Ivan Neville's first professional gig came at 16, playing keyboards behind his balladeer father Aaron. Since then, he's released several solo albums and contributed his talents to a spate of outside recording projects. Ur- jammers the Spin Doctors have employed him, and so has Keith Richards' side project the X-pensive Winos. And when back surgery kept his Uncle Art from touring with the Neville Brothers in the late '90s, he joined his father and uncles in one of the most successful New Orleans-rooted acts of all time.
That's a pretty full musical career right there, but Neville is the kind of player who never seems to have enough gigs. At the Fete de Marquette (July 12-15), he's appearing with the aptly named Dumpstaphunk, a furious funk outfit that grounds itself in the music of the Nevilles (and the Meters before them), but also adds a heavy dose of rock. You can dance to Dumpstaphunk, of course, but they'll also burn your ears off with high-decibel guitar solos and fat, popping funk bass. The band's lineup includes all-pro players who've worked with Emmylou Harris, Dave Matthews & Friends, Trey Anastasio, the Neville Brothers and other name artists. Keeping up the family tradition, Art Neville's young son Ian is behind most of the guitar fury.
In 2005, the band won a Big Easy Award as New Orleans' "Best Funk Group," and the honor was entirely deserved. They aren't just one of the most vivifying live acts in Ivan Neville's hometown. They may be the best funk act in the country right now.
Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk at La Fete de Marquette, Friday, July 13, 201 S. Ingersoll, 9:30 pm