Words by: Rich Lieberman :: Images by: Robert Chapman

Dumpstaphunk & Cowboy Mouth
02.01.07 :: B.B. King's Blues Club :: New York, NY

Ivan Neville & Tony Hall :: Dumpstaphunk :: 02.01.07
The brisk walk up 42nd Street through Times Square brought to mind how the area has changed over the years. What was once addict alley and sleaze central is now filled with bright lights, themed restaurants, and chic tourist shops. One can't help but feel the electricity of the city and the pulse of its people. A similar sense of energy is felt when walking down Bourbon Street in The French Quarter. On this night, the best of New Orleans and New York City collided.

The marquee above B.B. King's Blues Club read "The 9th Annual NYC Rock 'N Roll Mardi Gras Tour! Tonight!" The sleek B.B. King's is a far cry from New Orleans' Tipitina's or the Maple Leaf but the NYC vibe this night was pure festival season. The appetizer was a heaping portion of spicy hot Louisiana funk served up by Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk, a band consisting of some of the funkiest New Orleans musicians alive. The evening's main course was one the Crescent City's favorite party bands, Cowboy Mouth, whose maniacal, larger-than-life frontman and drummer, Fred LeBlanc, led a sermon on the joys of life, asking the faithful fans to check their problems at the front door and enter Mardi Gras heaven.

Nick Daniels, Ian & Ivan Neville
Backstage - B.B. King's :: 02.01.07
Dumpstaphunk was glad to be back in NYC. This was the third time they have graced the stage at B.B. King's, but their first time as the supporting act. "It's been fun. We've been playing a little bit earlier than we normally play but it's been cool," said Ivan Neville backstage before their set. "We just go out there and throw some funk down, because these guys [Cowboy Mouth] are just totally different from what we do."

Dumpstaphunk is indeed ready to usher in a new age of funk to the masses. Many still think this lineup is a part-time project, and although it may have started out that way, Neville wants to put that buzz to rest once and for all. "This is a band. We want people to know that. It's not just an all-star group of New Orleans musicians," Neville says. "This is a group of the best New Orleans musicians that I know and we play in one band together. This is a band, and we treat it like a band. You know, my name is up there as Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk but this is a band."

Ian & Ivan Neville :: Dumpstaphunk :: 02.01.07
With a new studio album, festival dates, and more touring as a headlining act on the horizon, Dumpstaphunk is here to stay. The funky five that make up Dumpsta all hold impressive credentials with resumes that boast playing and touring with some of the biggest names in the business. Through the years, Ivan Neville (vocals, keys, guitar, bass) has played with the Neville Brothers, the New Orleans Social Club, Keith Richards X-pensive Winos, Bonnie Raitt, The Rolling Stones, John Mayer, and Gov't Mule. The other members have played or toured with the likes of the Neville Brothers, Trey Anastasio, and Dave Matthews, to name just a few. They are Tony Hall (bass, guitar), Raymond Weber (drums), Nick Daniels (bass) and Ian Neville (guitar).

Ivan Neville - Dumpstaphunk :: 02.01
As a group they each bring something unique to the table, resulting in some of the funkiest grooves since the legendary Meters. In fact, the comparison between the two bands was inevitable, as Ian Neville's dad, Art Neville, is a founding member of The Meters. The comparison is taken as a compliment and welcomed by the band. "It's a major honor because we all grew up listening to The Meters," says Weber. "That was the whole reason I started playin' music, especially for me comin' up as a drummer. You hear some stuff Zig [Zigaboo Modeliste] laid down and that's it!"

Still Dumpstaphunk feels like it has created its own funky niche. "I don't know any other bands that are called straight up funk bands," says Ian Neville. Ivan picks it up, "We've got that edge. We are tight. We have probably rehearsed all of four times in the four years we've been together. We leave that edge on there. We gotta have that edge. We want to keep it fresh. That edge will take us in different directions on any given night."

Dumpstaphunk took the stage ready to show New York that edge and get the half full house of what looked to be Cowboy Mouth fans movin' and groovin'. Playing the opening slot with a much shorter set time then usual, Dumpstaphunk wasted no time gettin' busy, mixing tasty originals in with a healthy blend of crowd pleasing covers. The chill from outside quickly thawed as a deep dirty double bass line powered the band into the theme song from The Sopranos. The band pushed hard, working to get the club in the groove.

