Jam Cruise Report: Day Four (Stealth moe. and Segue into Galactic, Femi Kuti, Super Jam…)
Relix Executive Editor Mike Greenhaus is currently making the rounds on Jam Cruise 11. Here is his fourth report. Click here for his account of day one, click here for his take on day two and click here to revisit his day three report.
Photo by Dave Vann
Jam Cruise spent the day at sea as the MSC Poesia moved toward Coco Cay, Bahamas. With no stops on the schedule for Thursday, music went even later than usual on Wednesday night. For the first time this cruise, Perpetual Groove guitarist Brock Butler treated fans to a surprise sunrise acoustic set on the ship’s Pool Deck, a staple of years past. Meanwhile, as the members of Lettuce held court in the freeform Jam Room, guitarist Eric Krasno moved over to bass to demonstrate the skills he has perfected playing in the Nigel Hall Band.
Thursday’s musical festivities officially started with a set from Brokedown in Bakersfield on the cruise’s Pool Deck stage. Dedicated to only playing covers and originals that recall the Bakersfield, CA country rock sound, the West Coast group consists of guitarist Scott Law, The Mother Hips frontman Tim Bluhm, Gramblers singer Nicki Bluhm and three members of ALO (bassist Steve Adams, guitarist Dan Lebowitz and drummer Dave Brogan). The band’s repertoire includes Merle Haggard, Buck Owens and Gram Parsons covers. Elsewhere on the ship, Karl Denson led a Ba Duan Jin class, passengers watched the Col. Bruce Hampton documentary Basically Frightened and lined up for Jam Cruise’s popular artist signing event.
After Brokedown in Bakersfield’s performance, Steve Kimock took the stage with an all-star group of his own. Like most of his recent tours, Kimock’s band featured P-Funk keyboardist Bernie Worrell, Stockholm Syndrome drummer Wally Ingram and former Gov’t Mule/Black Crowes bassist Andy Hess. As with his Jam Cruise performance on Monday, Kimock also expanded his Pool Deck band to include his son John Morgan on a second drum kit. The musicians riffed on Bob Marley’s “Get Up, Stand Up” on two different occasions during their set and offered an instrumental reading of The Beatles’ “Come Together.” On Monday, Worrell revisited his time with Talking Heads by covering “Naïve Melody” with Kimock, and yesterday the keyboardist led the same group through another Talking Heads classic, “Burning Down the House.” Col. Bruce Hampton also sat in with the band on Sun Ra’s “Space is the Place.”
Perhaps the cruise’s biggest surprise took place after Kimock’s set on the unassuming Magic Hat Wind Stage, a balcony performance space that overlooks the ship’s pool. The afternoon’s 3PM spot was billed as an Al Schnier solo set. The moe. guitarist opened his acoustic segment with a solo take on “Smoke,” but then brought out moe. bassist Rob Derhak on a turned down electric bass for his next song, “Moth.” moe. drummer Vinnie Amico quietly joined his bandmates during the song’s jam. Then, the rest of moe. took the stage for a stealth, acoustic moe. set featuring “Nebraska,” Jimmy Cliff’s “The Harder They Come,” “Shoot First” and “Haze.” According to Schnier, the band decided to play at the last minute and borrowed equipment from acoustic players like Scott Law and Brock Butler. Acoustic music could be heard elsewhere on the ship as well. In the Zebra Bar, members of Hot Buttered Rum and Greensky Bluegrass banded together for the week’s official Pickin’ Party; their set consisted entirely of Beatles tunes. After moe.’s surprise show, Nathan Moore took command of the Magic Hat Wind Stage at sunset.
Meanwhile, the ship’s marquee Pool Deck stage offered different strains of funk. Afrobeat heir Femi Kuti and his 10-person group The Positive Force played for a sprawling crowd. Kuti thanked a Nigerian airline for helping get his big band to the US and moved between keyboards, saxophone and the vocal mic during this 90-munute performance. Then, he handed the stage over to New Mastersounds guitarist Eddie Roberts, who was tasked with organizing this year’s official Super Jam. The round-robin session drew in most of the ship’s funk performers at various points, including the members of Breakestra, Lettuce singer/keyboardist Nigel Hall, Greyboy Allstars keyboardist Robert Walter, Trey Anastasio Band trombonist Natalie Cressman, The Lettuce horns, percussionist Mike Dillon, members of Pimps of Joytime, saxophonist Karl Denson, Femi Kuti’s horn section, Lee Boys pedal steel player Roosevelt Collier, Galactic drummer Stanton Moore, Dave Matthews Band saxophonist Jeff Coffin and Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe/Greyboy Allstars bassist Chris Stillwell, among others. The members of The Motet served as Roberts’ backing band as musicians moved on and off the Pool Deckstage. A few unexpected guests joined in as well. Americana-loving couple Tim and Nicki Bluhm—who met Roberts while living in the Bay Area—appeared on a few songs, including “Who’s Making Love.” Meters keyboardist Art Neville also took the stage to play keyboards for one of the set’s final jams. Roberts remarked that this was his “favorite Jam Cruise” and says that he met some of the players who appear on his new solo album West Coast Sounds in the ship’s Jam Cruise during a previous trip.
Dame shares a song from her new EP Preventions of Heartbreak.
Golden Bloom stopped by Relix to perform a tune from their latest EP No Day Like Today.
The Chapin Sisters share an tune from their new album A Date With the Everly Brothers.
Minneapolis-based Night Moves share a song from their record, Colored Emotions, live at Relix.
Cloud Cult share a song from their latest album live at Relix.
The Giving Tree Band enjoy a spring day on the Relix rooftop, while performing a classic Grateful Dead tune.
Canadian singer-songwriter Hayden performs a duet with his sister-in-law Lou Canon. The song appears on Us Alone his first record on Broken Social Scene’s Arts & Crafts Productions.
The Milk Carton Kids share the first song from their new album, The Ash & Clay.
Here is the new video from Serbian guitar ace Ana Popovic. “Object Of Obsession” appears on her latest album Can You Stand The Heat.
Ron Sexsmith visits the Relix office to perform a tune from his latest record Forever Endeavor.
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