Time is a funny thing, especially aboard Jam Cruise 19. Days feel like weeks, midnight feels like dinner time, and when all is said and done, the whole voyage is sure to feel like one fleeting moment. That’s not to mention the Jam Cruise-specific “time changes”—as in, “We’re going to make it Fat Tuesday on a regular-sized Thursday for a Mardi Gras-themed bacchanal at sea.”

That time warp intensified on Wednesday and Thursday as the boat crossed from EST to AST and back again, adding a layer of amusing confusion to the days’ schedules—seriously, what time is it right now?

While the hour was often in question, there was no doubt about the quality of Thursday’s lineup on Jam Cruise, which featured performances by Dogs In A Pile, Mihali, Everyone Orchestra, Fruition, Butcher Brown, Cool Cool Cool, Dumpstaphunk, The Lil Smokies, Galactic, Joe Marcinek’s Dead Funk Summit, Neal Francis, Doom Flamingo, and DJ Brownie as well as Atrium showcases led by Peter Levin (Trouble No More) and Ben Weiss (Pixie & The Partygrass Boys) and a Jam Room session helmed by George Porter Jr. (The Meters).

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 fourth day of Jam Cruise 19.

Dogs In A Pile Get The Day Started In The Sun

On Thursday morning, the ship woke up to a reminder that the boat would continue to operate on Atlantic Standard Time throughout the day, even as the ship crossed through time zones. With one less hour of morning time to prepare, Jam Cruisers raced to the Pool Deck to watch Dogs In A Pile kick off a long day of music.

While the Dogs are among the youngest musicians on the boat, they attacked their performance like seasoned vets, barreling through their growing list of originals, slipping in covers like Ween‘s “Voodoo Lady”, and welcoming a string of guests including guitarist Mihali, drummer Jager Soss (Baked Shrimp), guitarist Daniel Donato, percussionist Mike Dillon, drummer Adrian Tramontano (Twiddle), and keyboardist Scott Hannay.


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Everyone Orchestra Conducts Time In The Theater

Everyone Orchestra takes its name seriously on Jam Cruise. The Matt Butler-led improv project’s afternoon set in the Pantheon Theater featured an extensive band roster plucked from across the festival lineup including Mike Dillon, Judith Hill, Daniel Donato, Jason Crosby, lespecial‘s Rory Dolan, Little Stranger, Doom Flamingo‘s Kanika Moore and Mike Quinn, The Horn Section, Jason Crosby, and more. Among the many highlights of this posse set was an improvised soul-rock explosion built around the word “time,” a fitting topic for a day when nobody was entirely sure if the clock was telling the truth.


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A Serene Scene At Sea Comes To Fruition

Portland folk-rock outfit Fruition has become a Jam Cruise staple over the years, and the group’s enchanting set in the late-afternoon sun on the Pool Deck reminded Cruisers exactly why that’s the case. While Fruition may have been a “bluegrass” band at some point in its story, the outfit has grown into a unique sound all its own—a sort of surreal rock and roll circus cloaked in a regal veil.

While the sun beat down from a cloudless sky, Mimi Naja, Jay Cobb Anderson, Kellen Asebroek, and company captivated the crowd with a pair of new songs and a healthy helping of tunes from their stellar back catalog. Toward the end of the performance, fellow West Coast favorite Lebo (ALO) joined in on a stunning rendition of “Labor of Love”, returning the favor after members of Fruition had lent their talents to his own set at the Garden Pool earlier in the afternoon.


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Eric “Benny” Bloom Is So Tacky

Trumpet player Eric “Benny” Bloom has been a busy man this week, sitting in on various sets in addition to his pair of performances with Lettuce. After several days of flexing his serious chops on the horn, Benny dropped the professional facade and let his inner Tony Clifton off the leash for a very Tacky Show in the Atrium.

The band he assembled for the show—bassist Ryan Stasik (Doom Flamingo, Umphrey’s McGee), guitarist DJ Williams (Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe), drummer Michelangelo Carubba (Cool Cool Cool), pianist Kenneth Crouch (Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe), and singer Shira Elias (Cool Cool Cool)—was heavy on talent, but Benny’s banter ensured that none of them got a big head about it.

Between insult-comedy crowd work, apologies for not being Jewish even though his name is Bloom, stories of his days as a teenage cruise ship performer and a middle school lip-sync champion, and self-referential schtick, Benny (a.k.a. Zelensky in a child’s body) led the band through a delightfully tacky setlist including incessant tropical vacation anthem “Tequila”, a hammed-up “Last Night When We Were Young” (Frank Sinatra), and the theme songs from both Friends and Cheers.

It wasn’t all tacky, either. Williams managed to work a beautiful “Jessica” (Allman Brothers Band) interlude into the Friends theme—that is, until Bloom cut him off: “Shut up, DJ,” he deadpanned. “This is my show.”


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Butcher Brown Brings A Vibe

Richmond, VA jazz/soul/hip-hop outfit Butcher Brown hit the Pool Deck for sunset and created a dreamy vibe to match the stunning surroundings. While this act may be relatively new to the Jam Cruise crowd, the musicians on the boat seemed well-aware of the immense talent and creativity they bring to the table: both Lettuce’s Nigel Hall (who works extensively with the band on his solo material) and Judith Hill stopped by to lend their voices to the set. Silky smooth from top to bottom. Butcher Brown is the truth.


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Punkadelick For The People

Percussionist Mike Dillon has been known to bring the madness, whether he’s playing with Les Claypool in Bastard Jazz or the Fearless Flying Frog Brigade or leading the charge with his own various projects. One of his latest creations, Punkadelick, which features Nikki Glaspie and Brian Haas, mixes that uniquely maddening aesthetic with a punk-rock ethos. Their performance on Thursday delivered a notably different sound than the rest of the day’s programming, and the energized crowd at the Black & White Lounge seemed to whole-heartedly approve of the change in pace. The band just released its latest album, Inflorescence, last month. Check it out here.

Joe Marcinek’s Dead Funk Summit

Guitarist Joe Marcinek helped inject a little Grateful Dead spirit into the proceedings with his Dead Funk Summit in the Black & White Lounge. Of course, this being Mardi Gras night, “Shakedown Street” met Frenchmen Street thanks to the New Orleans funk mastery of contributing performers like George Porter Jr., Tony Hall, and Ian Neville, as well as a slew of other Jam Cruise 19 artists.

The Pool Deck Is Doomed

Doom Flamingo has made quite a statement on Jam Cruise 19. While the band is relatively new, its synth-wave sound and bombastic live performances continue to get better and better each time the group hits the stage. On Thursday, Doom closed out the Pool Deck program with a searing late-night set. Vocalist Kanika Moore is a truly magnetic performer, and the talented band behind her packs a unique and powerful punch. With the band’s first full-length album due in the coming days, 2023 is shaping up to be a big coming-out year for the darlings of the Charleston, SC music scene.

Revisit the rest of the action from Jam Cruise 19 with Live For Live Music‘s recaps from day oneday twoday three, day five, and day six.