Wednesday, February 9, 2011

A Real Type of Thing Going Down

On Saturday, I attended the George Clinton and the Parliament-Funkadelic concert with Ryan and Hedda.  I am pretty sure I was mainly invited as a designated driver, but I am willing to do that.  Throw in that they bought my ticket to pay me back for shoveling their driveway and feeding their cats while they were on vacation in the Cayman Islands and it was a totally win situation for me.

I am not a huge GC & P-Funk fan.  I think they are OK, but have always enjoyed them in smaller doses than full CD or concert length.  However, I have always been somewhat curious to see him live as it is always supposed to be a great show. I was especially after his award winning* performance in Good Burger...I just didn't want to pay for it.  I was also looking forward to checking out Club 504 - a new club in the Des Moines East Village area.

Club 504
I knew there would be a lot of just jamming - of which I am not a fan.  I knew there would the would probably be a lot of marijuana smoke - of which I am not a fan (it was so strong walking inside that I almost gagged a little).  I knew there would be many utterances of the word "funk" - of which I could do without.  But still I was looking forward to the show - George Clinton is definitely now old balls (turns 70 years old this summer) so realistically there will probably be few chances for me to see him in the future.

We got to the venue about 15 minutes before the show was listed to start...but of course, the show didn't actually start for well over an hour after the listed start time (bars, you have no idea how much I hate that).  Since we had plenty of time to stand around, it was time for stoner watch.  Even though the place smelled heavily of pot, I was a little disappointed in the stoner turn out.  I thought I saw the holy triumvirate of stonerdom for a second - white-guy dreads, crocheted rastafarian hat, and old army jacket...but I was disappointed when he emerged from the shadows.  His hat was just black and not the traditional red, yellow, green, and black of a true pot head.  Even worse, he didn't even have dreads, just long hair.  In fact, I didn't see a single attendee with white-guy dreads.  It was disappointing.

Since they weren't touring as the P-Funk All-Stars, I wondered if there might be fewer people on stage...but I was wrong, the stage was always crowded.  It made Slipknot look like they have a reasonable number of members in their band.  Seriously...check out this list of P-Funk members, many are gone or moved on but quite a few are still active in the band.  I don't think the stage ever had fewer than 10 people and most times it was more like 15-20.  One of the singers even grabbed a cordless mic and came out to sing from the audience section - not in a show off way, but a get out off the crowded stage kind of way.

Since he is old balls, I didn't figure that George would be doing as much as he used to...but he did even less than I expected.  I don't even think he did the lead vocals on a single song.  He started one song, but let someone else finish (or maybe it devolved into a 20 minute jam).  Mostly, he howled now and then, told people to raise their hands, and shuffled around the stage shoving his microphone towards other members (in front of the trumpet, towards a backup singer, next to the bass amp, etc...).  One nice thing was that George was no longer wearing his multi-colored dreadlocks (I am pretty sure they were fake for the past 15 years anyways), it actually made him look better and younger.

GC and P-Funk live 02/05/2011
I was also a little surprised in the song selection.  Of course they had Give Up the Funk, Atomic Dog, (an abbreviated version of) Not Just Knee Deep, and Flashlight...but it felt like something was missing.  Although the rest of the songs might not have been as popular, they were decent, I just felt like there were songs that were missing from the set.  It took me a few days to realize that I don't know if I was missing GC and P-Funk in particular but more that I was wishing for some Sly and the Family Stone and some Bootsy Collins.

All in all, it wasn't a horrible show.  It had it's entertaining moments, it just wasn't the kind of show that was for me.  I was not one of the people, bent over at the waist, hands in the air, eyes closed, and tears streaming...but there were several of those.  Ryan was a little disappointed, he has seen P-Funk like 5 or 6 times and said this was the worst show he had seen.  It is nice to be able to say that I have seen him in concert.

*Only in my mind


kelly said...

So you're saying that George is basically the Baba Oje of P-Funk now? Just needs a rocking chair.

I swear you love Good Burger more than anyone else on Earth.

Michael said...

Yes, that is exactly what I thought when he didn't sing much - Baba Oje. He also needs a big stick. But still I think Baba Oje rocked the camel's ass.

I do love Good Burger and I don't know why...but I mostly put that line in there for you. I knew you would hate it.