Jam Cruise is set to hit the high seas of the Carribean and beyond for the 18th edition of the beloved musical cruise and destination event next month. With a loaded musical lineup in tow, Jam Cruise 18 will return back to its five-day format in 2020 as the whole trip takes place from January 7th-12th aboard the MSC Divina with scheduled stops in Ocean Cays, Bahamas and Costa Maya, Mexico.
Jam Cruise 18 will feature performances around the ship throughout the trip from The Claypool Lennon Delirium, moe., Galactic, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe, Les Claypool’s Bastard Jazz, Lettuce, Lotus, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, Turkuaz, Garage a Trois, Dumpstaphunk, Tank and the Bangas, Electron, Ghost Light, The Soul Rebels, Samantha Fish, Circles Around the Sun, Robert Walter’s 20th Congress (ft. George Porter Jr.), Too Many Zooz, Grateful Shred, and many more.
While Jam Cruise will be filled with fantastic performances every day and night, as inevitable with any festival, the daily artist schedule has its fair share of conflicting set times. One added bonus with this nautical festival, however, is that the majority of the acts play twice over the course of the voyage, a fact which may inform your final onboard itinerary. With so much great music spread throughout the JC18 schedule, there are bound to be some tough decisions that fans will have to make come January 7th.
With that being said, here are a few of the notable performance conflicts throughout the cruise which fans will have to decide upon. Remember, there is no real wrong decision when it comes to mapping out your Jam Cruise schedule—as long as there’s some kind of performance being played out in front of you, everybody wins.
Les Claypool’s Bastard Jazz, Ghost-Note, and George Porter Jr. (Tuesday)
Day one at sea is going to be a doozy, with bands including Lettuce, Dumpstaphunk, Lotus, Turkuaz, The Claypool Lennon Delirium, and more all playing throughout the afternoon and into the first night. Speaking of Claypool, his other project, Les Claypool’s Bastard Jazz, is playing a late-night set in the Pantheon Theater beginning at 1:30 a.m. A very short while later over in the Jam Room, funk bassist George Porter Jr. will start his own jam set at 2:30 am. Who knows what might happen or who may show up to jam out with the Meters‘ bassist. It’s also worth mentioning that ultra-talented funk fusion collective Ghost-Note is Pool Deck at that time from 2:15 a.m. until 3:35 am. If you time it just right and put some pep in your step, the schedule does allow you to hit at least some of each, but there’s no denying it’s a busy first night at sea. Best of luck with your decision on this one.
Galactic and moe. (Wednesday)
Day two is a little more manageable in terms of direct conflicting set times, but no less busy overall. One of the main conflicts is Galactic, who play the Pool Deck at 10:45 p.m., at the same time moe. takes the stage in the Pantheon Theater. The one positive to take away from this cruise conundrum is that Galactic’s set ends at 12:15 a.m., giving ambitious fans a whole 30 minutes to make it to the Pantheon Theater to catch what’s left of moe., who are scheduled to keep on rockin’ until 12:45 a.m. We recommend taking the elevator.
Shira Elias (Turkuaz) and The Soul Rebels (Thursday)
The afternoon and early evening of day three on Thursday are relatively quiet, with sets scattered throughout the day from Grateful Shred, Tom Hamilton, and Samantha Fish, to name a few. Right around the dinner hour, however, The Soul Rebels will take the stage in the Pantheon Theater at 8:30 p.m., right before Turkuaz singer Shira Elias begins her own unplugged performance in the ship’s Atrium. The Soul Rebels have a new album out, and fans know they’ll be ready to bust out the new tunes for Cruisers. Shira Elias has also started to debut her own original material this year, and is proving to be a musical force of fun even without her eight Turkuaz bandmates.
Karina Rykman and DJ Brownie (Thursday)
One of the other conflicting sets on Thursday (technically early Friday at that point) will be the late-night performances from bassist Karina Rykman in the Jam Room starting at 2:30 a.m., and Marc “DJ Brownie” Brownstein in the Galaxy Disco starting at 3 a.m. The ability to lead group jams has been Rykman’s biggest strength as the Marco Benevento bassist has started to branch out with her Karina Rykman Experiment shows recently, so heading her own Jam Room set should be familiar territory for the young bandleader. Remember, though, Brownstein is no rookie. The Disco Biscuits formed out of the house party scene at the University of Pennsylvania, so Brownie should have no problem channeling his college days to set the mood for his late-night dance rave behind the turntables.
Grateful Shred and Kevin Scott (Friday)
Friday at sea is one wild mess of conflicting sets left and right. One notable performance pickle is when Grateful Shred plays the Black and White Lounge at 12:15 a.m. late Friday night at the same time bassist Kevin Scott sets up shop in the Jazz Lounge at 12 a.m. The CA-based Grateful Dead cover band does a damn fine job of sharing the music of the famous jam band, and no “jam” event is complete without a set of Dead tunes. Don’t overlook Scott, though, as the Atlanta musician is one of the hottest in-demand bassists in the scene today, and is currently a member of bands like Jimmy Herring‘s The 5 of 7. Perhaps simply flipping a coin would be the easiest way to settle this one.
For more info on the full schedule of performers for Jam Cruise 18, head to the event website.