Parliament Funkadelic Funks Up Rams Head Live!
Jan 04, 2011 01:26AM ● Published by Anonymous
The band’s lineup has been steadily rotating for many years and Clinton’s appearance and demeanor have calmed a bit in his age (gone are his neon dreadlocks), but their creative synergy allows them to remain among the pantheon of funk performers still on the touring circuit these days. On this evening, George appeared in a skimmer hat and a tame track jacket and jean combo, overshadowed by the outrageous outfits of even many attendees.
The crowd at Rams Head was energetic and vocal from the start. P Funk’s style has always featured call and response heavily and used audience participation to take their energy to the next level. Members of the audience started familiar chants that grew in volume as the time for funk grew nearer, and let the band backstage know that this would be no quiet weeknight show. The crowd also appeared to be the most diverse and varied that Rams Head has attracted in recent memory, with people of all ages, races, shapes, sizes and backgrounds sharing in the excitement of the chance to get down to the nasty grooves that only Clinton and his merry band of followers can provide.
The makeup of the band itself is an impressive collage of sounds that’s more layered than it is crowded. The current lineup features four guitarists, three keyboardists, and as many as 15-17 members on stage at a time. It’s an impressive feat to make that much treble blend in a pleasing way, but the band has mastered it, using the dynamic sound to drive repetitive, funky lines that implore each crowd member to shake their respective money makers. If you took away one or two, or even three members of the ensemble, you may not notice, but the sum of the parts packs one hell of a funky punch.
Clinton seems to be enjoying keeping a lower profile these days. It became apparent that most in the crowd didn’t recognize him with his new look when a fellow band member asked whether the audience was ready for the flamboyant leader to take the stage. When it was revealed that Clinton was one of the many members already on stage, the crowd let out an embarrassed cheer, continuing to funk while pretending like they were one of the few that knew it was him all along.
The band visited many staples of their impressive catalog, including the crowd pleasing “Flashlight” and their best known number “Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof Off the Sucker)”. Their stage show regularly includes a performing antagonist who was born on the 1976 concept album Mothership Connection. The archrival, named Sir Nose Devoid Funk dons an all white pimp suit and oversized nose, hating on Clinton and the rest of the band and imploring the crowd to join him. When the group reaches their musical and energetic peak, Sir Nose inevitably finds “the funk” and is miraculously converted to one of Clinton’s electric disciples.
At this point, Sir Nose proceeds to display some of the most impressive dance moves and body movements any human is capable of outside of possibly a professional contortionist. If the band’s action packed, fun loving music doesn’t pay for the price of the ticket, their over the top stage show and ability to dazzle a crowd sure do. If you don’t agree, it’s likely that your idea of a good time does not include smiling, singing, dancing, or laughing- at which point I’d recommend avoiding George Clinton at all costs.