It's been a thrilling year for the Dip.
In December, Rolling Stone gave the Seattle-brewed soul septet a song of the week shout-out and Relix hosted a video premiere, both for the doo-wop shuffling, role-reversal single "She Gave Me the Keys." Both rags mentioned the same Daptone Records vibe, no small compliment and also apropos: The band's to-the-point name is inspired by the Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings track "The Dap Dip" (and its hip-driven dance move). They rode the buzz into February with the release of a sophomore LP, The Dip Delivers, and then packed Neumos with two back-to-back, sold-out album-release shows.
"It was a really humbling experience to be received so well in Seattle, where we've been playing for, you know, six or seven years as a band," said trumpeter
Brennan Carter. "It added this element of pressure, like all of these people, 1,300 people over two nights, came to see us. So we needed to make sure we were stepping it up and not letting them down."
A national headlining tour and worthy festival slots followed. And this year at Bumbershoot, they'll be closing a stage on Friday night.
The group is composed of UW alums. The original five members (Carter, bassist Mark Hunter, tenor and baritone sax players Levi Gillis and Evan Smith, and drummer Jarred Katz) met while studying in the university's rather progressive jazz program, while remaining members Tom Eddy (lead vocals, guitar) and Jacob Lundgren (guitar) were welcomed into the fold not long after. They hit the market at the height of the early-2010s soul revival. Their own vintage-hued sound harks back to 1960s-era doo-wop, Motown, blues, jazz, and R&B—but it maintains a 21st-century quality of production, modern lyrical themes, and new-fashioned good times that find them hard-slinking and groove-hawking as much as shuffling and jiving, with the added oomph of a tight three-piece horn section.
They went from playing house shows to club gigs to bigger venues, growing organically and in DIY style, putting out their first record in a get-it-down-and-get-it-out rush in 2015. This year's follow-up was more calculated, meticulously recorded in their own Central District studio, and with added guests (including backup singers, a string quartet, organist Delvon Lamarr, and guitarist Jimmy James of the True Loves).
They also released it with help from a distribution team and support from AWAL, a company that helps bands self-release material and provides certain services you'd normally get from a record label (advances for recording, getting music on streaming services and Spotify playlists, etc.), while allowing the group to retain long-term ownership of their music.
The Dip have a manager and a booking agent now, too, and are currently working the balancing act of trying not to oversaturate their home market while continuing to make their presence known here.
Their Bumbershoot set should help achieve that goal.
It's the Dip's second time playing the fest, but as their band profile has grown, so has their set time and placement at a big-name festival in their own hometown improved: sandwiched between and slightly overlapping with the sets of Lizzo and Tyler, the Creator, drawing off a theoretically different fan base than both, and closing the Mural Amphitheatre stage. "We're very fortunate to have that slot and to be able to play in our hometown, for sure," said Katz.
A European run warming the stage for Durand Jones & the Indications lies ahead this fall. In the meantime, the very busy Dip will be kicking back and enjoying some brief but much-needed time off. After their Bumbershoot set, of course.