This past Thursday a serious taste of New Orleans came to Atlanta’s Terminal West when Dumpstaphunk rolled into town and threw down. If you weren’t there, it’s seriously your loss and too bad for you.
The evening opened up with a set from Atlanta’s own AJ Ghent Band. Along with bringing their own blend of rock, soul, and R&B to the stage, AJ Ghent has carved a musical niche with a unique interpretation of the lap steel. Backed by bassist Seth Watters, guitarist Gary Paulo, and drummer Will Groth, there’s a solid wall of sound from the first note to the last. The band delivers vocally, as well, with AJ’s stunning voice punctuated by the delightfully rich harmonies of MarLa Ghent and Tiffany Ghent Belle. They’ll be releasing debut album, “Live at Terminal West,” on 7 April. Get yourself a copy as soon as it drops. Your ears will thank you!
At 10:30 Dumpstaphunk hit the stage, opening the 90-minute set with ‘Blueswave.’ The funk was hot and the crowd was on their feet for the rest of the evening. I expected nothing less than spectacular and Dumpstaphunk delivered. But why wouldn’t they? Ivan Neville is part of the ‘First Family of Funk,’ and brings with him a musical heritage rich in talent and experience. The talented Mr. Neville is joined in Dumpstaphunk by bassists Nick Daniels III and Tony Hall, guitarist Ian Neville, and drummer Alvin Ford, Jr.
If you’re paying attention here, you’ll notice that I said “bassists.” S. Plural. Two of them. You might be thinking, as I did before I actually heard Dumpstaphunk the first time, that this could get messy with two basses romping around in the low end together. You’d be completely wrong, just like I was. Hall and Daniels deliver a unique brand of magic that speaks of more than just musical compatibility. It was evident while watching that these two incredibly talented musicians are not just bandmates, they are family; and like most families, they know each other very, very well. Well enough, in fact, to create basslines that complement each other’s work without ego or competition.
There’s no shortage of interesting at a Dumpstaphunk show, either. Mid-set, Ivan Neville came out from behind the organ and plugged in on guitar with Ian Neville. Tony Hall also switched it up and put down the bass to play guitar on a couple of tunes. The whole band projects a vibe that draws in the audience for every minute of the show and leaves you feeling like you’re at a party. That party collectively held their breath when Alvin Ford, Jr. was given the spotlight during ‘Funk 49,’ and the rest of the band laid back and let him own the show.
The 10-song set wrapped just after midnight and the crowd let loose begging for an encore. It’s Dumpstaphunk, and what’s a night with Dumpstaphunk if we don’t stick it in the Dumpsta? And stick it we did. For the set list junkies out there, here’s how the night went down:
I Know You Know
Everybody Want Sum
They Don’t Care
Dancin to the Truth
Dumpstaphunk is currently out on tour with upcoming shows in Auburn, Birmingham, and Mobile, Alabama the week of March 9. Check out their full schedule for other shows coming to a city near you. For those of you near me in Georgia, they’ll be back in our neck of the woods next month, performing on 16 April at the Georgia Theater in Athens. People’s Blues of Richmond and Tea Leaf Green will open. Check it out and get your tickets now.