We’re asking our musically and culturally inclined friends to give us insight into some of our summer artists. Here’s Marco Werman on Dumpstaphunk.

What exactly is the Dumpstaphunk vibe?  Think New Orleans in 2015, everything it’s come out of historically and culturally, and everything it’s veering towards.  OK, let me tell you my Dumpstaphunk story, and that should help.  You’re coming into New Orleans on the Crescent, having spent all night on the train out of New York.  You’re sticky and ready to walk on solid ground.  Even inside the car, the air is humid.  You’re restless.  You can feel the tug of the city as you glide across Lake Ponchatrain, the conductor explaining that during Katrina, the water on the lake would’ve been over the sleeper compartment.  You arrive at Union Terminal at 7:30, perhaps enough time to catch the last act at the Bayou Boogie fest on Bayou St. John.  Your friend who picks you up says we have to get there because it’s Dumpstaphunk.  So you speed across town, and park on the neutral ground near the water.  The sun is almost gone, and the revelers are drinking the last cans of beer in their dinghies, letting the brassy funky riffs wash over them.  One song ends, and you arrive for the finale, “One Nation Under a Groove”. Never have those words held more meaning.  The band is killing it and owning it.  That’s Dumpstaphunk.  That’s their vibe.

Marco Werman (@MarcoWerman) is the host of PRI’s The World.