Jam Cruise 19 continued on Tuesday with an eventful day at sea as the MSC Divina made its way toward Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. With Cruisers all settled in following the voyage’s first day, Tuesday offered up a full slate of music running from 12:30 p.m. until after 4:00 a.m. featuring Pixie & The Partygrass Boys, The Lil Smokies, Daniel Donato, Cymande, Delvon Lamarr Organ Trio, Neal Francis, The Word, Doom Flamingo, The Sweet Lillies, West Seattle Allstar Revue, Mihali, Karina Rykman, Fruition, The Fearless Flyers, Andy Frasco & The U.N., a Shira Elias– and Lamar Williams-led Jam Room session, and more.
Tuesday also brought with it a classic Jam Cruise scenario: Thirty minutes into Cymande‘s afternoon Pool Deck set, a coming patch of inclement weather forced organizers to close the outdoor stage for the rest of the night and shift scheduled performances to alternate venues on the ship—and those unexpected changes accounted for some truly thrilling moments.
Related: 6 Of The Best Things We Saw On Jam Cruise 19: Day 1 [Photos/Videos]
With several sets running simultaneously throughout most of the night, it was impossible to catch all the music played on the ship, both on stage and otherwise. Here are just a few of the most memorable moments from the second day of Jam Cruise 19. (You can also head to Live For Live Music‘s Instagram and Instagram stories to follow along in real-time).
Daniel Donato Brings Humble Humor To The Garden Pool
Versatile young guitarist, singer, and bandleader Daniel Donato took to the tucked-away Garden Pool at the back of the boat in the early afternoon for a serene solo performance as the sea breeze rippled through an intimate audience in front of him and fans waded in (and, on one occasion, belly-flopped into) the pool behind him. With just a microphone and a Gibson SG, Donato worked through a laid-back set of songs from his own Cosmic Country repertoire (like “Weathervane” and “Lose Your Mind”) as well as country-tinged takes on classics including “Reuben and Cherise” (Jerry Garcia/Robert Hunter), “Angel From Montgomery” (John Prine), “Sea of Heartbreak” (Don Gibson), and more.
When his tour manager leaned in to let him know he was out of time, Daniel Donato seemed just as bummed as his audience. “That blew by,” he grinned before easing into a set-closing take on “Blue Skies” (Irving Berlin). “I still have 20 more songs!” Luckily, he’ll have the chance to play a couple more with Trouble No More as the voyage continues.
Neal Francis Transcends Decades At The Pantheon Theater
Neal Francis was one of the acts set to perform on the Pool Deck before the Mother Nature-prompted change of plans. Instead, the “Changes” singer/keyboardist’s Tuesday evening show was shifted to the Pantheon Theater. There, he and his eponymous outfit worked through a mix of the dreamy, soulful funk tracks that have garnered widespread acclaim for his two solo albums, 2019’s Changes and 2021’s In Plain Sight. He also welcomed out a guest horn section featuring members of Dumpstaphunk and The Bamboos to add some extra texture to a few numbers.
Related: Sentimental Garbage: Neal Francis Peels Back The Layers Of Sophomore LP, ‘In Plain Sight’ [Interview]
Even beyond the performance itself, Francis showcased his natural aptitude as a showman throughout the show. The mix of his cool yet affable stage presence, his impressive keyboard chops, and his distinct voice create retro ’70s vibe that harkens back to an era well before his time. On a Jam Cruise night with a “Dress as the Decade You Were Born” costume theme, Neal Francis made clear his is an older soul than his late-’80s birthday might suggest.
Isaiah Sharkey Helps Spread The Word
Versatile guitarist Isaiah Sharkey has thrived for years as “your favorite musician’s favorite musician.” He’s on the boat as part of the Jam Cruise Master’s Camp and doesn’t have any regular sets of his own on the main schedule, but with plenty of his past collaborators and admirers dotting the band lineup, it was only a matter of time before his services were enlisted.
On Tuesday evening, Sharkey joined in with gospel-funk-jam supergroup The Word—featuring Robert Randolph, John Medeski, Luther Dickinson, Cody Dickinson, and Kevin Lloyd—early on in the band’s set and remained on stage for the remainder of the performance. What do you call it when a supergroup gets even more super? After last night’s exhilarating, improv-heavy collaboration, you can go ahead and call it “The Word ft. Isaiah Sharkey.”
