George Clinton & The Parliament Funkadelic

By Ben Doy

Artist:  George Clinton & The Parliament Funkadelic

Date / Venue:  Wednesday April 8th, The Powerstation, Auckland

Heading along to the Powerstation last night in Auckland, there was a definite element of excitement in the air. A feeling that this show would be quite different to some of the more recent outings I'd attended. And with good reason, this was the godfather of funk music himself - Dr George Clinton, complete with his bandThe Parliament Funkadelic.

When the opening riffs of Mothership Connection (Starchild) commenced, a night of non-stop funk was underway. Hanging near the back at the start and getting a couple of refreshing beverages under my belt, it wasn't long before I was drawn into the crowd where having a boogie was mandatory.

There was always something going on up on stage. With over a dozen band members front and centre at any one point in time, there was never a dull moment. Hip-hop, rock, soulful divas, manic brass... there really was something for everyone. This particular version of the Parliament Funkadelic included members from Clinton's family, including six of his grandchildren. And there didn't appear to be any weak links.

At one point the band all partook in a big smoke up on stage, filling the Powerstation with the sweet smell as we partied on and watched them through the haze. It reminded me of the line 'Can you imagine doobie in your funk? Ho! We Funk!' from their song 'P Funk (Wants To Get Funked Up)'.  

We were given all the hits - Give Up The Funk (Tear The Roof Off The Sucker), Atomic Dog & Flashlight, with many of the tracks merging into one another. And even if you didn't know the song, you more than likely recognised it from a sample. Although I've been a big fan or Parliament for many years, for whatever reason I haven't heard a hell of a lot of Funkadelic (this changed today). During the intro of the their song ‘Cosmic Slop', I suddenly clicked that The Goats had sampled this for their song ‘Idiot Business'. Magic riff!  And my appreciation for both acts rose even more. 

They came back on for an encore and were treated to a wall of sound axe attack. And after that it still wasn't over, the house lights came on and most of the mics' were turned off. But the collective started up again, finishing off with a bit of mighty fine hip-hop.

The two hour plus show was phenomenal to be frank. The crowd was great... a little bit of everyone from all walks of life were there and all having a good time.  And the Powerstation as usual was top notch!

Clinton was the maestro of the night, directing traffic for the band & the audience. If someone could construct me a TARDIS, I'd love to head back to 1970s New York and check out Dr Clinton & co in full flight with assorted spaceships and the like. 

George Clinton brought us all up on Wednesday night, and following the show we were brought down a little by the fact that... well, it was Wednesday night / Thursday morn, with a few more days hard slog until the weekend. Blurry eyed and slow this morning for sure, but I'll be back again should we be privileged they grace our shores again. But I'm still hanging out for that TARDIS...