On Sunday night, following Jamiroquai‘s headlining set at North Coast Music Festival, funk fans converged on Chicago’s Concord Music Hall for a highly anticipated after party: the debut live performance of new Vulfpeck offshoot, The Fearless Flyers, comprised of Vulfpeck bassist Joe Dart, guitarist Cory Wong, drummer Nate Smith, and Snarky Puppy guitarist Mark Lettieri. Each of the band members took impressive solos and welcomed a slew of special guests as they turned in an incredibly tight set that easily exceeded fans’ lofty expectations for the new outfit.

After an introduction from Vulfpeck mastermind Jack Stratton, The Flyers took the stage and launched into a string of songs from their recently-released self-titled debut EP, including “Ace of Aces“, their instrumental version of The Little Mermaid classic “Under The Sea”, “Introducing the Fearless Flyers”, and “Barbara”. As the show continued, The Fearless Flyers worked a handful of Vulfpeck go-tos into their set, including “The Speedwalker”, “Sky Mall”, and “The Birdwatcher”, as well as a Flyers-appropriate spin on “Daddy, He Got A Tesla”—”Daddy, He Got A Cessna“—preceded by a fearless Joe Dart bass solo featuring teases of Rage Against The Machine‘s “Bulls On Parade”.

The Fearless Flyers also welcomed some familiar guests for sing-along covers at their debut performance. Midway through the set, Antwaun Stanley joined the band onstage to lead them on vocals through a cover of Stevie Wonder‘s “Boogie On Reggae Woman”. Later, Theo Katzman joined his Vulf Records cohorts to sing lead on Hanson‘s “mmmBop”, and returned once again after a cover of Prince‘s “Controversy” to give an emphatic young Michael Jackson impression on “I Want You Back”.

However, the biggest surprise sit-in of the night came when Wong welcomed Jamiroquai’s Jay Kay to the stage. Kay led the band on vocals for a rendition of the Bobby Hebb-penned live Jamiroquai favorite, “Sunny”. Midway through the song, Kay took a moment to reflect on discovering the musicians onstage with him. “Back where I’m from in London,” he mused, “we heard these guys on the radio a few years ago, and I go to my friend, ‘who’s that band!?’ He turns around, he says, ‘that’s Vulfpeck.'”

The Fearless Flyers guest appearance by Kay was not the first time he publicly showed Vulf love. The Jamiroquai frontman called Vulfpeck “magic” in a recent Rolling Stone interview. Members of Jamiroquai also appeared with Wong, Stanley, and Dart at #RiffWars the previous evening. As Kay bobbed around the stage and traded vocal lines with Stanley, fans beamed at the realization of these musicians’ well-earned mutual admiration.

Got to play with my heroes. Thank you, Jay. Thank you, Fearless Flyers ✈️

A post shared by Joe Dart (@joe_dart) on

In another memorably unexpected moment, off-kilter comedian Eric Andre came out to introduce the band for their double encore, which included covers of James Brown‘s “Cold Sweat” and their EP version of Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered”.

With a thoroughly “magic” debut performance featuring a surprise appearance from one of the biggest funk vocalists in the world, The Fearless Flyers have officially taken off.

Watch videos from The Fearless Flyers’ debut live performance below:

The Fearless Flyers – Joe Dart Solo > “Daddy, He Got A Cessna”

[Video: Miles Louden]

The Fearless Flyers w/ Jay Kay & Antwaun Stanley – “Sunny”

[Video: Miles Louden]

The Fearless Flyers – “Controversy” [Prince cover]

[Video: Miles Louden]

The Fearless Flyers – “Cold Sweat” [James Brown cover] w/ Eric Andre Introduction

[Video: Almost Random]

You can also check out a handful of photos from the performance courtesy of Phierce Photo by Keith Griner.