When living legend George Porter Jr., bassist and vocalist for the iconic funk band The Meters, decides he wants to take a tour down Memory Lane, it’s anyone within earshot, like those at Suwannee Rising last weekend at the Spirit Of The Suwannee Music Park, that are the true beneficiaries to his musings.
To call The Meters merely influential is to do them a disservice that could be dangerous to your health around certain super fans of the form. Meters songs ring out to this day on soundtracks, samples, and in the hearts and minds of the legion of funk musicians who have followed the trail they blazed. Porter, alongside his musical partners-in-crime—drummer Zigaboo Modeleiste, guitarist Leo Nocetelli, and keyboardist Art Neville—whether with the earliest version of their collaboration known as the Neville Sounds or the longer-lived version, The Meters, created a catalog of tunes like “Cissy Strut” and “Fire On The Bayou” that have truly stood the test of time.
The Friday night Suwannee Rising dream pairing of New Orleans’ beloved acts had all the pedigree you could ever ask for, with Dumpstaphunk founder/organist and storyteller extraordinaire Ivan Neville and his cousin Ian Neville on super slinky guitar representing what is widely regarded as the Crescent City’s own version of a royal family—the Nevilles. Ivan’s uncle, the late Art Neville, served as a founding member of The Meters before Cyril Neville joined the group on percussion shortly thereafter, and Dumpstaphunk is a direct spiritual successor to The Meters’ recipe of “Take ya a couple Nevilles, throw a couple other high-end players into the mix, let simmer to a roiling boil of sheer wizardry. Serves as many as ya got.” Also like The Meters, Dumpstaphunk carries a lot of spice warnings due to the skill of players like multi-instrumentalist Tony Hall, the oily super thick bass of Nick Daniels III, drummer Deven Trusclair, and Alex Wasily and Ashlin Parker on trombone and trumpet respectively.
George Porter Jr. hasn’t lost any of the mercurial snap, the fathomless bottom end, or the effortless charm that made him a beloved figure both musically and personally, and it was all on full display throughout the set. After Dumpsta got loose with a couple of their own tunes including “Justice” and “I Wish You Would”, they welcomed the man himself, who took a seat dead center among the assemblage and proceeded to run a second line through an impressive mix of Meters hits, sadly still pertinent social issue-laden tracks, and nebulous instrumentals. Through it all was the sweet smile and rhapsodic faces made by Porter, who was clearly having another night in what must seem to him to be a truly funkily blessed life that was the constant at the heart of this fierce jam session.
L4LM‘s own Rex-A-Vision was on hand to capture a couple video clips, including a 30-minute, wide-ranging exploration of Meters music and a joyous take on “Just Kissed My Baby” that served as the show’s encore. Enjoy the video below and feel free to like and subscribe to the Rex-A-Vision YouTube channel here, where highlights like these and so many more are there to help keep the music alive.
George Porter Jr. & Dumpstaphunk – “Cabbage Alley”, “World Is A Little Bit Under The Weather”, “Ain’t No Use” (The Meters) – 4/8/22
George Porter Jr. & Dumpstaphunk – “Just Kissed My Baby” (The Meters) – 4/8/22
Catch George Porter Jr. along with tons of other New Orleans staples as part of L4LM‘s upcoming Fest By Nite series during Jazz Fest. See below for the complete late-night show roster, and get tickets here.