Down in the Teatro Carlo Felice, Greensky Bluegrass pulled in a big audience and kept fans rockin’ throughout. Joel Cummins added keys and vocals to three or four tunes including a rollocking cover of She Came In Through The Bathroom Window. Later in the set, Steve Kimock joined the Michigan boys for King of the Hill. GB is a band I wasn’t familiar with at all before leaving, but really made an impression on me. Especially later in the night when the group participated in an impromptu picking party around 3AM on a side deck of the boat fronted by NoCal’s Nathan Moore – talk about an “only on Jam Cruise” experience.
The MSC Poesia’s Zebra Bar is the smallest venue on the boat and that room gets jammed up when a higher profile act performs. It was never more crowded than when Zach Deputy tore shit up from 9:30PM to 10:45PM. I’d love to tell you more about the set other than his fantastic covers of The Theme to the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Sex Machine, but I couldn’t get close enough to even see Zach. Clearly, this man has had a ridiculous 2010 and his audience has grown by leaps and bounds.
Next, I headed back to the Pool Deck for Big Gigantic. This Sax/DJ & drummer combo turned the outside venue into Dance Party USA with electronica-infused grooves galore. Drummer Dominic Lalli crushed his kit all night long and certainly impressed. Down in the Zebra Bar, JoJo’s Mardi Gras Band was holding court where the Widespread Panic keyboardist and his band of NoLa musicians were joined by Taylor Hicks for most of the set including a “fantastico” version of Love The One You’re With. As a Panic fan, it was clear Hicks was eating the experience up. Taylor continued to make his presence felt across the boat and will host the “Gong Show” this evening.
Before I go on with my recap, I need to mention that the TVs in each cabin feature three channels of Jam Cruise programming. One channel features announcements and snippets about the trip, one channel features a slideshow of photos from the previous day and one channel features video footage from the day before. As I write this article, I’m watching the God Street Wine set I wrote about yesterday. The “instant nostalgia” (fellow scribe Dennis Cook came up with that term) is bizarrely awesome as you relive amazing moments from the previous days before you even get off the boat.
Funksters Lettuce had a huge crowd watching in the Teatro Carlo Felice with Karl D. sitting in on a few tunes. At this point, we were knee-deep in the late night action as George Porter Jr. was the host in the Jam Room. Last night’s Jam Room contained the best music of all my evenings in the Jam Room on last year’s trip and this year’s adventure thanks to a continually rotating lineup of top-shelf musicians joining in including all of Dumpstaphunk, Brock Butler, Steve Kimock, Zach Deputy, Ron Johnson, Rob Wasserman, Danny Louis, Robert Walter, Johnny Vidacovich, keyboardist Pete Levin, Nigel Hall, Will Bernard, Karl Denson, Wally Ingram, JoJo Herman, Zach Deputy and Billy Kreutzmann. Highlights included a funktastic Sneakin’ Sally, a sick I Wanna Take You Higher > Shining Star, Can You Get to That?, Wind Cries Mary and Will It Go Round in Circles. Though, I must say, the Sugaree sung by Porter, who was backed by Billy, Danny Louis, Karl D, Zach D,, Ian Neville and JoJo was just insane.
[Photo by Jeremy Gordon]
Over in the Disco, Eric Krasno showed off his DJ skills leading into an extremely long set of electro and house by HT’s Wade “Wyllys” Wilby. Wilby gave a little of the “hustler vibe” by welcoming Jennifer Hartswick on trumpet and vox as well as Karl D. on sax. At this point, it was 6AM and I was ready to go to sleep, but had heard rumors of a Brock Butler set. Those who know me, know I wouldn’t miss that. Also, you may recall a couple of mentions of the “Awesometown” crew in my reviews from last year’s trip. These group of kids are all about the music and huge Brock fans. Brock loves playing in front of attentive audiences and knew the 20 folks gathered around the Awesometown table would be the perfect group to take in his tunes as the sun rose over the pool deck.
Brock’s sunrise set last year was one of my favorite moments and this year’s two-hour long acoustic set at the Awesometown table came damn close to topping that experience. Butler took requests from the likes of me and anyone who would pass by and request a tune. Highlights included covers of Kiss by Prince, Graceland by Paul Simon, Float On by Modest Mouse and a loving singalong to the Cheers theme song. I went to bed at 9AM smiling like an idiot.