George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic Live: Outta The Funk With The Funk

The word funk has different usages today. Last Friday I was in a deep funk – having had one of the longest, most horrible days of my life.  I didn’t think anything could shift me out of that funk. But when George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic came on stage and started playing at London’s Electric Ballroom, I was reminded (and relieved) that music could. And music did. Funk music in all its wonderfully malleable, distorted P-Funk forms did.

George Clinton live concert - Electric Ballroom, London 2015

George Clinton live at Electric Ballroom

George Clinton and the Parliament Funkadelic collective, no matter who its individual members at any given time, has always been an entertaining beast of immense individual talents and strengths combined. It is still that beast in 2015. And when George Clinton and 17 other artists create and share a feast of P-Funk sounds and visuals with you during 2+ hours, well, you (even you in the deepest of life funks) can’t help but smile at the goodness of it, feel grateful for it and get down to it.

George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic live concert- London 2015

Alongside George Clinton front, side or centre stage at any or all given moments during the London set were the stunning musicianship of Blackbyrd McKnight and Ricky Rouse (guitars) – Garrett Shider (guitar & vocals) – Lige Curry (bass & vocals) – Jerome Rogers (keys/synths) – Greg Thomas (saxophone & vocals) – Bennie Cowan (trumpet & vocals) – Benzel Baltimore Cowan (drums) – Patavian Lewis, Tonysha Nelson, Brandi ScottTra’zae Lewis-Clinton, Trafel Lewis and Thurteen (vocals)…plus one more cat making fleeting appearances amongst the chaotic brilliance of the All-in tracks – who naming for us, will win you a First Ya Gotta Shake The Gate cd-set or George Clinton’s Autobiography sent to your home (promise it’s true).

Parliament Funkadelic concert 2015

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From the wonderfully wild and energetic Shake The Gate medley showcasing the talents of the younger P-Funk generation (“Pole Power”+“Baby Like Fonkin’ It Up”+ the sultry, soulful “Meow Meow” featuring Brandi Scott)…

Tra'zae- Parliament Funkadelic live concert 2015

Tra’zae Lewis-Clinton

Garrett Shider- Parliament Funkadelic live concert, London 2015

Garrett Shider

 

Parliament Funkadelic concert 2015

Tonysha Nelson (l) & Patavian Lewis (r)

Parliament Funkadelic concert 2015

Trafel Lewis

Thurteen - Parliament Funkadelic live concert, London 2015

Thurteen

Parliament Funkadelic live concert, London 2015

Brandi Scott

 

Meow Meow – George Clinton & Funkadelic – First Ya Gotta Shake The Gate (2014)

 

– to the mesmerising guitar solos of long-time members Blackbyrd McKnight and Ricky Rouse in “Maggot Brain”

Ricky Rouse - Parliament Funkadelic concert 2015

Ricky Rouse

DeWayne Blackbyrd McKnight- Parliament Funkadelic live concert, London 2015

Blackbyrd McKnight

– to the sweet performance of the Kandy Apple Redd song “Vanish” by George Clinton’s granddaughters Tonysha Nelson and Patavian Lewis…

Tonysha Nelson- Parliament Funkadelic live concert 2015Patavian Lewis - Parliament Funkadelic live concert, London 2015

– and renditions of the greatest-known Parliament/Funkadelic hits like “Flashlight”, “One Nation Under a Groove”, “Bop Gun (Endangered Species)”, “Give Up The Funk (Tear The Roof Off The Sucker)” and “(Not Just) Knee Deep”

Greg Thomas - Parliament Funkadelic live concert 2015

Greg Thomas

Steve Boyd- Parliament Funkadelic live concert, London 2015

Steve Boyd

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– to the acrobatic appearances of Sir Nose (aka Carlos McMurray) – the superb foundation of it all created by Benzel Baltimore Cowan on drums and Lige Curry on bass – the delightful horn-lines of Bennie Cowan and Greg Thomas throughout – and undoubtedly also to the sound engineering magic of Dwayne Dungey

…we were purely and simply funked up and entertained, good and proper, as you’d rightly expect to be at a Parliament Funkadelic show.

With George Clinton there in every moment- singing, dancing, facilitating, encouraging or just simply hearing, feeling and appreciating the sounds and energy created by everyone in the room with him.

George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic live concert- London 2015

At only two other live shows have I seen so many different generations of people in the crowd. The first was George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic in Sydney, the second George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic at Bluesfest 2015. Whether in their late teens or 60s they all knew the words to Parliament/Funkadelic songs spanning so many decades – and it was the youngsters gleefully shouting when they saw each well-known and revered P-Funk artist arrive on the Electric Ballroom stage for the first time.

DeWayne Blackbyrd McKnight - Parliament Funkadelic concert 2015

Parliament Funkadelic concert 2015That broad fan base is of course a testament to the very long time George Clinton and his collaborators have been alive and making music, but also to the timeless goodness of that music; and their ability to adapt to the changing times, to stay relevant (ie. keep making awesome music and playing their instruments brilliantly) whatever the contemporary musical landscape may be.

One of these days when we no longer see George Clinton on the Parliament Funkadelic stage jumping up and down and humping speakers like he so admirably does now at 75 years old, or when members of the older Parliament/Funkadelic guard like Blackbyrd McKnight put down his guitar, the Parliament Funkadelic beast will be a different one for sure.

George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic live concert - London 2015

But it will be a beast nonetheless…able (and hopefully willing) to carry the torch and continue delivering funk/rock/soul/jazz/hip hop fusion in new and evolving forms to future generations. It appears that George Clinton and his musical cohorts past and present, dearly-departed and alive, have all seen to that.

George Clinton live concert - Electric Ballroom, London 2015Garrett Shider - Parliament Funkadelic live concert, London 2015

Comments

  1. Reginald X says:

    That “unknown” guy is Bouvier Richardson. Send me my CD please.

  2. I wish I was at that show….

  3. The roots of the Funk just get deeper and deeper.
    Who would have thought at this age I would be grooving to George’s “grandkids” LOL!
    Life is funny,…but God sure has been good. 🙂
    P-Funk 4 Ever \m/ Woof!!!

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