Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic get up for the down stroke at Ardmore Music Hall

George Clinton, now 73 and in dapper new duds, brought Parliament Funkadelic to Ardmore Music Hall Wednesday.
George Clinton, now 73 and in dapper new duds, brought Parliament Funkadelic to Ardmore Music Hall Wednesday.
Posted: August 24, 2014

At age 73, George Clinton continues his life's mission to save this dying world from its funkless hell. He and the dozen or so members of Parliament Funkadelic who sprawled across the stage Wednesday night at the Ardmore Music Hall did more than their fair share to fight this good fight during a robust show that stretched on for more than 2 1/2 hours.

A packed house that at 10 p.m. was eagerly chanting along with the battle cry of "Give up the funk" was left exhausted a little past midnight, much of the crowd having had their fill of the funk long before the septuagenarian bandleader was through giving it up.

The George Clinton that appeared to a rousing ovation on Wednesday was not quite the George Clinton the crowd may have expected.

Gone are the rainbow-ribboned dreadlocks and the shimmering sci-fi robes. Instead, Clinton was nattily dressed in a white fedora and a white-and-pink-checkered jacket, a look more reminiscent of Thelonious Monk than of Dr. Funkenstein. Despite the image change, his stiff walk, and his occasional retirement to a stool while his able band members took the spotlight, Clinton steered the P-Funk mother ship with vigor as always, part front man, part conductor, part ringmaster, part cheerleader.

The generational mix in the audience was proof of P-Funk's appeal, both through its own music and through the sampling of so much of its work in hip-hop - which was folded into the repertoire along with touches of jazz, hard rock, and gospel, ample evidence of Clinton's vision and influence.

The rambling set, which Clinton called on the spot with an occasional "What you gonna do, G?" from the band when pauses between songs lingered a bit too long, veered through many of the best-known hits from the P-Funk catalog, beginning with "Mothership Connection (Star Child)" and including "One Nation Under a Groove," "Up for the Down Stroke," and "Atomic Dog." Clinton's nemesis, Sir Nose D'Voidoffunk, made an appearance during "Flashlight" in the form of a chiseled dancer clad in white furs, and longtime Funkadelic guitarist Michael Hampton added searing guitar work to "Maggot Brain" and "(Not Just) Knee Deep" late into the night.

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