On Wednesday, January 17th, Jam Cruise 16 set sail from Miami, beginning a five-day musical excursion that will detour through Central America and the Carribean before returning to port on January 22nd. Following a jam-packed day at sea on Thursday, on Friday, Jam Cruise kicked into high gear following a pit stop at the boat’s first destination, Roatan, Honduras.
Mid-afternoon, after all the cruisers returned to the ship from Roatan, The Main Squeeze started off the night’s festivities with a raging sail-away set. From there, the yellow-themed night offered up top-notch performances by Voodoo Dead, Lotus, Galactic, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, The New Mastersounds, and The Marcus King Band, plus surreal jam sessions hosted by Roosevelt Collier and Shira Elias.
With three or four sets of music running simultaneously throughout the night and into the early morning, it was impossible to catch everything. However, here’s a list of six of our favorite moments from Friday, day 3, of Jam Cruise 2018. Enjoy, and stay tuned for more coverage from the Norwegian Jade.
1. Lotus Drum Jams Through A Speaker Issue
After Lotus’ late-night set on the first day, expectations were high for the group’s performance on the Pool Deck main stage. The group rose to the occasion and then some, with a groove-oriented set drawing heavily from the band’s older catalog. Ahead of the set, Director of Artist Programming Annabel Lukins reminisced about the band’s long-standing history with Jam Cruise, including the fan-led movement years ago, GLOTS—an abbreviation for “Get Lotus On The Ship.”
While the set was stellar from beginning to end, highlights included a laidback take on “Spaghetti” that segued into “Flower Sermon” and the show’s blissful set closer, “Umbilical Moonrise”. However, the true stand-out moment came during “It’s All Clear To Me Now”, when a technical issue caused the speakers to cut out just as the jam was reaching its climax. Proving that the group is composed of class acts, the entire band seamlessly segued into a extended percussion jam as the issue was fixed. As the speakers cut back in mid-percussion jam, Lotus quickly picked up where they had left off, dropping straight back into the song’s peak.
2. The Main Squeeze Rages Their Sail-Away Set
After a quick stop in Roatan, Honduras, The Main Squeeze got the party started early with the first set of the day at the Pool Deck’s main stage. This is the rock-funk band’s first time on Jam Cruise, and they certainly rose to the occasion, delivering a set chock full of funky and gritty rock tunes. The band’s charismatic frontman Corey Frye offered up soulful vocals and easily captivated the packed crowd from start to finish. Highlights of the set included the group’s cover of Childish Gambino’s “Redbone” as well as the group’s surreal set-closing cover of Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs”. During “War Pigs”, just as the song hit its shred-heavy climax, it started pouring rain. While many fled to the outskirts of the deck to seek cover from the downpour, the band raged on and the fans who remained center stage celebrated the show’s triumphant close.
3. Shira Elias Hosts Karl Denson, Corey Frye, & More During Stand-Out Jazz Jam
Shira Elias is a force to be reckoned with as a singer for the funk powerhouse Turkuaz. During her jazz jam last night at the Bliss Lounge, she also proved that she’s a formidable bandleader. From soulful covers of Erykah Badu to more classic jazz and R&B tunes, she organized a top-notch performance from start to finish. While her show was packed to the eaves with fans and numerous musicians stopping by to check it out, she invited out the likes of Karl Denson, Nigel Hall, DJ Williams, Kenneth Crouch, Corey Frye, Alvin Ford Jr., and more.
4. Roosevelt Collier Invites Robert Randolph, Nigel Hall, Erica Falls, & More To Ring In The Sunrise
As the night wound to a close, Roosevelt Collier kept the party going until sunrise during a jam-packed all-star super jam. Collier compiled an all-star crew to keep the party going, including sit-ins from Robert Randolph, Nigel Hall, Erica Falls, and members of Dumpstaphunk, Lettuce, Galactic, and more. It was truly one of the can’t-miss sets of the boat, and we loved the group’s takes on Rufus & Chaka Khan’s “Tell Me Something Good” and their gospel-esque jams to close out the set.
5. Voodoo Dead Turn On Their Love Light
After their performance on the Pool Deck’s main stage, Voodoo Dead returned for an encore preformance yesterday at the Stardust Theater. With a lineup of George Porter Jr., Jeff Chimenti, Steve Kimock, Dan Lebowitz, and Tom Hamilton, the group laid high-energy takes on classics from the Grateful Dead catalog. It’s hard to see this group of all-stars perform and not be blown away by the immense amount of talent on stage, and it’s clear that the band was thoroughly enjoying their time together. Highlights of the set included the set-closing combo of “Turn On Your Love Light” into “Going Down The Road Feeling Bad”.
6. Pigeons Playing Ping Pong Rage The Late Night
Pigeons Playing Ping Pong have undoubtedly been blowing up in recent years, and based on their performance in the Spinnaker Lounge, it’s clear why. The band was dialed in from their starting take on “Porcupine” and kept their high-energy funk-based jams tight through to Pizazz‘s “Doc” and “Melting Lights”. While it was a fun-loving show from start to finish, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong’s take on Prince’s “1999” was a standout moment.
[Cover photo: Jason Koerner/Jam Cruise Facebook]