Photos via @JamCruise on FB
Jam Cruise 2020 spent its third day at sea, inching toward Costa Maya, Mexico.
As music lovers enjoyed a full day of programming, the MSC Divinia did fight off some choppy waters. However, Jam Cruisers paid no mind to the swaying seas, enjoying all the ship had to offer, from panels to autograph signings and (of course) plenty of live music.
Here’s some of the best things we saw on Jam Cruise’s third day…
Shred Is Dead
“This next band puts a really fascinating twist on the music we love… We were overjoyed that they wanted to join us on Jam Cruise,” Cloud 9’s Annabel Lukins said from the pool deck as she introduced Grateful Shred.
With sunny skies overhead, the band played a brief clip of Shaggy’s “Angel” – perhaps a nod to the unexpected Galactic/Ryan Montbleau/Chali 2na “It Wasn’t Me” from the night before – before launching into an opening “Scarlet”> “Fire” couplet.
Circles Around The Sun’s Adam MacDougall accompanied the band on keys for the entire performance, including a stretched out, organ-heavy “Viola Lee Blues.”
A sing along of the very-appropriate “Ship of Fools” offered a moment of contemplation before the band closed their first-ever Jam Cruise set with a rocking “Casey Jones.”
Lebo’s Garden Party
While Dan “Lebo” Lebowitz’s Garden Pool set was slightly delayed, it was certainly worth the wait, with a revolving cast of Jam Cruise all-stars stopping by for a variety of tunes.
Guests for the hour-long, outdoor performance included Al Schnier of moe., Nicki Bluhm, Matt Butler, Reed Mathis, George Porter Jr. and Jeremy Schon of Pigeons Playing Ping Pong.
An opening cover of Rick Nelson’s “Garden Party” nodded to the venue, but it was the “Sympathy for the Devil” cover (with Porter, Butler and Kimock) that really got the crowd moving.
At the end of the set, Lebo thanked the overwhelming number of fans in attendance and got slightly choked up, noting how honored he was to have such a large audience show up for his set.
The Soul Rebels Rock The Boat
As day turned into night – and the S.S. Jam Cruise ventured further into rough waters – fans and musicians alike could feel the vessel moving side to side.
The Soul Rebels used that momentum to their advantage, rocking the Pantheon Theater with guests like Ivan Neville of Dumpstaphunk and Nikki Glaspie of The Nth Power for a take on Allen Toussaint’s “Night People.”
“It’s jam cruise you never know [who’s gonna show up],” saxophonist Erion Williams winked, before welcoming Anjelika “Jelly” Joseph of Galactic and Glaspie for a take on Stevie Wonder’s “Master Blaster.”
Keeping the NOLA vibe strong, the Soul Rebels closed out their set with a funkified encore featuring Tank Ball of Tank & The Bangas.
Ghost Light Make It Rain
“I am addicted to this band. It’s so hard not to fall in love with their music,” Lukins said of Ghost Light, the Tom Hamilton, Holly Bowling, Scotty Zwang, Raina Mullen supergroup.
And while their opening take on “Hands” with the Turkuaz horns immediately drew in the hordes of music lovers on the pool deck, it was mother nature’s intervention that made Ghost Light’s jam cruise debut truly remarkable.
At the end of their set, as the band segued from “Diamond Eyes” back into a “Best Kept Secret” reprise (also with the Turkuaz horns), the skies opened up and it began to pour.
In perfect synchronicity with the music, Jam Cruisers were drenched with fresh rain, and the minute the band stepped offstage it stopped, making them wonder if Ghost Light could possibly control the weather.
Karina Rykman’s Feelin’ “Hella Good”
Bassist Karina Rykman made a splash on her first Jam Cruise by hosting the festival’s beloved Jam Room on Thursday night with an entirely improvised set.
With guests like Aron Magner, Holly Bowling, John Morgan Kimock, Craig Brodhead of Turkuaz and Joe Marcinek, Rykman had no shortage of friends to keep the tempo going.
A bass duel with Tony Hall of Dumpstaphunk pleased the low-end fans in the room, and a spontaneous version of No Doubt’s “Hella Good” (with Greg Ormont and Jeremy Schon of Pigeons Playing Ping Pong) was particularly rocking.
Rykman closed the late-night gig by taking lead vocals once more on the Butthole Surfers’ “Pepper” – a track she regularly covers when she’s performing with Marco Benevento.
“I like to jam, you know what Im sayin?” Rykman told the told the crowd with a grin, as the clock neared 4 a.m.
Jam Cruise continues through Jan. 11.