Sep 162004
 
Authors: Brian Park

The forces of funk took the Aggie Theatre hostage Sept. 8.

For more than three hours George Clinton and the

Parliament/Funkadelic delivered a non-stop rollercoaster ride of

music that put a glide in your stride and a dip in your hips.

The Aggie was packed with legions of fans who wanted nothing

more than to be engulfed by the power of “funkadelica.”

The band took stage, while thunderous applause echoed off the

walls, and the 10-plus members wasted no time. Immediately the

music was blaring and butts were shaking.

For the first couple of songs, the godfather of funk himself,

George Clinton, was nowhere to be seen. But after a furious

rendition of “Bop Gun (Endangered Species),” Clinton casually

strolled out. With his signature rainbow dreadlocks (if that hair

is still real) bouncing around on his head, he grabbed the mic and

took control. Decked out in a gigantic orange sweatshirt, baggy

jeans and sunglasses, Clinton came ready to get down.

The crowd remained hyped up and lively throughout the entire

evening. The Aggie Theatre floor morphed into a dance party that

looked like joyful chaos and reeked of sweat.

Clinton and the Parliament/Funkadelic blasted out funk classics

“Give Up the

Funk (Tear the Roof Off the Sucker),” “Atomic Dog” and “Up For

The Down

Stroke” that have become regular material at the group’s live

shows.

Clinton left the stage at one point during the middle of the

show, and he let the band rip through “Maggot Brain,” a meandering

funk classic that goes on and on, like a Parliament/ Funkadelic

“Freebird.”

Unlike last year when the group performed at the Mishawaka

Amphitheatre, this time

Clinton and Parliament/Funkadelic performed its own funky

interpretations of other musicians’ songs. The lead guitarist,

wearing only a diaper made out of a towel, wailed on the main riff

of Jimi Hendrix’s “Voodoo Chile,” and for the rapturous encore the

group jammed Jerry Lee Lewis’s “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On.” The

most surprising song the members put a funk spin to was Lil’ Jon

and the Eastside Boyz’s club anthem “Get Low.”

Everywhere you looked people loved the sounds that were

vibrating through their eardrums. Audience members were a sight to

see themselves, as some sported headbands, sashes, bracelets, even

suspenders made out of caution tape, goofy costumes or their

regular garb. Regardless of the attire, the whole audience was

guided by one thing – funk.

One concertgoer, wearing a cape and a Lost Lake beer box on his

head, was draped in Christmas lights. Throughout the entire concert

he held up an extension cord, trying to get plugged in on stage.

The closest he got was when the guitarist plugged the cord into his

belly-button, a hilarious sight to say the least.

George Clinton, 65, is known as the originator of funk music.

Ever since he started playing with the bands Parliament and

Funkadelic more than 30 years ago, to his solo career of the 1980s,

to the non-stop touring schedule he has kept in the last decade,

Clinton never stops bringing music to the masses. Even an arrest

last fall for possession of cocaine and a crack pipe (he was

sentenced to community service and probation) didn’t slow him

down.

The awesome part of experiencing Clinton and

Parliament/Funkadelic live is how much the group engages the

audience. Clinton and fellow members are constantly giving

high-fives to everyone in the first rows and they invite audience

members up on stage to dance.

It was nearing 1:30 a.m., and finally the funk had to cease.

Aggie Theatre actually pulled the plug on the performance. With

their ears ringing, their bodies saturated in sweat and their

voices shot, the audience members slowly filed outside.

The funk was over for now. But for more than three hours,

everybody in the Aggie Theatre was “one nation under a groove.”

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