Tuesday, September 1, 2009

We Need the Funk! Gotta Have the Funk!

I'll give you all forewarning - today's blog has nothing to do with running. But it is still about exercise. In a sort of unconventional way.

When I was a young 'un (a few centuries ago), I used to think - "Meh. Who cares about Funk. I don't listen to that kind of music." Now that I am older and wiser, I realize that funk really defined music of the 80's. Many of the groups that I listened to were rooted in funk - Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, Frank Zappa, to name a few. With this new found understanding that I decided that I wanted to see one of the pioneers before he stops performing.

So when I heard that George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic was going to be playing a small venue (Club Nokia), I hopped to get tickets. Score 3 tickets in row G (seven from the stage)! I heard it would be a good time, but I really had no idea what I was in for!

Eventually the evening got started (doors opened at 7:30, opening act at 8:30, P-Funk at 9:45). In general, people tolerated the opening act (really a terrible band), but when Garry Shider (aka Diaperman) stepped out on stage, the energy was magical.

If you kids don't think that us 50 and 60 years olds (even some 70 year olds) can't dance - well, you need to spend a night at a George Clinton concert. Starting with a rousing rendition of Cosmic Flop, the house came down for George!

The other thing that you need to get ready for if you are going to a George Clinton concert is hours of music. No 3 minute songs for this group! The first set started at 9:45, and ended an hour later with a kick ass performance of Bop Gun.

The one thing that really struck me was the musical talent in the band that George has pulled together. These guys were musicians. No three man band that was choreographed to perfection. At times George had as many a 20 musicians and singers on stage. They play for extended periods of time by rotating on and off the stage. Three drummers. Six guitars. Three keyboardists. At least 3 and at times as many as 10 singers. A great mix of rock, jazz and fusion and mixed with the down and dirty funk beat. And the best thing is it all works! Magically!

Needless to say, George is a legend in the world of music. His performance is as much a huge jam session as anything else. With these bands, you are never sure who might show up for a guest appearance. So it was bonus when another legend of funk - Sly Stone - was helped out on stage! As fragile as Sly looked, he can still sing a tune! (Sorry about the quality of the picture. At this point both my camera and my iPhone were out of battery. Had to resort to a Blackberry)

Here's the bottom line. If you want to have an evening of fun, you *must* see P-Funk! But, you must be prepared. Be prepared to get your butt moving. Be prepared to be out of your seat. Be prepared for hour long sets of funk. Be prepared for three or more hours of fun into the wee hours of the AM! (Oh - and be prepared for smoke - and I don't mean cigarettes).

We need the Funk!

P.S. - More photos and videos (some bad quality) can be seen on my Flickr site here.


  1. Hooray! A funk-music appreciator! Great photos of what looked like an amazing time. And you got to see Sly? WTH? You got mad hooked up. (Just to make me seem still cool for my age group!)

  2. Sure looks like you had a great time Glenn. I was more into disco music, ala John Travolta with Beegees music. I like funk music too.

  3. I really like this post, Glenn. And what I think I like most is that George Clinton has survived them all without compromising even a little on his music and his persona. Even Bruce Springsteen can't claim that (and he's The Boss).

  4. Wow, have you been hitting some good shows, Glenn! George Clinton is so cool. And wow, Sly Stone made an appearance? Incredible. Great report and pictures! Thanks for sharing about your funk-tastic evening! :)

  5. You definitely had a great time, it comes through in your blog. Just wish I was more into music to say something smart about the funk scene.

  6. I have that song (your post title) on one of my running play lists! Love it!

    Fabulous photos!