Photo by Dino Perrucci

Dumpstaphunk, The North Mississippi Allstars Duo, Questlove, Bela Fleck, Eric Krasno, Scott Metzger, Nigel Hall, members of Lettuce and more came out to perform at last night’s final HeadCount Participation Party at the Highline Ballroom in New York City. The event was altered at the last minute to become a fundraiser for City Harvest, a New York based non-profit that has provided hundreds of thousands of meals to victims of Hurricane Sandy. The show was also supposed to raise awareness about democratic participation. Amy Helm, who was scheduled to make a guest appearance, was forced to cancel because of the storm-related gas shortage.

The night kicked off with a little bit of a crowd warm-up from HeadCount’s Executive Director, Andy Bernstein. Bernstein thanked the crowd for supporting HeadCount, as well as City Harvest before welcoming the artists on stage.

The first musicians to play were Luther and Cody Dickinson, otherwise known as the North Mississippi Allstars Duo. The brothers played a few Southern rock tunes before inviting Eric Krasno and Scott Metzger up to join them for some jams. In an interesting twist, Krasno took up bass guitar duties for a little while before switching off a little bit later. Dumpstaphunk drummer Nikki Glaspie and Nigel Hall also joined in toward the end of the set for a particularly rocking superjam. New Trey Anastasio Band trumpeter James Casey, a longtime member of the Lettuce family, also played keys alongside Hall for a few moments. In one of the highlights of the night, Questlove hopped on a second drum kit for the last song of what had begun as a strictly North Mississippi Allstars Duo set.

Things calmed down for a bit during the first set break, as Questlove spun some dance-oriented tracks while everyone waited for the next act. Comedian W. Kamau Bell of FX’s Totally Biased took up MC duties and reminded everyone to go out and vote.

Bela Fleck then took the stage to perform a few solo tunes on his banjo. Fleck talked about the volatile situation in the West African country of Mali, where Islamic fundamentalists have taken over the North and banned the playing of music. He told the crowd about a friend of his from Mali who taught him a song that he then played for the audience. Fleck’s set may have been short, but it was certainly sweet.

Next up was the New Orleans funk powerhouse Dumpstaphunk, led by Ivan Neville. Few groups are more worthy of their name than this one. The Highline Ballroom got real funky real fast as Neville’s band took off into “Deeper” and “Blueswave” before really bringing the heat with “Put It In The Dumpsta.” The subsequent cover of Funkadelic’s “One Nation Under a Groove” felt just right given the theme of civic participation. As expected, various guests began taking the stage midway through the set. By the time Dumpstaphunk got to their closing song, an extended version of “Meanwhile…,” Eric Krasno, Luther and Cody Dickinson, Nigel Hall, Warren Haynes Band bassist Ron Johnson and Casey (this time on trumpet) were all rocking with the band on stage. It was probably the best “Meanwhile…” one could ever have the pleasure of witnessing.

After “Meanwhile…” the Dumpstaphunk-led megajam transitioned into a smaller, Royal Family-led superjam, as current and former members of Lettuce, including Eric Krasno, Nigel Hall, Adam Smirnoff and James Casey, stayed on. The superjam was later joined by members of Dumpstaphunk, as they knocked out songs by Sly and the Family Stone and The Meters as well as some other tunes. While the crowd had thinned out substantially towards the end, those who were left hooted and hollered for an encore. It was a fitting ending to a fantastic show. You can view Dumpstaphunk’s full set list below.

Dumpstaphunk, November 5, 2012, Highline Ballroom, New York, NY setlist

Put it in the Dumpsta
One Nation Under a Groove
Betty Davis
Standin In Yo Stuff