Formula 5 Cruises the Hudson River

On a warm August evening, roughly 100 Formula 5 fans boarded the Dutch Apple cruise ship in Albany for a three-hour sunset cruise to Castleton and back.

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As part of the Howlin’ on the Hudson series presented by Guthrie Bell Productions and WEQX, local jam band stars Formula 5 played two sets on August 2 in the main cabin of the 65-foot-long passenger boat. With three deck levels to choose from, fans took in the scenery of the Hudson River from port to starboard, bow to stern with Formula 5 as the soundtrack.

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The first set was nautical and water themed, with all the songs relating to one or the other. Near the beginning, Greg Marek beat down a lengthy drum solo that, while perhaps unexpected, was a testament to the improvisational skills the band prides themselves on.

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The set weaved in and out of songs much like waves hitting a shore, descending only to fold over once again. Beginning with “Floating,” they also played both parts of “Trout Waters Pt. 1 & 2” as well as “Rising Tide.”

Set break came just as the boat passed under the Castleton Bridge, allowing the foursome to take have an opportunity to take in the views and chat with the many friends and family members on board.

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Like day into night, the second set was much more aggressive and technical, drawing in guests from throughout the vessel to the main cabin, now bursting at the seams with energy. Starting things off with a cover of Steely Dan’s “Hey Nineteen,” they transitioned to “Sad Bed,” one of their new songs quickly climbing in popularity. The Matt Richards original “American Goldfinch” gave way to “Nighttime in the Switching Yard” in which former keyboardist Mike McDonald hopped on keys next to Matt Richards on the synthesizer. This is the highlight of the evening as the boat is literally rocking due to the furious dancing feet on deck. They end with a cover of Vulfpeck’s “It Gets Funkier” as the boat pulls into the port of Albany.

A perfect way to spend a summer night, their show was part two of the four-part Howlin’ on the Hudson Series preceded by Eastbound Jesus. Guests can set sail with Mister F on August 16 and Gubblidis on August 23. Details can be found on the Dutch Apple Cruises website.

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Set 1: Floating > Boat Jam > Trout Waters Pt. I > Rising Tide > Tide Jam > Trout Waters Pt. II, Pedro

Set 2: Hey Nineteen > Sad Bed > 3 Ring Circus, American Goldfinch > Nighttime in the Switching Yard, It Gets Funkier