The Funk is no longer facile (aka George Clinton @ ShowBox Sodo)

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2009/09/03 10:01 -04:00, original URI:

It was supposed to be a magical night.

I was given tickets for a show by the funk master George Clinton down at the Seattle Showbox.

My musical tastes often confuse and occasionally frighten people, but in this case whether one is thinking about Parliament or Funkadelic or Parliament-Funkadedlic or the P-Funk All Stars, one is thinking George Clinton and I'm hardly alone at feeling like he is the master of something important.

Several important things, in fact.

Because sometimes, we DO need the funk, and gotta have that funk.

I asked Jennifer if she was free that night, she was.

And whether she's be interested in seeing the show, she was.


I should probably say a word or two about her to explain what that name is supposed to convey if you don't know her.

Do you know that myth/fantasy that nerds/geeks have (including myself) about really hot blondes who are geeks/nerds themselves, and who are attracted to brainy people?

Well, that's Jennifer.

It was like I had just asked out a unicorn or something!

This was starting to shape up into something hot.

A reservation for dinner at Dahlia Lounge was a no-brainer (admittedly a venue that is better for the other Showbox rather than Showbox Sodo, but the reservation was early enough to make it work).

Anyway, as the event approached, my twitter tweets/facebook statuses started to reveal my excitement about the show coming up.

I even took one of those status said I liked it. And she tagged it the same way: she liked it too.

The anticipation, man. The anticipation.

And then it was happening. :-)

Dinner was wonderful, as expected.

And as usual (well, at least to my thinking of usual given recent examples) Jennifer was wonderful too.

The day might someday come where I tire of hanging out with her but I can't really picture it at the moment, and in any case it wasn't happening last night.

We were slightly late getting out of the restaurant (caught up in the conversation, or rather conversations!) and missed the buses heading that way on 1st. So we figured we'd hoof it to the venue (which worked out interestingly, given we arrived before someone else who was waiting for the bus we could have taken).

We kept talking on the way. And she has a fun eccentricity I have seen before where she would take the same path I would with sidewalk cutouts and such. It works for me. So even the walk there was fun.

We arrived probably 45 minutes after the doors opened, which worked out too since the show didn't start until over 45 minutes after that.

Remember everything about the evening had been great so far.

I'm pretty sure that has been the vibe of the description to now, but I wanted to make it clear, just in case.

Then the show started.

I could do a review of the show, I could.

But I noticed Jonathan Cunningham did one, titled Last Night: George Clinton Stinks it up at The Showbox, which kind of sums up how both of us felt.

The crowd was largely made up of long-time fans who knew all the lyrics and sang them loud.

This was good since George was barely doing 20-30% of the job himself, and neither the man in the wedding dress or the man wearing the diaper could distract us from the fact that we were witnessing a hollow shell of that which was once the legendary George Clinton.

This is music that is supposed to seduce the crowd.

Draw 'em in, make 'em want more, then give it 'em.

Make 'em want the funk.

Make 'em need the funk.

By that metric, the show itself, with George at way under half his vocal range and a set that built up nothing for anyone who couldn't have done the show in their heads themselves, was an unmitigated disaster.


This was like going home with someone who knew he could get the job done but was too drunk/high to perform. So you get three times the sex with 1/6 of the foreplay.

Both of us were incredulous, and I was embarrassed.

Maybe some of the fans who were so into the show that they felt having the funk was facile and didn't notice over the sounds of their own voices how ungood the performance was.

Had the gig been watching a show of funk fans carrying the funk master, it would have been a good show.

But as it was, I couldn't watch this train wreck that was robbing the memory of one of my favorite legends.

I asked Jennifer of she wanted to get some air; she did. We then just kept walking.

I apologized profusely, not that it was my fault but the fact that I had been excited enough about the show to encourage enthusiasm from her, I felt like I had set us up for the debacle.

Would anyone trust my musical tastes after I waxed so enthusiastically?

More importantly, would she?

She did assure me that although the P-Funk didn't deliver the goods, the M-Funk did.

Sincerely enough that I'll believe her.:-)

She is clearly more forgiving than I might be, so this is something I should work on too as she seems to be allowing one helluva mulligan.

Thankful for that I am, geez.

Whoduve thought that George Clinton would be messing up my game, anyway?

There have been nights over the last couple of decades when he was my game, or at least a contributing factor.

Now you can stick a fork in him, as the Funkmaster is done....

# John Cowan on 3 Sep 2009 11:50 PM:

/me hands Michael the cloth-wrapped wineglass.

# Nignog on 7 Sep 2009 12:25 PM:

The funk ain't finished.   You are D'Voidoffunk.

# Michael S. Kaplan on 7 Sep 2009 4:38 PM:

The funk was absent that night, too!

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