Tuesday, December 22, 2015

George Clinton - King of Funk

NEW HAVEN - Christmas came early for P-Funk fans as George Clinton made a rare December appearance at Toad's Place. For those in the know he traditionally performs there in February so this was a nice surprise. There are not many performers his age still able to pack a house and keep fans on the dance floor for hours - non-stop. No polite clapping here, make no mistake, this is indeed a party, old school style.

At 74 years young Mr. Clinton has no trouble getting the party started. From the first drum beats to the last ear splitting guitar solo he is right there having fun right along with the rest of us. Fueled no doubt by the love he gets from the crowd, the infectious music and frequent hits of weed that are passed up to him on stage. Yes, he is still up to his old tricks.

An informal poll of concert goers indicated that for many this is their 5th, 6th or 7th time seeing him. For Matt, 24, a clean cut white kid this was his first experience. He said "My brother gave me one of his albums when I was 15 and said I would understand when I got older." For 37 year old Ing, an Asian women this was her second time seeing Clinton, the first time was in Oxford, England. Rarely in the times we live in can an assortment of very different people come together and just party. Black, white, old, young, hippies, hipsters, old school revolutionaries in their dashikis along with heavily tattooed bikers wearing their respective colors. A modern day Woodstock. Unlike many concerts with such diverse groupings there is no hint of violence in the air. The only objective is to get funked up.
George Clinton Exits Toad's Place - Photo Credit Jocelyne Hudson-Brown
With the exception of a few obviously seasoned musicians the rest of the funkateers on stage get younger and younger each year, yet the quality of the music never changes. What makes Clinton so special is that he is one of the few African-American musicians still standing that played a key part in most all areas of modern music as we know it. From Doo-Wop, to Jazz, to Soul, R&B, Hip-Hop, Grunge and Rock & Roll he has covered them all, with great success. He is also the mastermind of the genre of music called "P-Funk" which seems to have no generational boundaries.

He is the recipient of many awards including an NAACP Image award, a Grammy, and an MTV music video award. Clinton is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and in 2012 was awarded a Honorary Doctorate of Music from the Berklee School of Music.  His music is featured in movies and TV commercials for Apple computers.