Words and Images by: Andrew Bruss
Full review below photo gallery!
Not long after Dumpstaphunk kicked off their 2am set in the theater (on what’s technically the fifth day of our journey), Ivan Neville told his audience that “Jam Cruise is the best party of the year,” and our fourth day on board backs up the claim like nobody's business.
Day Four took place at sea as we traveled to a private island in the Bahamas. In addition to more music that was, once again, that much better than the music played the day prior, our extra time on the boat gave way to another autograph session, an auction for a painting that artist Lebo made during Femi Kuti’s performance, and a Cirque Du Funk costume contest. More importantly, the earlier start time of the music schedule permitted more daytime sets on a pool deck that makes the most out of our picture perfect weather and view.
Al goes all out
moe.’s Al Schnier was scheduled to perform a solo set on the Wind Stage, the name given to the balcony overlooking the pool. Rather than do things on his own, he brought out his other four band mates, and from the comforts of hot tubs and a salt water swimming pool, Jam Cruisers got to enjoy an unplanned, extra performance by the band that tops the bill.
Femi Kuti & The Positive Force’s second performance was the most emotionally absorbing set of the trip so far, and serves to shoot down anyone who doubts Kuti’s status as the most charismatic performer onboard. Kuti’s songs, with lyrics like, “the Arab spring didn’t bring roses,” stir feelings of frustration and dissatisfaction in regards to issues pertaining to social justice. But the power of his music made his audience feel like we have the strength and the will to make a difference. Without a doubt, the second of Kuti’s two performances was the best.
Even the most seasoned concertgoer is going to come back from any festival worth its salt loving a previously unknown act that came out of left field. MarchFourth Marching Band wins the honors on Jam Cruise 11. The Portland, Oregon-based ensemble fuses a drum line foundation with funky, NOLA-style horn arrangements and a theatrical execution that makes the folks at Cirque du Soleil look like a bunch of awkward prudes. In addition to excellent musicianship, MarchFourth Marching Band threw down dancers on stilts, costumes that pop, solid choreography and a whole lot of booty shaking. MarchFourth is the poster child for the “Party of the Year” Ivan Neville was talking about.
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