances are, you already know exactly who The Slackers are, and that such an intimate event with such a great band can only be a good time. Much like other Rock On! Concert Cruises, the event is 21+, rain or shine, and the boat boards at 7:15, departs at 8, and will be back by 11. Tickets are $25 in advance or $30 the day of the show, and can be found here. As of yet, no opening bands have been announced.

Also, if you feel like traveling, The Slackers will also be playing a concert cruise the following day in New York City, aboard the Circle Line Manhattan. The show is being put on by Rocks Off Events, and boards at 7, out to sea 8-11. The event is 21+, and tickets are $30 in advance and $35 the day of the show. Openers have also not been announced for this show, but check the Facebook event page for further updates.

Here’s a set of two tracks from The Slacker’s most recent EP, fittingly titled “My Bed Is A Boat”.

Again, I’d like to stress that the bars on these boats are more often than not CASH ONLY, so hit up an ATM before you get down on the open sea!

New events will be added as they are created/noticed. If you know of a summer ska cruise we missed, shoot us a line at! As always, check the calendar for upcoming shows, be they ashore or at sea.