Home / Concert Reviews / George Clinton and Parliament/Funkadelic @ Turner Hall Ballroom
Wednesday, June 16, 2010

George Clinton and Parliament/Funkadelic @ Turner Hall Ballroom

June 11, 2010

Google+ Pinterest Print
Few figures in funk loom quite as large as George Clinton, whose unfettered creativity and vast contributions to the genre can only be aptly compared to fellow visionaries like Sly Stone and James Brown. His greatest hits, too numerous to list here, should be instantly recognizable to any semiconscious partygoer, and his spaceman/comic-book hero image remains one of the most iconic alter egos in all of popular music. Clinton has also kept the funk fires burning with regular tours, most recently with a band called Parliament/Funkadelic, which, apparently, is not to be confused with either Parliament, Funkadelic or the P-Funk All-Stars.

Clinton’s crowd Friday was smallish, but in high spirits. Many were black people of a certain age, presumably looking to revisit those halcyon days when P-Funk shows were events of near-mythic proportions; the rest seemed to be stoned teenagers and white 30-somethings with questionable rhythm. There was genuine excitement when the musicians straggled onstage and, with little fanfare, began competently laying down some rather cookie-cutter funk grooves.

Clinton himself didn’t appear until about five songs in, nearly 40 minutes after the show had started. But as soon as he emerged the whole vibe transformed from something you might expect to see at a state fair into something altogether stranger and more alive. Even at 68, Clinton is a consummate party starter—funny, joyfully obscene and utterly unpredictable. An example: I don’t think anyone in the room expected him to come onstage and launch, almost immediately, into a few choruses from Lil Jon & The Eastside Boyz’ “Get Low”: (“To the windows, to the walls/ ’til the sweat drops down my balls…”).

From there, Clinton wandered around stage, enjoying himself and occasionally growling into the mike as the band dropped some of the classics [including “Cosmic Slop” and “Mothership Connection (Star Child)”], with many of them turning into loose, rocky jams heavy on guitar solos. Then Clinton left again, handing the reins to the band for an interminable version of “Maggot Brain”and a lackluster “One Nation Under a Groove,”before coming back for “Flash Light”and a few other crowd favorites.

In the end, however, even Clinton’s supremely benevolent presence didn’t justify a show that dragged on for nearly three hours (eventually the house lights came up and were summarily ignored). Part of the problem was personnel (without a Bernie Worrell or a Bootsy Collins to inject some much-needed freakiness, the Mothership felt a bit grounded), but a lot of it was presentation. The stage seemed to be screaming out for a smoke machine or a mirror ball, just something to lend a bit of atmosphere to the proceedings. But even though it wasn’t the kind of performance that will draw audiences back year after year, it was rather satisfying to experience it once. After all, the man’s a funkin’ legend.

Log in to use your Facebook account with
Express Milwaukee

Login With Facebook Account



Recent Activity on Express Milwaukee