SPN: Funk, Review George Clinton/Parliment Funkadelic @ the Keswick in Philly, Best P-Funk Show I've Seen Since The 1970's, Exclusive Pictures, Analysis, Internet Radio Broadcast
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Then I began to think. James Brown was a alive, grown and kicking when I was a child over 50 years ago. The fact that he maintained the level of excellence throughout his life is amazing. Arguably his career effectively ended when they needlessly and stupidly jailed him. Essentially when he was released, the last 10 years of his life/career were just a shell of what we know to be The Hardest Working Man in Show Business. Even then his practices of maintaining the best band and live show out there NEVER EVER stopped. He passed 4 years ago at the approximate age of 72 in 2006.
Likewise once I became a teenager, George Clinton came into my consciousness. Unlike James Brown Mr. Clinton is still crazy and going strong after all of these 50 some odd years. The voice has diminished to be sure but the overall presentation has actually improved if not held up. I can safely say that what you know as the Parliafunkadelicment Thang is as great as it ever was.
Maybe the recent demise of George's son as well as that of Ms. Mallia Franklin had some influence. I don't know but these cats dropped a show unlike anything we've seen in a long time!
The concert began on a somber note as drummer Frankie 'Kash' Waddy walked onstage and dedicated the show to Ms. Franklin and George's son (regrettably I don't know his name...forgive me y'all). From there all HELL broke loose.
1- Pinnochio Theory
2- Bop Gun
3- Gamin On Ya.
All of this is Funkadelic musicians playing Parliament/Bootsy hits. In other words there were few if any of the gazillion vocalists even onstage yet. That included George Clinton. They were smokin and it was clear that no prisoners would be taken tonight. These cats were on a mission to drop the BOMB on the Keswick, annihilating any and everything in sight.
4- Undisco Kidd- enter Belita Woods. I love this woman and the Billie Holiday-esque-snazzy-jazzy-sometimes-seemingly-'off'-things-she does with her voice. On the All Live CD she brought this out to perfection on this tune which takes us to Nickel Bag of Solos.
5- Cosmic Slop- enter Dr. Funkenstein!
Take note. Often when George graces the stage, things often slog down to an almost unintelligible-duji-nodding-mess. NOT TONIGHT!!!!!! Even Frankie wasn't just keeping time. Dude was playing with the fire of his Bootsy's Rubber Band days! The stage sounded like a thunder storm with flashes of lightening and plenty of rain! Raining FUNK that is!
6- Flashlight- normally this is a deadspot of the show for me because while funky, Flashlight was never 'all that' for me. Again-NOT TONIGHT!!!! The house mix, particularly the bass drum was at this point driving my nose through my skull. There's no other way to say that this shit was THROBBING! The carnival has arrived officially as the stage has all of the usual suspects. Doo Wop Shider, P-Nutt and some old and new characters were now present and accounted for. The band then segued from Flashlight perfectly into:
7- Not Just Knee Deep- tears were welling up in my eyes now as they began to weave their way through ALL of the changes from the LONG version of this tune. This was the highlight of the night and did not disappoint. Everything from Gospel to Opera, the vocals invoked vintage Parliament as if Fuzzy, Calvin, Grady and all the rest were there. Kidd Funkadelic (Mike Hampton) and a cat I don't know much about named Rick Ross did the dueling guitar thing. The sax player, a diminutive cat, then steps forward and proceeds to take the Phillipe Wynne sequence to a whole NOTHA level! Scatting and imploring the audience to stand and dance. Belita Woods comes back and puts a cherry on top of that. Then they go into the Rubber Duckie pre-coda and of course closing with the actual outro from Disco-To-Go. Mallia Franklin had to be funkin for fun with a great big smile on her face. I'm not finished yet!
8- Tear The Roof Off/ Stretchin Out -see Knee Deep
9- Up for The Downstroke- At this point the crowd is in a trance. Maybe they're on Jupiter or maybe Saturn. It's a cult-like vibe as we channel Sun Ra or Coltrane or The Dead. There's only two (Sly Stone type) horns: a trumpet and a tenor sax. It sounded like Tower of Power was up there. Belita Woods is back and she's urging every drop of funk from her soul. Her bluesy improvisations are fast becoming the signature of the evening. Erykah Badu WISHED she could be this funky. Now the whole band drops down sonically to the level of a whisper. So soft that you and I could sit in the front row and have a full conversation in our normal voices. Dynamically, I've never seen them better.
At this level the whole band segues seamlessly into something that only P-Funk could do (since the JB's aint really around anymore): Pass The Peas/Superbad. Did y'all read dat? PASS THE PEAS/SUPERBAD!!!!! They CRUSHED it. Oh did I tell you that they're on their 3rd drummer now? Like Charlie Wilson and so many others have done, George has taken the considerable chop-laden talents of young boys and turned them into inspired yet controlled gold. This drummer is one of those ass kicking church/contemporary gospel playas. Now he's on the ONE.
10- Motorbooty Affair- with a gunnin,drivin Maceo/King Curtis-like nasty ass sax solo. The rhythm section is just nukin da house!
11-Bounce To This- Kendra Wilson does a slow gospel-y version of this one
12- Dr. Feelgood-that's right Dr. Feelgood and it was the best damned Dr. Feelgood I've ever heard this side of Aretha Franklin. I thought I'd never live to tell that tale but it was true on Feb.20th. This was mud-dirt-stormy-monday-cadillac-records blues. Aint the blues the seat of virtually all American music? Rick Ross does a screaming fire breathing guitar solo.
13- Maggot Brain-Funkadelic national anthem-Rick Ross and Mike Hampton destroy what's left of the house.
14- Red Hot Momma
15- Atomic Dog-show closer.
Let me close this review by saying that this entire band played their natural black asses off!!! I'm even going to go out on a limb and say they might've even actually rehearsed because the changes, segues and overall musical execution, dynamics and presentation can only be the result of hard, HARD work.
By de way...They didn't even play P-Funk, One Nation, Mothership Connection, Do Dat Stuff, Aqua Boogie, Dr. Funkenstein, Get Off Yo Ass And Jam or even Standin On The Verge!!!!
They still dropped science not seen and (if you don't go when they next come to your town) not to be seen anytime in the future. I believe that over the next 5 years everything that we have known as music from the last 40-50 years or so will forever be extinguished. Get it while you can. We sure didn't that Saturday night because that crowd was 85% white.
When did we stop goin to Funkadelic concerts? Best to git yo IT tagetha people because the reign of funk will soon be gone forever.
Hire A Band (it keeps this type of funk hope alive)
NOTE: Mike took a whole lotta pictures that night and he posted them at the following link for you to check out:
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