By Andy J. Gordon
Nikki Glaspie & the Homies kept the crowd at the Mint dancing during their July 2019 monthly residency. It was a special night for the Los Angeles fans that love New Orleans music and funk in general (pretty much everyone in the house) as Dumpstaphunk’s guitarist Ian Neville joined the band for a portion of the show.
Neville was playing with a heavy heart as his father, Art Neville had just passed away the previous day. Ian Neville grew up around his prolific musical family and was part of the now defunct Neville Brothers in addition to his current gig with cousin Ivan Neville in Dumpstaphunk.
The Homies show featured the usual, big lineup of talented musicians. In addition to host Nikki Glaspie on drums and special guest Ian Neville, the band included Ty Coombs on percussion, Shaundrin “DRiN” Elliott on keys, Steve Thurston on keys, Enrique Sanchez (Meghan Trainor) on trumpet, Alex Wasily (Isley Brothers and Dumpstaphunk) on trombone and Pete Ortega (Beyoncé, Stevie Wonder) on tenor sax.
Brandon Brown (Fergie, The Jacksons, Stevie Wonder) and Dimitri Gorodetsky played bass. Kat Dyson (Prince and the New Power Generation) and Angela Johnson Swan (David Byrne’s band) sat in on guitar. Amanda Leah Brown (NBC’s “The Voice”), Kudison Kai (Elton John), Amee Jana (Lion Child) and Adam Joseph handled the vocals along with Glaspie.
As we have come to expect at a Homies show, Glaspie dug deep into the soul and funk vault to pick out some real nuggets. Kat Dyson played an impressive solo on Maze’s “Happy Feelings.” Faze-O’s “Funky Lady” was one of several songs where the horn section really shined with great arrangements and solos. Amee Jana took over lead vocals on Unlimited Touch’s “Happily Ever After.” The other vocalists harmonized beautifully on that song and throughout the show.
Ian Neville only played a few songs during the performance, hopping off the stage to hang with some friends when not wielding his ax. When he was part of the band, he demonstrated his funky guitar chops on Parliament’s “Funkentelechy” that had the whole house gyrating to the beat. Once the band kicked into The Meters’ “It Ain’t No Use” and Neville played lead guitar on his father’s song, the smile on his face told everyone that things will be alright and the night was complete.