Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers played an afternoon beachside set at the Copacabana Hotel that included covers of Neil Young’s “Love is a Rose,” “You’re No Good” (made famous by Linda Ronstadt), and “Loving You is Sweeter Than Ever,” by The Four Tops.
Opening with their original “Keep It Loose,” the band was stoked to be playing the small deck stage surrounded by a yoga class, giant palm trees and the incredible Pacific Ocean. During introductions Nicki Bluhm joked that both she and her band were in need of some serious spray training.
Later, at Doce Lunas, the one-man show known as Zach Deputy brought his infectious, dance-along grooves back to the stage with his improv-story-song “Bikers Wearing Diapers,” and the autobiographical “Tubesteak.” Deputy then invited up Oteil Burbridge, one of his bass heroes, for a jam that included beatboxing and scatting.
Some beautifully crafted tie-dyes helped visuals onstage and off as they pulsed and vibrated with the stage lighting and full moon overhead. Fire dancers and LED hula-hoops spun late into the evening while silk-climbing aerial artists swayed in the trees.
Up next was Oteil Burbridge and Friends, featuring Max Creek’s Scott Murawski on guitar and Dumpstaphunk’s Nikki Glaspie on drums. Despite this being their first time playing together, the power trio found instant chemistry as they started off with a long and funky instrumental jam. Each member of the band got plenty of time to showcase their talents, whether it was Oteil scatting and tearing through his incredible six-stringed bass lines, Scott Murawski singing and shredding on his original “Cruel World,” or Nicki power-housing the drums and singing throughout the set.
Other highlights included Bob Marley’s “Natural Mystic,” Jimi Hendrix’s “Manic Depression” (both sung by Oteil) and The Meters’ “Look-Ka Py Py.”
Ian Neville, guitarist for Dumpstaphunk, joined for a cover of The Meters’ "Funky Miracle.” For most of the set Max Creek’s Jay Stanley added percussion, as did Zach Deputy for a few songs. Other sit-ins for the night included Glaspie’s teacher and guitarist for Ryan Montbleau’s band, Jeff Lockhart, and DJ Williams from Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe.
For the final jam of the night, Max Creek’s Mark Mercier played keys on “Franklin’s Tower,” which ended on a high note with everyone dancing into the night.