Words and Images by: Andrew Bruss
Full review below photo gallery!
Our first full day at sea provided plenty of opportunity to recover from night one, get to know the lay of the land a little better, and enjoy Greensky Bluegrass from one of the hot tubs. The theme for the second night was Blue Lagoon Boogaloo, and the majority of cruisers took the occasion to get in touch with their inner Blue Meanie. Every single performance of Day Two had its high points, but throughout the day, a few moments stood out head above the rest.
MSMW loves NOLA
There are plenty of performers on board with close ties to New Orleans. Medeski Scofield Martin & Wood aren’t one of them. That’s why it was the best kind of shock when Sco and the MMW boys spent so much of their last performance on the boat showing some love for Who Dat Nation. “Little Walter Rides Again” just might be the funkiest tune the quartet has recorded on their two studio releases, and it’s never sounded funkier than when they brought out Ivan Neville to rock the Hammond on the tune. Sporting his Saints cap and an aura of groove, Neville’s presence alone brought “Little Walter” to a whole new plateau of excellence. Even better, MSMW welcomed Roosevelt Collier (lap steel guitar) and Nigel Hall (organ) to the stage for one of the most fusion-heavy versions of “When The Saints Go Marching In,” this side of the Superdome. After their set, Scofield and Collier were chatting in the pizza line about what a great time they had. MSMW’s second performance of the trip was even better than the first.
While the emphasis of the musical programming thus far has been placed on funk and instrumental improvisation, Brock Butler warmed hearts on the Wind Stage, hovering above the pool deck, during a gentle version of Bon Iver’s “Holocene.” Earlier in the day, Greensky Bluegrass performed Bruce Springsteen’s “Atlantic City,” but they played Levon Helm’s mandolin-heavy version. While the Springsteen tune tugged at the heartstrings of anybody who’s ever reassured a loved one, knowing things wouldn’t be ok (“Put your makeup on and fix your hair up pretty, and meet me tonight in Atlantic City), Galactic made the pool deck rumble when they covered “Cult of Personality,” from touring vocalist Corey Glover’s most known band, Living Colour.
Femi Kuti & The Positive Force blew the roof off the theater stationed in the bow of the ship, unleashing a full set of afro-pop that enthused the audience with a stellar band, great dancers, and a powerful message of social justice. Kuti’s father, Fela, is widely credited with breaking ground in the genre, but while Femi sang about removing the shackles of colonialism and fighting for the truth, he echoed the sentiments of Bob Marley while leading his band like a Pan-African James Brown. Kuti played keys, alto sax and clarinet with an authority worthy of his bloodline, and every booty within earshot of the stage was shakin'.
JamBase | At Sea
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