New Orleans funk and jam band Dumpstaphunk gave us not only a name to remember, but also a killer live experience at the Pour House on Saturday night. Funk, sometimes a neglected genre, is given an outstandingly fresh renovation by this quintet, which was formed over a decade ago. Funksters gathered at the Pour House to come see the band that has grown from a small side project into one of New Orleans’ most prestigious current funk ensembles. Born on the Jazz & Heritage Festival stage in NOLA, these guys give us the infectious gritty groove that doesn’t give listeners a chance to stop giving it all they’ve got. The culture and soulful spice from their home city oozed through their music into ours. With funky guitar riffs, jazz arrangements, and dueling basslines courtesy of Tony Hall and Nick Daniels III, they had the performance down to a tee and were very interactive and verbal with audience members. The band’s most recent record, Dirty Word (2013), unites anyone who is a fan of a booty-shakin’, head-noddin’ funky time. Ivan Neville also nailed it on the keys alongside his cousin Ian Neville on guitar. The newest addition to the band, Alvin Ford Jr., a powerhouse drummer, proved to be an excellent add-on as well. They began the set with a bunch of songs off the new record, including the catchy hit “Reality of the Situation.” With smooth, jazzy transitions, they jammed for a good two hours.
The crowd, however, was perfectly worn in by the multitalented opener Laura Reed, a sassy and seductive R&B/soul singer with a killer voice. South African by birth but holding fast to Nashville and NC music roots, Reed added a touch to the show that balanced the whole vibe of the music. As if her Amy Winehouse-esque voice isn't enough, she surprised the audience by slaying it on the harmonica, a perfect instrumental match for her sound. She has begun to truly establish herself with her thought-provoking lyricism and inspirational energy, which is apparent on her solo debut album, The Awakening. She also came out and performed with Dumpstaphunk later in the night during their set, and they did a perfect version of the absolute classic “Tell Me Something Good” by Rufus and Chaka Khan, which the whole audience went crazy for. With each deeply intricate progression, mixed with some awesome vocals by Laura Reed, Dumpstaphunk shared the true spirit of “The Big Easy” with the Holy City.
Photographs by G. Smith Photography