Jam Cruise 20 In Jamaica: Day 3 Highlights — Steel Pulse, Cory Wong, Chali 2na & Cut Chemist + More

Magic Beans, the Krasno/Moore Project and Sweet Lillies were among others who also impressed on Tuesday aboard the MSC Divina.

By Scott Bernstein Feb 28, 2024 11:59 am PST

Jam Cruise 20 made its first port stop — Montego Bay in Jamaica — on Tuesday. Fittingly, reggae icons Steel Pulse played the Pool Deck while the MSC Divina was docked in Jamaica. Other standout sets came from guitarist Eric Krasno and drummer Stanton Moore‘s Krasno/Moore Project ensemble, turntabalist Cut Chemist and rapper Chali 2na‘s euphoric collaboration and a memorable Pantheon Theater performance delivered by moe..

Steel Pulse’s first set of the trip showcased vocalist David Hinds on such songs as “Soldiers,” “Babylon Makes The Rules” and “Stop You Coming & Come.” While formed in Birmingham, England, Steel Pulse sound was heavily influenced by the island of Jamaica. Bassist Amlak Tafari was a revelation both instrumentally and via his role as hypeman. Tafari was a ball of energy that got the crowd involved in a big way. Hinds belted out the frequent Jerry Garcia Band cover of “Don’t Let Go” to end Steel Pulse’s main set and the band picked Grateful Dead fan-favorite “Franklin’s Tower” for the finale of their performance.


Much has changed in the moe. world since the last time the band was on the ship back in 2020. Guitarist Chuck Garvey suffered and recovered from a major stroke that kept him off the road for a year. Garvey was greeted by huge cheers in the Pantheon Theater on Tuesday when he stepped to the mic to sing “Hi & Lo,” his first turn in the vocal spotlight of Jam Cruise 20. Chuck had another turn out front on “Four.” The sextet patiently worked through “Four” with Garvey adding elements of Frank Zappa’s “Inca Roads” dotting his powerhouse solo. moe. then landed on a blissful groove they used as an intro to live staple “Buster.” Chuck hasn’t lost any speed from his “curveball” and feasted on the diverse and magical “Four” and “Buster” solos.

moe. welcomed percussionist Mike Dillon to share the stage on “Buster.” Dillon and moe. percussionist Jim Loughlin gave the song extra Latin flair with their handiwork. The six-piece returned to link their own “Threw It All Away” and a cover of Blue Oyster Cult’s “Godzilla” as their encore.

Guitarist Cory Wong took the Pantheon Theater stage ahead of moe. with his dynamic backing band The Wong Notes. The Minneapolis-based axeman and his talented ensemble focused on originals from the last few Wong albums and threw in a crowd-pleasing romp through Steely Dan’s “Peg” for good measure.

Colorado string band The Sweet Lillies were given “The Spot” torch and ran with it. “The Spot” is an unofficial stage established on Jam Cruise 9 in 2011 by singer-songwriter Nathan Moore to give singer-songwriters and more acoustic-based musicians extra opportunities to perform. The space is located outside on the deck adjacent to the “Jam Room.”

Moore missed his first Jam Cruise since 2010 last year and asked The Sweet Lillies to move the tradition forward. The Sweet Lillies serve as “The Spot” house band of sorts with guest musicians tagging in to lead certain songs. Not only did the Colorado-based outfit hold down “The Spot” on Tuesday, they also presented a 90-minute performance in the atrium in which they were joined by the likes of bassist George Porter Jr., turntablist DJ Logic and many other friends. A highlight was a particularly resonant “Helplessly Hoping. (CSN)


Galactic drummer Stanton Moore teamed with guitarist Eric Krasno and keyboardist Eric Poland for a Krasno/Moore Project set in the Golden Jazz Bar. The band brought up guitarist Duane Betts to lend a hand of “In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed,” a The Allman Brothers Band song written by his father Dickey Betts. Duane channeled his dad and swapped licks with Krasno to bring the cover to a rousing conclusion.

Colorado’s Magic Beans took over the cozy Black & White Lounge just after the clock hit midnight. The Beans drew a big crowd to the Brews At Sea Stage on the first night of the trip and replicated the feat last night. Not only was the Black & White Lounge packed with Magic Beans fans, but many knew the words to most songs and were singing along. These guys know how to jam deeply and impressively but also know how to craft a catchy tune that leaves an impression.

Old pals and longtime collaborators Chali 2na and Cut Chemist threw down on the Pool Deck to end the outdoor action a smidge before 4 a.m. 2na told stories of their work together and delivered one memorable rap after another. Cut Chemist also showed off his freestyle abilities. He wasn’t half bad. The 90-minute set was the perfect dance party for that time at night/of the morning.

As 4 a.m. approached, “The Spot” and Jam Room were still going strong with some cruisers taking the chance to get an early breakfast. Vocalist Elise Testone and Adyron de Leon were the Jam Room hosts and invited many of their fellow vocalists to lead songs during the time in the Jam room including Sammi Garett and Kanika Moore.


Jam Cruise 20 reached its second and final port-of-call in Grand Cayman on Wednesday. Festivalgoers can check out the town, relax on the beach, catch up on sleep or do whatever they felt would be the best use of time. The music resumes around 6 p.m. and goes into the morning light. Follow @JamBase on Instagram for live reports from Jam Cruise 20.

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