Thursday, August 30, 2007

Have you ever seen the Alps from a plane?

I went to see that George Clinton and P-Funk All-Stars recently (using recently in a somewhat flexible and cavalier manner). As you know, Clinton is the guy behind Parliament and Funkadelic, making him at least partially responsible for adding a wigged out mentalness to funk music. This was my second time seeing him. As with the last time, there was a degree of confusion as to which of the gentlemen on stage was Mr Clinton (with the guy in the nappy or the somewhat dishevelled street drinker look-a-like who came in later being two strong candidates), but eventually when the funny haired man himself joined us ambiguity was laid to rest.

The concert had good and bad features. All told, the band went on a bit – they kept me up well past my bedtime, meaning that I was not on top of my game at the important meeting I had the next day. Part of this going on a bit stemmed from not all the songs played being brilliant. This, though, called to mind the comment by someone (Eoghan? Dermot? Jazzy Geoff?) many years previously, when other p-funker Bootsy Collins came to town – basically, the live show needs its longeurs to replicate the strange and unsatisfying pieces that separate the good tracks on the records. Maybe so. The other bad thing about the concert was the number of chatty event people who showed up. I found myself stuck near two talkers while the sublime 'Maggot Brain' was being played, meaning that the platonic ideal guitar solo was disrupted for me by people talking about how great 'Maggot Brain' had been last time they had seen Clinton. Thanks guys.

But the good stuff was great. All the event people in the world can't spoil 'Maggot Brain'. And the All-stars generally, when they hit the groove, were awesome. Part of the fun with them of course was how many of them there were onstage and how oddly attired so many of them were; the stage resembled Rick Santorum's concession speech in this regard, and I did catch a glimpse of the Crying Eagle and Lizard King joining the band briefly. So you could not beat it as visual spectacle. They played several songs I recognised, Parliament-Funkadelic classics all, but the tune that has wormed itself indelibly into my mind is one apparently from the All-Stars' most recent album, sung by the better of the two lady singers present (accompanied by Clinton). It had a great rolling beat of an almost glam rock fashion, and research suggests it might be called 'The Sexy Side of You' (though I remember it as 'You're Making Me Wonder', so maybe they should release it as a single called 'The Sexy Side of You (You're Making Me Wonder)'). DISCLAIMER: While I am saying that I enjoyed this song in the live context, I am not saying that I like it more than other P-Funk classics, nor that I fancy acquiring the record on which it appears.

I should also mention Clinton's preternaturally attractive granddaughter, who came on for one song and rapped serviceably in a Betty Boo styleeee.

So yeah, deadly stuff. Mike my funk the P-funk.

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