Bay Area fans of New Orleans funk were in for a treat on Saturday night as the five-headed behemoth of booty shaking known as Dumpstaphunk came rolling through town for their first ever gig in Oakland. Their destination: The New Parish, a club that opened its door less than two years ago. Their mission: to bring a little bit of New Orleans to the Bay, and lord did they ever.
The first trick up their sleeve was getting the legendary Zigaboo Modeliste to open the show for them. Zigaboo essentially invented funk drumming during his time with The Meters, and all these years later the man hasn’t lost a single step. As soon as he took the stage he jumped right into the famous opening beat to “Cissy Strut,” and everyone in the crowd was instantly transported down to Frenchman Street. He made another nod to his time with The Meters by following with “Africa,” and then started dipping into his solo catalog with his band The New Aahkesstra. While these songs might not always have been as funky as The Meters’ classic, his beats kept the crowd moving throughout his hour long set.
Anyone who’s seen Dumpstaphunk over the years knows that it’s almost damn near impossible not to dance when these guys are on stage. The band formed as a one-off JazzFest superjam in 2003 handpicked by NOLA royalty Ivan Neville, but the chemistry onstage was so electric and the funk so thick that the band had no choice but to take their show on the road. Since then they have been honing their craft at small clubs and festivals the world over, and they only get better every time I see them. With the recent addition of NOLA drummer Nikki Glaspie, they truly are taking their sound to the next level and might just be the funkiest band touring today. Their not so secret weapon: the double bass attack of Tony Hall & Nick Daniels. Sure, it’s Ivan’s band, but the rhythm section is what really differentiates these guys and makes the band’s sound as thick and swampy as it is.
The band was firing on all cylinders from note one, with Tony roaming around the stage like a madman. Ivan was hyping up the crowd like only he can, and everyone was grooving hard. The only issue was that the band couldn’t hear themselves play, due to some amateur behind the board. Tony and Nick kept motioning to the sound guy to turn up the vocals, the keys, the drums, etc. in the monitors, and even spent one or two minutes between songs talking to the guy, but it didn’t seem to make any difference. Needless to say, the sound guy was on the receiving end of many frustrated and exasperated icy stares.
Some of our crew had to leave the show early to catch the last BART back to the city, but I opted to stick around because I was grooving too damn hard. I was handsomely rewarded with a killer one two three punch of an uber funky yet spot on rendition of David Bowie’s “Fame”, that segued nicely into Dumpstaphunk’s signature song “(Put It in the) Dumpsta” and was followed up by Parliament Funkadelic’s “One Nation (Under a Groove)”. Some serious hot shit right there.
The rest of the set is a bit of a blur, but needless to say everyone went home happy. If Dumpstaphunk comes to your town, definitely don’t miss them. Your ass will thank you!
All in all it was a great night. With the exception of the sound issues, the band was in fine form. Check out the full setlist below:
Fame -> Dumpsta