Gig review: George Clinton & P-Funk, Glasgow

George Clinton played the benevolent ringmaster presiding over the party. Picture: Getty
George Clinton played the benevolent ringmaster presiding over the party. Picture: Getty
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George Clinton donated his original Mothership, an extraordinary piece of stagecraft from the prog-funk heyday of Parliament-Funkadelic, to the Smithsonian Institution in 2011, but he continues to steer his sonic spaceship wherever there are receptive ears, hearts and feet. And Glasgow was prepared for touchdown.

George Clinton & P-Funk - ABC, Glasgow

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The days of big budget theatrical presentations are over but a P-Funk show still involves a substantial, pulsing cast of musicians and singers (I lost count around 15) in constant planetary motion, plus Sir Nose D’Voidoffunk, a menacing figure in white pimp furs, who brought a frisson of Loki-like mischief to the party.

Over a free-flowing two-and-a-half hour set, some moments were more essential than others but there was no stinting on the P-Funk classics. In addition to the feelgood funk of (Not Just) Knee Deep, the celebratory call-to-arms of One Nation Under A Groove and Michael Hampton’s searing ten-minute guitar solo on Maggot Brain, the group honoured Clinton’s musical roots with a good grooving version of his 1967 debut hit I Wanna Testify.

Clinton the benevolent ringmaster presided rather than performed, at one point inviting his granddaughter onstage, and watching proudly while she rapped explicitly about sex and drugs. But there was an internal control and logic to the whole seemingly messy stew of acid-fried guitar, quaking sub bass and chaotic blasts of brass.

And without all the eccentricities and excesses, it would not be the psychedelic circus that is a P-Funk party – an experience that is still like nothing else on the planet.

Seen on 18.04.14