Tony Hall - Dumpstaphunk :: 02.01
Ivan Neville's strong vocals came through on the Creedence Clearwater Revival cover, "Fortunate Son," which was recently recorded by Ivan for the all-star side project, The New Orleans Social Club. It was now Nick Daniels' turn to front the band on lead vocals for, "Turn This Thing Around." The powerful lyrics pay tribute to the people of NOLA, who received little help when they needed it most following Hurricane Katrina. Daniels shined while scatting the bass lead.

Following band introductions, they broke out a new number from their yet-to-be-titled studio effort called "Meanwhile," a smooth song with hard hitting lyrics about the need to let loose during difficult times: "Meanwhile, you might as well have a good time, there might not be a next time, go and shake your pretty booty."

Next up, Tony Hall brought the house down with an amazing tribute to the late great James Brown. The performance was complete with all of Brown's signature moves. Hall commanded the stage and took a blazing guitar solo to boot. The band was feeling it and the house was jumping big time as they ended their high energy set with Sly and The Family Stone's "Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)." This crowd pleaser left everyone begging for more.

Cowboy Mouth :: B.B. King's :: 02.01.07
With the audience now sufficiently warmed up, it was time to keep the Mardi Gras party going with Cowboy Mouth. For the past 16 years at nearly 200 shows a year, Cowboy Mouth has produced a loyal fan following around the country. This year they headlined their 9th Annual Mardi Gras party in New York City and their fans were out in full force and ready to party. One could not be a mere spectator at this show. It was all about crowd participation.

From the outset, it was easy to see that these guys have good time party music down to a science, as Fred LeBlanc opened the set with an a cappella version of "Somewhere Over The Rainbow." LeBlanc sat high atop a drum riser, front and center stage, wearing shorts and playing barefoot. The message from Fred tonight was, "Believe in yourself, and anything is possible."

Fred LeBlanc - Cowboy Mouth :: 02.01
With the audience already in the palms of their hands, LeBlanc (drums and vocals), John Thomas Griffith (guitar, vocals), Sonia Tetlow (bass, vocals) and Vance DeGeneres (guitar, vocals) [and yes he is Ellen's brother] were off to the races. Cowboy Mouth ripped through a diverse, intensely played setlist filled with rockers, fun covers, and country songs, all mixed together just right much like a bowl of spicy gumbo.

The title song from their most recent release Voodoo Shoppe was soulfully played as it segued into The Meters' classic, "Cissy Strut," before heading back into "Voodoo Shoppe." It was quite interesting to see Ian Neville, who was standing side stage, taking in the song that was long ago written by his father Art. When asked about it after the show, Ian replied, "They play it well, and it's cool when bands play it."

Cowboy Mouth paid homage to Bo Diddley, The Rolling Stones, The Who, and Bruce Springsteen amongst others. But, this night it was their own catchy, well-written tunes that drove their message home. Between each song LeBlanc would shout "Are Ya With Me?" to be sure the crowd was in lock step. LeBlanc also repeatedly shouted, "The name of the band is?" The dancing revelers, happily drenched in sweat, would shout back, "Cowboy Mouth!" At one point during "Everyone Loves Jill" the crowd tossed red plastic spoons at the band. Bruce Springsteen's "Born to Run" closed out the main set.

At midnight, the happy masses were begging for just one more song. The encore included "The Avenue," a song written in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. LeBlanc dedicated the song to New Orleans and explained that after the storm he wanted to write something that would remind everyone about all of the great things New Orleans has to offer. He also wanted to let everyone know that everything would be alright and better days would come, the Mardi Gras parades will ride again. This evening provided further proof that Crescent City's musicians are leading that parade.

JamBase | New York
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[Published on: 2/20/07]

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Greatwaves Tue 2/20/2007 05:40PM
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the Dumpstaphunk show In cleveland was off the hook, as for Cowboy Mouth, they were entertaining but not that musically enjoyable, but if it smells like funk it must be funk, and this funk was the dirtiest, straight outta a dumpsta

Cabinessence13 Tue 2/20/2007 06:07PM
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dumsta funk is da shit yo!!!

