Following an afternoon of beach hangs at a port stop at Grand Turk in the Turks & Caicos Islands, Jam Cruise 19 continued on Friday for its fifth night aboard the MSC Divina.

The second and final port stop of the voyage brought a few new heavy-hitters into the Jam Cruise mix including Umphrey’s McGee, Oteil BurbridgeJennifer HartswickEric KrasnoSteve Kimock, Paul Hoffman (Greensky Bluegrass), and more. In addition to powerful Pool Deck performances by Umphrey’s and Oteil & Friends, Friday’s schedule featured sets from Andy Frasco & The U.N.phoffmanTrouble No MoreHoney Island Swamp BandIvan NevilleDogs In A PileFackn’ ACymandePixie & The Partygrass BoysLittle StrangerKarl Denson’s Tiny Universe, and Yesmann as well as a late-night Jam Room session led by Brandon “Taz” Niederauer.

With several sets running simultaneously throughout the night and into the early hours of Saturday morning, 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 fifth day of Jam Cruise 19.

Dogs In A Pile’s “Bikini Bottom Jam” Is A Sweet, Sweet Victory

The MSC Divina spent the afternoon docked on the scenic shore of Grand Turk for a day of beach hangs and whale sightings. As sandy, sun-kissed, bathing suit-clad Jam Cruisers made their way back onto the ship, they were greeted in kind by Dogs In A Pile’s SpongeBob SquarePants-themed Bikini Bottom Jam in the Atrium.

Related: Did You Know: Ween’s ‘The Mollusk’ Helped Inspire The Creation Of SpongeBob Squarepants [Video]

In addition to getting bassists Karina Rykman and Dan Kelly (Neighbor) in on the F.U.N.—”F is for friends who do stuff together,” after all—the young pups made the most of the occasion with costumes, Bikini Bottom lyric updates to original numbers like “Craig & Pat” (“There was a sponge named Bob, he was a real nice guy…”), jammed-out takes on SpongeBob songs like “Ripped Pants” (featuring a cameo from a fan in a “ripped pants” costume), and more. When the Dogs closed the set with SquarePants arena-rock anthem “Sweet Victory”, it felt like a perfect encapsulation of a successful week aboard their first Jam Cruise.


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Dogs In A Pile w/ Karina Rykman – “Ocean Man” (Ween) – 2/10/23

[Video: Nick Fitanides]

Andy Frasco Kicks Off His Birthday Party

Birthday boy Andy Frasco had the honor of opening the Pool Deck on Friday as the ship sailed away from Grand Turk. Contrary to the lyrical warnings of a Talking Heads “Life During Wartime” cover, this performance was both “party” and “disco” as fans flooded the pool deck in ’70s club regalia for the evening’s “Studio 54” theme (when it comes to Jam Cruise costumes, there truly “ain’t no fooling around”). Like any good U.N. summit, this energetic set featured a parade of sit-ins—from Mihali to Brandon “Taz” Niederauer to Mike Dillon to Kanika Mooreand beyond—and plenty of amusing banter. “Thank you for letting us get sloppy,” Frasco joked partway through. Shoutout to the dining hall pizza. You’re the real hero here.


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Ivan Neville Says Hey To His Neighbors In The Atrium

Ivan Neville‘s Atrium piano set is consistently a highlight of Jam Cruise, and this year’s edition did not disappoint. While the Dumpstaphunk bandleader’s songs-and-stories sets often incorporate a number of unique covers, his Jam Cruise 19 performance pulled predominantly from his forthcoming solo record, Touch My Soul.

As he worked through his new material, he waxed philosophical about the meaning behind each track, like the yearning for more communication with our neighbors that inspired “Hey All Together” (“Make sure you say hey to one stranger today,” he mused). Neville went on to welcome a number of his Jam Cruise neighbors into the fold throughout the set including Tony HallNick Daniels IIIEric “Benny” BloomAlex WasilyJohn Michael BradfordShira EliasJudith Hill, and more. To close the performance, Ivan and his musical brothers and sisters dug back into his bag of covers for a sing-along rendition of Sly & The Family Stone‘s “Family Affair” and a soul-soothing run through The Five Stairsteps‘ “O-o-h Child”.

phoffman Reimagines Greensky Bluegrass Favorites

Greensky Bluegrass singer/mandolinist Paul Hoffman made his first appearance of the voyage on the Pool Deck on Friday evening. While he made his name with a bluegrass band, Hoffman’s solo set veered toward folk-rock (drums, bass, and electric guitar included) with an outfit comprised of members of Fruition and The Lil Smokies. Late in the show, The Horn Section joined in to add some brass to the grass on Greensky favorites “All I Need” and “Leap Year”.


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Fackn’ A!

While Oteil & Friends enchanted the Pool Deck with a beautiful, flowing Friday night performance, virgin Jam Cruise trio lespecial and 17-year JC vet Mike Dillon hit the Golden Jazz Bar to balance the scale with the deranged jazz-punk pandemonium of their new collaborative project, Fackn’ A.

Following a recent recording session at Color Red in Colorado, a new description was bestowed upon the project: “It’s like Miles Davis took Bad Brains to Ghana.” The riotous set by the lespecial guys and their “Jazz Dad” was like a double shot of espresso for the weary day five crowd—I mean, how often do you see a mosh pit take shape in a jazz lounge at a jam festival? From thundering, dissonant prog-jazz to thrashing punk howls to deranged Dillon raps to an ethereal vibraphone rendering of Nine Inch Nails‘ “Hurt” and guest spots by drummer Kris Myers (Umphrey’s McGee), guitarist Shawn Eckels (Andy Frasco & The U.N.), pianist Brian Haas (Punkadelick), and more, the madmen of Fackn’ A embraced their roles as the anti-heroes of the jam-funk boat for two hours straight without the slightest tap on the breaks.

It seemed they still had some gas left in the tank when they got the signal from production that their time was up. Dillon congratulated those who had survived the wild ride: “Ladies and gentlemen, you are the true freaks of Jam Cruise.” As bassist Luke Bemand added, “This is our new band, what’d you think? We were gonna do something funky, but we did this instead.”


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The Mighty Umphrey’s McGee Boards The Boat

Cruisers have been awaiting Umphrey’s McGee’s arrival on the boat all week, and the band’s first of two Pool Deck headlining shows made good on that anticipation, bringing renewed rock and roll energy to the voyage. The prog-jam sextet captivated the Pool Deck late into the night on Friday with one of the strongest sets of Jam Cruise 19 so far, and the band’s just getting started: Umphrey’s hits the Pool Deck once again on Saturday night for another two-hour blowout.

Yesmann & Butcher Brown’s DJ Harrison Connect Behind The Decks

The late-night offerings were strong on Friday, from Umphrey’s to a Taz-led Jam Room featuring a long list of participants from across the week’s lineup. Meanwhile, Yesmann (Cool Cool Cool’s Craig Brodhead) curated a diverse and immersive DJ set in the Galaxy Disco for Cruisers intent on keeping the party going. As the clock pushed past 4:00 a.m., Butcher Brown mastermind DJ Harrison jumped behind the decks with Brodhead to add live synth accents to the mix.

Revisit the rest of the action from Jam Cruise 19 with Live For Live Music‘s recaps from day oneday twoday three, day four, and day six. Check out a selection of photos from day five below.


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