Live Review for the Skinny
george clinton - the arches - sunday 4/11 - (*****)
Before the star takes the stage, The Arches crowd is treated to a support band like no other: The Funk Brothers boast that they have played on more chart-topping singles than the Beatles, Beach Boys, Stones and Elvis put together, and we get some of them tonight. Indeed, there Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing, but Marvin Gaye is long-dead so this is the realest we'll ever get, and to hear that, along with Motown classics What's Going On, Uptight and My Girl from some of the original band is a real pleasure. With a rapturous throng demanding "we want the funk, give up the funk!", 66 year-old George Clinton finally took the stage sporting an explosive multi-coloured hair-do and a face bursting with croaky roars and commands. Clinton's call-and-response compering was followed with a religious fervour, while the band launched through extended guitar-heavy funk jams with snatches of recognisable motifs dotted throughout. Live funk is always liable to complaints of indulgency, but vamping a groove for long stretches is key to the style of a funk show, and it's allowed when just five seconds of a descending bassline (Flashlight) makes dancers wither at the knees. I've seen James Brown and Prince perform different kinds of funk: but George Clinton's P-funk is the most exuberant of them all, and he drives a ferocious funk party like no other.