Spunions at Tipitina’s and the Orpheum Theater {Event Review}

Photo Credit: Caleb Beck & Nathan Robb


January 4th 2018 Spunions from all over headed to the Swamps of Louisiana to begin a four-night run headlined by the beloved Dave Tipper. In all her legendary glory, the city of New Orleans welcomed the tipper community with open arms for the first time. About 1,500 individuals gathered throughout the course of a weekend to journey into the sounds and visual arts of multiple talented artists.  The event was split up between two historic venues, Tipitina’s and the Orpheum Theater of New Orleans. As the main events came to a close, the party did not end there.

Tipitina’s is one of New Orleans’ most historic venues. Roland von Kurnatowski founded the Tipitina’s Foundation after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city in 2005. The foundation was built to nurture New Orleans musicians. “In my mind, we should be paying attention to those musicians who are disadvantaged and are neglected,” he said. “And then, for me, it’s about the kids. I think music programs and band programs should be a basic requirement of every elementary-school and high-school curriculum.”

A sense of awe electrified the crowd when walking into the renowned jazz club for the first time. This legendary venue opened their doors to a whole new world of music by allowing the tipper community to take over. The first two nights at Tipitina’s were strictly showcasing hi-fidelity sound with very soft lighting. This allowed the listeners to fully grasp the potential of the Funktion-One sound system. With four mains, four sub cabinets downstairs, two mains and two sub cabinets located upstairs the crispiest high, mid, and low frequencies emerged throughout the building.

The Tipper Music production team understood that many people were upset about the five-minute online ticket sell-out, so they did their best to provide for those that missed a chance to snag a ticket. Family began to gather on the sidewalk as early as Wednesday, camping out for a chance at one of thirty remaining box office tickets to the Thursday night showing.

For those that were not fortunate enough to get inside that night were welcomed by quite the surprise. David Veler ( Dàv LèBottomme) opened the doors of an exit located next to the stage for those still standing outside to partake in Dave Tipper’s set alongside everyone who managed to get an elusive ticket.  As Tipper began, a certain sense of uncertainty was heavy in the air before Dave laid down a tribute to classic New Orleans’ jazz.  “The two things that really stuck out for me that night was the smile on Dave’s face whenever the crowd would react to whatever tune he dropped. The second thing was we got to peek into what he likes what he listens too, and artists he sees a lot of potential in.” – Henry Bayer

Friday began in a similar fashion, with family lining the sidewalk outside the venue.  The venue began to fill with beautiful beings that traveled from all over the country to be there on this chilly night.  People sat outside vending their artwork and mingling with everyone in line as they waited for the doors to open.   

DJ Cochon de Lait got us started with some New Orleans funk that was so greasy the culture could be tasted. Extreme gratitude was for the Tipper Music production team felt as the event continued further into the lineup. The drum and bass combo Timothy Lefebvre (Bassist) and Mark Guiliana (Drummer), blessed us with live instrumentation. The DnB duo evolved into a trio, as the night went on they were unexpectedly accompanied onstage by Eric “Benny” Bloom (trumpet player from lettuce).  “We had a ball! So grateful that they were willing to experience live musicians improvising bass music. And Tipper is incredible as well as Bryan and Chris”, said Timothy Lefebvre. 

Followed up by Chris Karns, raw energy filled the room while he laid it down on the turntables. Karn’s properly prepared the right mind space for the madness that was Tipper. Within the walls of the infamous Tippatina’s, Dave Tipper brought it home with a strictly audio up-tempo set. A shroud of darkness was mildly illuminated onstage by a few quiet red lights.  This allowed the audience a certain space-of-peace where community thrived.  With no visuals to offer as a distraction from the music, people could more easily participate in active listening with other family. 

As we began our Saturday at The Fly located on the mouth of the Mississippi River, friends and strangers alike gathered. The Tipper Community collectively came together to swap craft beer, eat some Louisiana crawfish, and of course, listen to some tunes as the sun melted over the river. After spending an afternoon meeting with new and old friends, we dispersed into the night to prepare for what was in store.

The Orpheum doors opened at 8:00pm sharp as masked individuals began to flood in.  The Tipper Music production team was holding a masquerade themed costume contest with the prize being a free pass to all Tipper events in 2018. The Orpheum provided three levels, a floor angled for a full view of the stage, and two balcony areas that offered theater seating.  Each seat in the house provided an individually unique perspective on an already characteristically original showcase.

Two projectors mapped out to fit a frame like structure incasing a theater like screen where a third projector showcased the VJ styling’s of Jonathan Singer.   His computer spoke an unexplainable visual language, which was projected before us. The musicians were centered in front of the visual tunnel to create an engaging atmosphere. Tipper events are notorious for the high fidelity Funktion-One sound provided by specialist companies such as Sound System Culture LLC and Cosmic Synergy. Twenty three year old Søren Thygesen from Denmark better known as Bwoy de Bhajan graced us with his textured ethereal sound design. “It’s always great stepping out on stage and starting the music journey ahead, but there was a special buzz in the air that night. The settings were absolutely pristine, and I haven’t ever gotten that much feedback on a set!” Søren Thygesen Other artists featured that night include Madd Wikkid and Somatoast. Following the incredibly talented opening acts, Dave Tipper graced us with an immersive, down-tempo visual-sonic experience. 

The weekend was coming to an end; we all had one more night to make it count. Everyone put on their comfiest attire and gathered as the doors opened early for this particular night. The floor quickly transformed into an ocean of bodies, blankets, and pillows. The Floor was raised up level to the stage so that the attendees could lounge comfortably as we would soon drift off into a sea of sound. People slowly trickled in as Fantastic Planet a film by Rene Laloux intrigued the masses. The giant cuddle puddle that amassed allowed for an informal, relaxed atmosphere to juxtapose the traditionally formal venue.

Rumpistol opened the night by performing an ambient journey in front of kaleidoscopic visuals projected by Singer. The focal point of night was a merging of Tipper’s music and the visual projections of Datagrama and Singer.  Because the DJ table was off to the side, the audience had a full-unadulterated view of the immersive visual experience, complimented by the perfect acoustics of the room.

As Sunday melted into Monday morning, and we awoke from the dream that was the weekend, we were all left with a glow that carried back home into our waking lives.  “Dave Tipper’s music is so sonically intelligent; it offers healing, and a moment of peace inside the mind. Each moment I have spent at a Tipper and Friends event I have found one more piece of my life’s puzzle. The people that this music attracts are the strangest, most wonderful of beings.” Mary Grace Greer


Author: Mary Grace Greer

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