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The Fearless Flyers Enlist Reinforcements To Commandeer The Atrium
Following Monday night’s performance by Vulfpeck offshoot The Fearless Flyers in the Pantheon Theater, excitement was high for the band’s scheduled Tuesday night show on the Pool Deck. Due to the weather-related schedule shuffling, Tuesday’s set by The Fearless Flyers’—a group whose ten-ish total career concerts have taken place at venues like Madison Square Garden and Red Rocks Amphitheatre—was moved to the ship’s shimmering crystalline Atrium, a space typically used on Jam Cruise for stripped-down performances and solo piano sets.
Fans packed the space—as well as the multiple floors’ worth of balconies that overlook it—for the unique performance. After a few attempts to dial in the sound setup (remember, this space isn’t exactly optimized for a full band), the quartet achieved liftoff and never looked back. As fans and artists alike craned their necks to see through the dense crowd surrounding the modest stage riser, The Fearless Flyers—comprised of Vulfpeck‘s Joe Dart on bass, Vulf cohort/prolific solo bandleader Cory Wong on guitar, Snarky Puppy‘s Mark Lettieri on baritone guitar, and renowned jazz drummer Nate Smith on a three-piece kit—called in a parade of guests including trumpeter Eric “Benny” Bloom (Lettuce), saxophonist Ryan Zoidis (Lettuce), guitarist Adam “Shmeeans” Smirnoff (Lettuce), and guitarist Isaiah Sharkey to add to their blistering brand of instrumental funk, which Wong described to Live For Live Music as “speed-metal punk, but in the context of funk music.”
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Karina Rykman Rocks The Black & White Lounge
Bassist/singer/bandleader Karina Rykman and her band—which features guitarist Adam November and drummer Chris Corsico—got their Jam Cruise schedule started with a midnight throwdown in the Black & White Lounge. The trio added to the rocking of the boat with a broad palette of heavy psych-rock sounds and ample carefree charisma. You could tell how much fun the three young musicians were having as Karina peppered in the bass line from OutKast‘s “So Fresh, So Clean”, and you could feel the Jam Cruise excitement in Rykman’s voice when she introduced a theme-appropriate shout-along cover of Butthole Surfers‘ 1996 cult classic “Pepper” as a song that came out in the decade when she was born.
Ain’t No Party Like An Andy Frasco Late-Night Jam Cruise Party
Andy Frasco & The U.N. shows are always a party, but when you drop a Frasco party onto a 6-day party cruise, the magnitude of that party grows exponentially. Andy and his merry band of swashbuckling road dogs clearly understood the assignment for their 2:00 a.m. theater set, where they gathered a motley crew of “whoever happens to be around ” for a memorable performance that straddled the line between “showcase” and “chaos” in true U.N. fashion.
Related: Andy Frasco: The Lover, The Fighter, The “Ringleader Of This F*ckin’ Circus” [Interview]
From kisses on the mouth and off-the-cuff rhymes with Little Stranger to a crowd-surfing keytar solo by Doom Flamingo‘s Ross Bogan to a “gang bang” featuring “every drummer that’s backstage right now,” Frasco made sure his late-night show never approached anything resembling a dull moment. Other guests included The Horn Section, Kanika Moore, Dogs In A Pile guitarist Jimmy Law, Neighbor keyboardist Richard James, Trouble No More drummer Nikki Glaspie, The Motet drummer Dave Watts, and more.
While Frasco’s debauchery has long been known to grab the attention of fans, the way he injects vulnerability, sincerity, and positivity into that mix is what gets them hooked. To close Tuesday’s spectacle, Andy dedicated his “look on the bright side” anthem “Somedays” to his mother, who is currently battling Leukemia. The moment of emotional honesty hit home with the patrons in the packed theater after 90 minutes of madness, but he didn’t let the mood stay somber for long: Along with his mom, Andy dedicated the song to episode 3 of The Last of Us—a little humor to sprinkle on top of his patented mix of pandemonium and genuine perspective. Classic Frasco.
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Revisit the rest of the action from Jam Cruise 19 with Live For Live Music‘s recaps from day one, day three, day four, day five, and day six. Scroll down for a selection of photos from day two.
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