George Clinton, Roxy, September 6
GROOVE AFTER GROOVE: George Clinton,
the ageless funkateer.
At 67, George Clinton is an American griot, a shaman, an ageless funkateer — a politicized, humorous rhymemaster, a thick man whose big smile and multi-colored dreadlocks light up any room. And he’s still crazy after all these years.
At the Roxy on September 6, Clinton served as singer and ringmaster, cavorting with 30-plus musicians, including pot-bellied, diaper-clad guitarist Gary Shider and his foil, the pimped-out Poo Poo Man, who from time to time held up a banner reading “FUCK GEORGE.” Clinton and Parliament/Funkadelic held court for three and a half hours. They luxuriated in the joy of repetition — the massive funk grooves — and took liberty with experimentation, from skronk-jazz jams to screaming hard-rock blitzes. (The psychedelic “Maggot Brain,” featuring guitarist Blackbyrd McKnight, was exceptional.)
The show began, as always, without Clinton, but 30 minutes later he was out to lead the freak parade. At one semi-serious point, he chanted, “Read a book! Read a motherfuckin’ book!” Later, as the set wound down with “One Nation Under a Groove” and “Atomic Dog”/“Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On,” Clinton preached his motto: “Free your mind and your ass will follow.”
P-Funk are a jam band, so there was some down time — softer grooves, meandering bits, a reggae vamp. But rarely did the music actually stop. Various male singers shared the spotlight with three female singers — all equals here. A Clinton show is a happy genre collision, where the fantasy of one nation under a groove becomes reality for a night. Clinton railed a bit at the government, but there were no harsh edges. Just groove after groove.
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