By Steve Bloom

Longtime HIGH TIMES favorite Jamiroquai returned to New York last week for two shows at Times Square’s new Nokia Theater. The British funk-pop band, known best for 1997 Grammy winner “Virtual Insanity,” last played New York the night before 9/11. Four years later, Jamiroquai are as good as ever, largely due to the band’s charismatic frontman Jay Kay.

In town to promote the release of the band’s first CD since 2001’s A Funk Odyssey, Jamiroquai performed a relatively effortless 15-song set. Several songs were from the new album, Dynamite, with the sexy single, “Seven Days in Sunny June,” a mid-set highlight. The band included guitar, bass, keyboards, drums and three back-up singers. All band members are new except for drummer Derek McKenzie.

Songs from Jamiroquai’s 1996 hit album Traveling Without Moving proved to be the most enduring. “Little L,” “High Times’ (named for this magazine as well as Kay’s generally high state) and “Light Years” sandwiched around “Seven Days” had the crowd dancing with extra intensity.

Jamiroquai blend soul, disco, funk and Brazilian styles into an exhilarating whole. Often compared vocally to Stevie Wonder, Jay Kay has his own high-pitched voice, with just enough range to keep it interesting. A mad hatter of sorts, Kay wore a spiky black headdress with matching Aztec-style shirt and pants. He danced around in casual black tennis shoes.

Don’t miss Jamiroquai if they’re coming to your town. The rest of their US tour dates are as follows: San Francisco, 11/5-6; Los Angeles, 11/9. Then they head to Japan and Australia.

SET LIST

Canned Heat
Space Cowboy
Cosmic Girl
Revolution 1993
Little L
High Times
Seven Days In Sunny June
Light Years
Use The Force
Dynamite
Black Capricorn Day
Love Foolosophy
Main Vein/Time Won't Wait
Alright
Deeper Underground