Dumpstaphunk: Highline Ballroom, New York, NY 3/27/09

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Tickets for Dumpstaphunk’s March 27th show at the Highline Ballroom read "Post Allman Brothers Show,” but there were precious few Peachheads present for one A.M. start time or beyond. Not that it mattered because anyone entering the venue would’ve had the same reaction: an irresistible physical response to the overpowering rhythms exploding from the stage.

Ivan Neville’s quintet has its collective roots in New Orleans, but without the contemporary and perhaps not so contemporary influences at work, even the incessant beat supplied by drummer Raymond Weber and the two bassists–Tony Hall and Nick Daniels–might wear thin (thought the novelty of their pairing in simultaneously providing bottom and embellishment may be the group’s greatest distinction).

As it is, when Hall forsakes his bass for guitar, the influence of Curtis Mayfield is as obvious as that of Jimi Hendrix. Daniels may not be that gifted a vocalist on his own, but he doesn’t have to be, as his harmonizing with the rest of the band recalls the Impressions as much as the Ohio Players.

The topicality of the former’s latter-day songs season an otherwise relentless flow of rhythm that’s definitely best experienced live. Only interaction with an active audience like this New York City one could enliven a band (and itself) to such a fever pitch. A couple astute covers ensured the high-stepping crowd kept moving: Rolling Stones’ "Miss You’ elicited more singing along than guest Nigel Hall could muster when he appeared front and center –he acquitted himself on electric keyboards in contrast to Ivan’s concentration on Hammond organ and clavinet–while the encore of Sly Stone’s "’Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)" was a stroke of pure genius: the syncopation within the lyrics found its resounding reflection in the gigantic pulse of the band, reinforcing the sentiment of the words through pure joyous action.

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