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Issue 1082

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George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic: Forum Kentish Town, London 13/5/17

George Clinton: Forum Kentish Town, London 13/5/17 @bluesandsoul.com
George Clinton: Forum Kentish Town, London 13/5/17 @bluesandsoul.com George Clinton: Forum Kentish Town, London 13/5/17 @bluesandsoul.com George Clinton: Forum Kentish Town, London 13/5/17 @bluesandsoul.com George Clinton: Forum Kentish Town, London 13/5/17 @bluesandsoul.com George Clinton: Forum Kentish Town, London 13/5/17 @bluesandsoul.com George Clinton: Forum Kentish Town, London 13/5/17 @bluesandsoul.com George Clinton: Forum Kentish Town, London 13/5/17 @bluesandsoul.com George Clinton: Forum Kentish Town, London 13/5/17 @bluesandsoul.com George Clinton: Forum Kentish Town, London 13/5/17 @bluesandsoul.com Parliament/Funkadelic - George Clinton: Forum Kentish Town, London 13/5/17 Parliament/Funkadelic - George Clinton: Forum Kentish Town, London 13/5/17 Parliament/Funkadelic - George Clinton: Forum Kentish Town, London 13/5/17 Parliament/Funkadelic - George Clinton: Forum Kentish Town, London 13/5/17 Parliament/Funkadelic - George Clinton: Forum Kentish Town, London 13/5/17 Parliament/Funkadelic - George Clinton: Forum Kentish Town, London 13/5/17 Parliament/Funkadelic - George Clinton: Forum Kentish Town, London 13/5/17 Parliament/Funkadelic - George Clinton: Forum Kentish Town, London 13/5/17 Parliament/Funkadelic - George Clinton: Forum Kentish Town, London 13/5/17 Parliament/Funkadelic - George Clinton: Forum Kentish Town, London 13/5/17 George Clinton: Forum Kentish Town, London 13/5/17 @bluesandsoul.com George Clinton: Forum Kentish Town, London 13/5/17 @bluesandsoul.com George Clinton: Forum Kentish Town, London 13/5/17 @bluesandsoul.com George Clinton: Forum Kentish Town, London 13/5/17 @bluesandsoul.com George Clinton: Forum Kentish Town, London 13/5/17 @bluesandsoul.com

When I grow up, I'd like to be a fraction as cool as George Clinton. Along with James Brown and Sly Stone, he's one of the great innovators of funk, and his early records still stand the test of time. During the 70s and 80s he pushed the boundaries of the genre, encompassing rock, soul, disco and carving out his unique groove. Ever a flamboyant dresser, he's also one of the most recognisable figures in the music business.

Like James Brown, his music found a new audience during the hip-hop years. Play back some of his records and you'll no doubt recognise some of the samples used by Dr Dre during the G-Funk era. In more recent years he's worked with artists as diverse as Kendrick Lamar, Snoop Dogg, Outkast and the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

So it was no surprise that the Forum in Kentish Town was packed when Clinton brought his Parliament/Funkadelic band to town. Now 75, the veteran Funkmaster still oozes star quality.

One of the striking things about the P-Funk ensemble is the sheer number of musicians. At one point I counted 16, a heady mixture of instrumentalists, singers and a couple of MCs for good measure.

Clinton strode onto stage with a huge smile, sporting a massive crown and large white robes. We'd expect nothing less.

The band proceeded to deliver an epic jam, finding their groove and keeping it going, mixing deep, heavy funk with rock and hip hop.

Clinton presided over the whole thing with delight. At various stages he was lead vocalist, backing singer, dancer, hype man and proud bandleader. Surrounded by talented musicians, donning a variety of costumes, Clinton was in his element.

Hillary may have failed to reach the White House last year, but for one night at least London was graced with a funky president named Clinton.

Although clearly well drilled, the band had the spontaneity needed to make good funk music. There were sprawling guitar solos, heavy beats, jazz-tinged sax licks and strong vocals throughout. If the night felt like one long celebration, that's because it was, and Clinton wouldn't have it any other way.

"One Nation Under A Groove" sounded triumphant, "Maggot Brain" was breathtaking, and "Flash Light" was delivered with relish.

When the troupe of musicians finally put down their instruments after more than two hours onstage, they brought a resounding night of funk to an end, and were met with enthusiastic applause.

At 75 Clinton can still command a stage, and by wisely surrounding himself with talent he has ensured P-Funk sounds as fresh now as it ever did.

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PHOTOS: DAVE BURKE
Words Dave Burke

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