Dumpstaphunk started 10 years ago backing local hero and keyboard player Ivan Neville at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage festival, caught a breeze and never stopped. Though boasting two members of New Orleans first family (Art Neville’s son and Ivan’s cousin Ian plays guitar), Dirty Word has little in common with the elastic sound of the Neville family brand. It’s full-on homage to the funk and soul bands of the 1970s, the big bold bass lines and wily chants of arena acts like Parliament-Funkadelic, the Ohio Players, Cameo, and the “Brick House” Commodores. The two covers — Betty Mabry Davis’s overlooked “If I’m In Luck, I Might Get Picked Up” and Graham Central Station’s highlight “Water” prove the durability of that ’70s pocket.
The new angle is the two-bass hit of Tony Hall and Nick Daniels III, creating, with drummer Nikki Gillespie, a booming bottom that in isolation could be compared to the sound of IMAX theaters showing Transformer movies. Guest appearances dot the landscape — Ani DiFranco, Skerik, Flea — but it’s the visiting horn sections that are necessary, because in the great ’70s funk bands, the bass was the body but the brass was the head. Consider the finale “Raise the House,” in which the Rebirth Brass Band and Trombone Shorty not only tear the roof off, they turn it into kindling and light a bonfire.