Funkadelic ringleader keeps the party going
In what sounded like classic funk and appeared to be a Halloween celebration more than a week ahead of schedule, George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic added another strong performance to their legacy of funk mastery at Harrah’s South Shore Room last Saturday night.
Emerging stage left in an iridescent hooded sweatshirt and revealing a hair cut that was Jeff Spicoli to the right, pink French poodle on top and worthy of a New Orleans Mardi Gras parade everywhere else, the enigmatic front man for Funkadelic drew gracious cheers from an eager crowd.
Not a group to be hindered by convention, the funk legends began a two and a half hour set with a lounge version of Lil’ Jon and the East Side Boyz “Get Low.”
A seemingly unusual song choice for Clinton, the ubiquitous club hit was a disarming surprise, appearing to send the message “it ain’t nothin’ but a party, baby.”
The song’s raunchy lyrics also kicked off what would be a night of laughably lewd refrains — sample lyric: “yank my doodle, it’s a dandy.”
After their own take on Lil’ Jon, the small army that is George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic launched into a litany of their own hits, including “P-Funk (Wants to Get Funked Up),” “Give up the Funk (Tear the Roof off the Sucker),” and “Up From the Down Stroke” in front of the gyrating crowd.
With Clinton’s relatively sparse vocals and little, if any, banter between songs the Parliament Funkadelic part of the group drives much of the act’s live performance, but it would be nearly impossible for any man, even Clinton, to match the activity of no less than 14 other performers.
Parliament Funkadelic consists of a drummer, bass player, saxophone player, trumpet player, two keyboardists, five guitar players, the guy in a diaper and the two others dressed in outlandish pimp suits.
But without a host, there is no party, and Clinton, well into his 60s and clearly a bit foggy, has no problem keeping loose and captivating a crowd with his raspy vocals — as well as his mere presence.
Rounding out the set with Funkadelic classics “Mothership Connection (Star Ship), “Flash Light” and, yes, a funkier version of “Get Low,” George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic are quite the spectacle, and manage to sound excellent in the process.
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It’s time to secure outdoor loose furniture, decorations and garbage cans because high winds are aimed at Lake Tahoe for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.