-jeff cesarano

JohnMac3 starstarstarstarstar Tue 2/20/2007 07:29PM
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Ahhh - tastey Nawlins funk in the heart of the Apple- wish I was there!!

calgalval starstarstarstarstar Tue 2/20/2007 08:35PM
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Wow I feel like I was there - that Lieberman guy ROCKS!!

Foominaut starstarstarstarstar Tue 2/20/2007 08:36PM
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Dumpsta played Thank You at a show hear in mobile a few months..Awesome..Wasn't a big crowd.But they still brought the phunk for those that were there.Great group of guys.

‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^› {¬¿¬} starstarstarstar Wed 2/21/2007 04:04AM
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‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^›      {¬¿¬}

classic!!!! peace yall..

snappy Wed 2/21/2007 05:12AM
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Ever since I saw Dumpsta late night at Bonnaroo last year I've been raving about them. They are, as they put it, "funky like a UFO!"

anandamayi starstarstarstarstar Wed 2/21/2007 05:45AM
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Wow, makes me feel at home! Dumpstaphunk has their own brand of NOLA funk, and I'm happy to see it embraced around the country.

stevenkozak starstarstarstarstar Wed 2/21/2007 06:07AM
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That's it, I'm getting my plane tickets to new orleans for jazz fest ASAP! I felt like I was there.

wildlilvamp starstarstarstarstar Wed 2/21/2007 06:45AM
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That is one HELL of a review! Ain't nothin' like a little cajun fried music in NYC.

Tony8 starstarstarstarstar Wed 2/21/2007 07:34AM
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"all mixed together just right much like a bowl of spicy gumbo....." Damn! What a well written article!

WonderBoogie Wed 2/21/2007 07:53AM
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Nice article, Rich! You made me feel like I was right there by you! I love the Neville's!

laurlieb starstarstarstarstar Wed 2/21/2007 09:40AM
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Right-on, reviewer Rich. Loved the review... wish I was there to check-out the phunk and mouth music. but, your' review made me feel like I was there.. I've read it 3 times! You have a great writing style...fun to read... your enthusiasm in music shines through. well-done.

Schaef starstarstarstarstar Wed 2/21/2007 09:56AM
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Nice to read that the former "addict alley" & "sleaze central" is now gettin' tha funk out! Wish I had been there for this one! WOW!

miamigroove starstarstarstarstar Wed 2/21/2007 11:22AM
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heard of Cowboy Mouth but now I'm PSYCHED to catch them! Thanks for the heads up!

ohneegs starstarstarstar Wed 2/21/2007 01:18PM
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If anyone saw the Jax, Fl show you will surely understand that the tour is down right bad. I had a chance to ask Ivan after the show why Cowboy Mouth was the headliner for the night. He regretfully told me "I don't really know!" Dumstaphunk is a phabulous band that gets little credit for the amazing things they do musically not vocally unlike the band they are touring with

mitz420 starstarstarstarstar Wed 2/21/2007 06:56PM
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Sounds like a great show... enjoyable review... thanks for inside view.

customsguy starstarstarstarstar Thu 2/22/2007 11:15AM
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Cowboy Mouth's music "led a sermon on the joys of life" ... "all mixed together just right much like a bowl of spicy gumbo." That's the best description I've ever read. I'm going to have to catch a Dumpstafunk show now, too. I wish this tour was coming near my town.

blueberrycaves Thu 2/22/2007 07:11PM
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Did Cowboy Mouth open up for Dumpstaphunk or the other way around. Please let me know anyone who knows.

Rich Lieberman Thu 2/22/2007 07:56PM
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Rich Lieberman

Dumpsta opened for Cowboy Mouth on this entire tour.

ramon starstarstarstarstar Fri 2/23/2007 11:42AM
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Dumpstaphunk has won the Beat of the Beat award for best funk group the two last times. Theyre the best of the best in N.O. and 4 og 5 sing like gods - I am talking about a US and Global movement supporting this band. Lets spread the word and push them forward!!! Veerrry nice article Rich!!!