George Clinton
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George Clinton

Clapham Grand


Whenever you get a chance to see old legends take it. The first time I saw the Mothership land was in about 77/78 at Hammersmith, and was with the flying saucer and all the other stuff that used to come with it. They put on a great show then but I think that this time was even better. It all started with an early meet at the Plough, burger and chips with a couple of pints of cider. It was quite an easy trip to Clapham, just 2 changes on the train so I will go there again. The Grand is an old Victorian music hall big doors with leopard skin print on them inside the foyer, going into the to the main venue. At the back of the auditorium, a big bar runs the length, this is where you get my normal gripe about these places, £4 for a can of Carling or £4.50 for a Red Stripe, disgusting. Anyway the venue was packed with mainly youngsters, it’s good to see they pay homage to all of the old groups and the surprising thing is that they know all of the words to the songs. The band hit the stage and I tried to count the people on stage and I made it 21. For anybody who doesn’t know George Clinton, he had 2 different bands, Parliament a pure funk band and Funkadelic a cross between James Brown, Sly Stone and Jimi Hendrix. They started with a 15 minute jam of fuzz guitar, playing songs from their first 3 Funkadelic albums. We had “you and your folks” “I wanna know is it good to you” “can you get to that” a little bit of “free your mind.” A really fantastic set. He then went into Parliament songs “Tear the roof off” “Flashlight” a fantastic “Get of your ass and jam” a wonderful “One nation” without George on stage and a host of other tracks. Probably the highlight of the Night was Mary Griffin with a powerful, soulful version of Gnarls Barkleys “Crazy.” George Clinton is renowned for giving people a chance. The gig ended much too quickly with at least 2 hours of psychedelic funk. We finished up with the epic 8 minute guitar solo that is “Maggot brain” and the funky dance track “Atomic dog.”

All in all I think that this was my favourite gig of the year and I have seen some good ones. So far this month I have seen Eddie and the Hotrods, Nine Below Zero, The Blockheads and Automatic Slim and the rest of the year has been as good but George has been the shining star in a wonderful array of music and topped them all. I have to say that do I owe Funkadelic a big thanks, when I was in my early school days I was always a reggae and soul fan (which I still am). I was in a record shop looking in the bargain bin and found Funkadelic’s 1971 album “Maggot Brain.” I thought I was buying a funk album and got a classic rock album (with a hint of soul) instead. So when people say a record change my life, this was probably my one. So a big thank you to Funkadelic for helping me appreciate Rock music, the more obscure the better and also Dr Feelgood for pointing me towards the more frenetic end of the rock spectrum, because if not I would still be dancing about to the Hues Corporation (a little secret, I still do that). So even though Bootsy Collins, Bernie Worrell and Eddie Hazel RIP are no longer with the band and you pay £4 for a can of Carling, the band can still tear the roof of the sucker and long may it continue.

Duncan, July 13