The Venice West welcomes NOLA’s favorite funkateers on June 28 2023. By Andy J. Gordon
People across Los Angeles may have thought they were experiencing an all too frequent earthquake the night of June 28, 2023. The vibrations were actually caused by Ivan Neville and Dumpstaphunk, the New Orleans based band with the thunderous rhythm section, who were shaking Venice, California’s The Venice West and the surrounding area during their tour stop. Neville is having a moment – he is celebrating the recent release of Touch My Soul, his first solo album in nearly two decades. At the same time, Dumpstaphunk is in the middle of a 24-city tour that brought them to the West Coast.
The night before hitting The Venice West, Neville brought his bandmates to support him for an interview and short set of the solo material on the roof of the Grammy Museum in Downtown Los Angeles. That appearance was just a semi-mellow preview of the full blast party that took place in the small club in Venice, CA. The sold-out crowd, filled with guests wearing New Orleans themed t-shirts, gave the band a warm welcome when they came onstage. Neville was joined by his regular bandmates – cousin Ian Neville on guitar, duel bass dynamos Nick Daniels III and Tony Hall, drummer Deven Trusclair, trumpeter John David Bradford and trombonist Alex Wasily.
From the opening notes of Link Wray’s “Fire and Brimstone” to the closing crescendo of the New Orleans Mardi Gras inspired “Street Parade,” the band had their collective feet firmly pressed on the gas pedal. Ivan Neville, Tony Hall and Nick Daniels III were in fine voice as they alternated on lead vocals. Bradford and Wasily provided spirited harmonies when they weren’t blasting synchronized horn arrangements and creative solos. The band made horns a permanent part of their mix a few years ago and that dynamic addition has had a profoundly positive impact on their sound. Heavy funk instrumentals called “Dumpstamental” and “Ichee Boo” featured a few of those intense, alternating horn solos.
While the band stuck mostly to their own songs, when Hall announced that they were changing up the set list and Ian Neville began the familiar guitar riff for Led Zeppelin’s “Ramble On,” the crowd went nuts. That song in addition to a few from their own catalog resulted in several loud sing alongs from the audience. Ivan Neville and the other band members have always had a strong sense of social responsibility and awareness. The past few years of living through the pandemic and increased racial strife has brought out even more of their lyrical activism. On songs like “Where Do We Go From Here,” “Justice” and “Dancin’ To The Truth” they expressed outrage, frustration, deep concern and ultimately, hope for a better future – all while blasting out infectious beats that had the packed in crowd dancing enthusiastically.
Dumpstaphunk ended their intimate Venice West show the way they started it – with hip shaking, extremely funky beats. After their Venice gig, the band headed up to Northern California for two shows before hitting the High Sierra Music Festival. They have additional dates across the US and Canada the rest of 2023 before wrapping up their tour at Jam Cruise 2024 next February.
Photos courtesy of Andy J. Gordon ©2023
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