Words by: Sarah Kim | Images by: Sarah Kim & Mike Chetrit
Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk :: 02.20.10 :: The Plaza Theatre :: Orlando, FL
Anyone passing by Orlando's Plaza Theatre following Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk would have seen a mass of sweaty, happy, stinky fans still grooving to the syncopated beats lingering in their heads long after the show ended. Ivan and Co. came into Florida, solidified their existing fan base and added a few more to call their own.
|Dumpstaphunk :: 02.20 :: Orlando, FL|
The opening act was nine-piece blues/soul fusion band The Bird Word. With a frontwoman like Daphne Cooper to mesmerize audiences with her soulful voice and witty, crowd pleasing lines and a passionate bandleader/guitarist like Terry Slingbaum to orchestrate the musicians, The Bird Word immediately warmed up the crowd for the main act.
Compared to a few years ago when Dumpstaphunk first played in Orlando at the House of Blues and concertgoers stood motionless, staring at the musicians until the third song in, the audience at the Plaza began to sway 15 seconds into the band's sound check. It seemed for most people this night, it was their first Dumpstaphunk show but not their last. As one new fan remarked after the show, "Funky is an understatement."
Dumpstaphunk's Ivan Neville (keys, vocals), Nick Daniels (bass, vocals), Tony Hall (bass, guitar), Ian Neville (guitar) and Raymond Weber (drums) drew in the mainly college aged, progressive audience by showing them "how they do it in New Orleans" and brought "it to all kinds of levels," according to Hall. Crunchy, catchy and upbeat jams shook off everyday stresses, not to mention socially conscious lyrics like, "What about those people in Haiti... We gonna turn this thing around."
Since their show at Bear Creek Music Festival in 2008, Dumpstaphunk has really grown as a band and Neville as a bandleader, which explicitly shows in the composition of their musicianship and relationship with the audience. Ivan's capability to smoothly combine his Clavinet lead and vocals with skillfully handled Hammond B3 without a hitch caused an enraptured buzz. With the crowd hanging on Hall's advice of taking "all that bad nerves" and Neville's lead of "put it in the dumpsta," Dumpstaphunk cranked out their classic theme song with the audience echoing closely behind.
|Dumpstaphunk :: 02.20 :: Orlando, FL|
As the concert continued the crowd began to thin out. However, that did not deter the band from "playing [their] heart out, whether it's for twenty people, for 200 people or for 20,000 people," as Daniels exclaimed before the show. Furthermore, the abiding audience seemed to feel fortunate to have the extra space around them to spread out, shake the sweat out of their hair and dance more freely, all paralleling the band's new song "I Just Want My Freedom."
After hours of heavily jammed out songs, the Nevilles, Daniels and Hall finally gave themselves a short breather and let the light shine on their rumbling drummer. Weber continued to stimulate the crowd's feet with fervor for the French Quarter through a good ol' New Orleans street parade-like shuffle intermixed with aggressive urban beats. His non-stop, syncopated attack led fans right into a rare treat of raw blues twisted into the dirty, dancing funk of Dumpstaphunk.
The Plaza Theatre, formerly Orlando's first and only two-screened movie theatre revamped into Orlando's most inviting venue for live entertainment, doubled up on its Cajun rooted artists by housing both Dumpstaphunk and Tab Benoit on the same night. For the encore, Benoit joined Ivan and the boys. Hall graciously let Benoit wail on his guitar alongside his old buddies Ian and Ivan Neville. With cries of "Who dat?" from the crowd and the artists' shared history and love for their Creole cradle, this party felt like an old house rager in grandma's over-sized living room, a victory celebration for the "Who Dat Nation."
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