Review by Hayley Clark 

London has been treated to an array of talented and legendary musicians over the past week of Innervisions Festival and tonight at Camden’s iconic Roundhouse venue was no different. As icons go, this show was heavyweight, to add to the fact it was sadly announced the 76 year old Godfather of Funk would be retiring in 2019, this made the show even more special considering it had a good chance of being his last in the UK, taking into consideration all that, London was in for a treat as George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic came into town.

George Clinton Innervisions Design Stage 1

It was New York band Miss Velvet and the Blue Wolf’s job to warm up the eager crowd. Launching a funk rock and roll attack Miss Velvet grabbed the audience’s attention immediately with her raspy vocals and energy as she bounced around the stage in a red leather long-legged playsuit with flowing blouse underneath looking the epitome of style as she opened the Roundhouse.

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The cool and collected band included guitarist Henry Ott whose craftsmanship and riffs kept the audience’s hands in the air, and a three piece horn section who were off the hook. The funkiness of the horns complimented Miss Velvets’ powerful melodies and mystical voice treating the waiting fans as the venue slowly filled to tracks ‘Dare’, ‘Love Train’ and ‘Get Some,’ it was easy to see the band have a talent for writing as well as playing. Goosebumps filled the room with a cover of ‘Summertime’, perfect for the hot summer’s week that the UK had unusually been treated to as Miss Velvet simmered the crowd, they’re one to look out for as they left the crowd to vigirous clapping.

The crowd screamed in appreciation as the venue’s lights went down, members of the P Funk family started to come on stage, each one getting ravenous greetings from the near sell out crowd. Greg took his place on the sax with cheers for the rest of this legendary group, Blackbyrd McKnight on guitar, Tra’Zae and Shaun Pop Clinton, Michael Clip Payne and the awesome trio of Kandy Apple Redd and Brandi Scott as key figures the roof raised as legend George came onto the hollowed venue stage. Dressed in a red and black suit with masquerade head piece the crowd went wild at their hero as he beamed from ear to ear waving from the stage.

I’d come accross George and the P Funk all stars for the first time in Birmingham in 2015, a gig which literally blew me away with a lesson in funk history from A to Z. Back then the late Bernie Worral was on keys and the youngsters of the band seemed to be still learning the ropes to continue the legacy that had been part of music history since 1968. Then in 2017, a trip to one of the funkiest cities in music; Minneapolis, saw the band appear as a suprise act at Paisley Park. Opening Celebration 2017 they were the first band to perform at Prince’s home since he passed and after that magical performance where the band had evolved a tighter slicker performance I didn’t think it could be topped until the Roundhouse was just wow.

From start to finish the original Dr Funkenstein had the crowd on their feet, arms in the air clapping and stomping along. The non Stop Party engulfed the crowd with favourites ‘Stuff and Things’ and ‘Cosmic Slop’ the funk fell hard with heavy beats and the smooth vocals of George and the band. Temperatures soared with a costume change and cover of funkadelic classic ‘Meow Meow’ by the gorgeous Brandi Scott. George’s daughter mesmerized the crowd, complete with kitten ears, as she purred her way across the stage tearing the roof off, her sultry vocals kept all eyes on her she kept the funk going.

Not to be outdone Sir Nose arose to the stage, his half naked torso leaving the ladies swooning with an athletic acrobatic display and his trademark long nose as the audience stood wide eyed and mouthed at Carlos McMurray’s skillfull display.

The party did not stop as the Roundhouse was treated to ‘Get Low’,  ‘Flashlight’ and sang along to ‘One Nation Under a Groove’ as the funk took over and heavy guitar riffs filtered through, it was the turn of the youth to show how far they’d came and learnt from their elders. Kandy Apple Redd’s Tonysha and Shonda shone brightly with their soulful harmonies and sounds with grandson Tra’Zae wowing the crowd as he spat beats and rhythms. As they powered further into the depths of funk. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better along came ‘Dirty Queen’, ‘Give Up The Funk’ and ‘Get Off Your Ass’. Latest offering ‘I’m Gonna Make You Sick’ left the crowd in ecstacy as they pumped their hands in the air guided by George the royal funkateer and master of the evening. Having goosebumps earlier in the evening Blackbyrd McKnight’s epic guitar solo of ‘Maggot Brain’ left chills as he slayed his axe impeccibly. In what seemed an everlasting orgasm of sound he stood cool and collected under the pale violet lights.

As curfew appeared, females from the audience were coaxed on for one last jam of ‘Atomic Jam’. Sealing the party and a fond farewell to this funk legend, George Clinton has definately saved the best on his career for last. What had to be one of the most energetic shows I’ve have had the pleasure to see and the awe of how the next generation have progressed in the last three years within the legacy, it brings a tear to your eyes knowing that he is retiring and returning to the mothership next year.

Thank you George, for the bringing the funk and tearing the roof off suckers for the past 50 years.

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