Glide’s Andrew Bruss will be providing on-going coverage of Jam Cruise 13 as it makes its way around sea over the course of five days. Without further ado, here are the highlights and photos from Day 1.
Super groups: The theater in the ships bow hosted two of the hottest super groups of the year back to back, giving the high-octane artists on the pool deck a run for their money. First up was The Word, fronted by Robert Randolph on the sacred steel. He left The Family Band on shore and was supported by John Medeski on organ and the full trio that makes up the North Mississippi All-Stars. These cats only play a handful of shows together each year and while they had to shake off a little rust, the intuitive chemistry between the five players overcame any minor flub here or there. Of everyone on stage, the dynamic between Randolph and guitarist Luther Dickenson was the strongest.
Following The Word, Dragon Smoke took the stage to perform their only set of the cruise. Ivan Neville, the crowned prince of NOLA-funk, held things down behind the same organ Medeski had been rockin’ earlier while the rhythm section from Galactic gave vocalist/guitarist Eric Lindell some extra bang for the buck. The highlight of their set was when they brought out Papa John Gros for a rendition of “Papa Was a Rolling Stone.”
Sailing away with The Motet: there are technically proficient acts on JamCruise but there is nobody on the MSC Divina funkier than The Motet. After the sun had set, Colorado’s finest inaugurated JC13 with dirty base, nasty grooves, wobbly synth licks and the high-energy stage presence of their singer.
Lights in the sky: Last time Pretty Lights played on Jam Cruise he was barely filling clubs. In 2015 he’s filling NBA arenas. While his set was far more digitally programmed than most of the instrumental acts on the bill, he augmented his standard set by incorporating an organ player, in addition to welcoming members of Lettuce on the stage to provide some organic low-end. His glitch brand of hip-hop EDM caused dance spasms as far as the eye could see and from a visual standpoint, he brought the best lights show that JamCruise has seen in some time.
We’ve yet to have had a full day of music but as we sail toward Honduras our first full day at sea promise more lengthy jams, once-in-a-lifetime collaborates, epic costumes, and more good vibes than should even be allowed on any one boat.