The wafting heat flowed into New York City this weekend, very reminiscent of the dirty south; could it have been a coincidence that the gritty funk and hopping brass of New Orleans was in town? The “Mardi Gras Road Show” rolled into Greenwich Village with two of the most active bands from the Crescent City that are doing-it-up proper on the road today, Ivan Neville’s Dumpstaphunk and The Rebirth Brass Band.
On this night the boys from the Dumpsta’ started things off, flipping their opening/closing roll from the night before at the Highline Ballroom. This band has New Orleans funk flowing their veins, literally. Fronted by Ivan Neville on Keys, this five piece gets down and dirty with a double bass attack provided by Tony Hall and Nick Daniels while the exciting Ian Neville struts and strums on guitar. The fluid Raymond Weber was on the kit and vocals and got the sold out house’s collective ass a’shaking off the bat.
The crew threw-down the breakdown instrumental goodness of “Lt. Dan” which was offset by the pleading vocals and message of “Turn This Thing Around." Bass duels and extended keyboard workout’s were abundant on the evening. Simply put: one of the baddest funk groups on the planet.
The night kept rolling with The Rebirth Brass Band as what seemed like 100 horns crowded onto the stage. If Dumpstafunk is in contention for the best funk band going, Rebirth Brass has gotta be in the title hunt for best brass. After playing Sullivan Hall on New Years Eve, the group seems to have a special affinity for the venue busting out the funk and flavor, with their own jazzy brassy goodness. There was a defiant and exhilarating undercurrent to their set which was powerful yet everybody felt like “Bustin’ Loose”. Most tunes flowed from one to the other as the word “party” sprung from everyone’s lips and moved everyone’s hips. The band’s and revelers would still be spreading the Mardi Gras goodness if they had their way, but as it is, the Big Apple got a huge taste of what makes the Big Easy so damn special.