George Clinton At The Cubby Bear


Thursday May 10th, 2012 – Chicago, IL

   We want the funk! Gotta have that funk! I got as much as I could possibly handle tonight at the Cubby Bear in Chicago on Clark and Addison kitty corner from Wrigley Field as George Clinton and Parliament/Funkadelic passed through town to ‘tear the roof off the sucker’ one more time.

Anyone who knows me well knows how much of a fan I am of the funk. I still don’t know why a white boy from Milwaukee is so into that kind of music, but I totally am. I’ve been a fan since I first heard it on the radio in grade school, and I still am today. I’ve lost count years ago as to how many times I’ve seen them live, but an educated guess would be around 50. They’re my favorite.

The first time I saw them was about 1989 just up the street at the Cabaret Metro. I didn’t know what to expect, but was totally blown away by the energy of that show. They played for probably four and a half hours that night, and I knew every song on their list. I’ve been hooked ever since.

George is still a master showman, and when he makes his entrance it takes the already dynamic energy vibe to a new level of fever pitch. He’s just got a powerful charisma that lights up a room, and I never get sick of seeing it in person. Some nights are better than others, but tonight rocked.

Usually, the band starts slowly and eases into a groove. The drummer and bass player start out with a slow thumping beat, and before long a guitarist or keyboardist might join in. Then maybe one or two singers might come out and before long the band is cranked up with one of their hits.

This might go on a full half hour to forty-five minutes. The crowd is into it, and everybody is at ease just laying back and enjoying the music. Then the band kicks into the song ‘Cosmic Slop’, a signal to those who’ve seen the show before that George is on the way. The anticipation builds.

Cosmic Slop is one of my favorite songs, and it always gets the crowd whipped up into a funky frenzy. New and old fans alike get sucked in, and THEN George comes out and the show takes a giant leap even higher. It’s amazing to watch the dynamics of it, but I’ve seen it time and again.

Tonight was completely different. The band started off with one of their old Funkadelic hits I’d never seen them do before, much less open the show. George came out after about three minutes, but still had the crowd in the palm of his hand immediately. He knows how to work an audience. They could have played a polka and George still would have been able to get everybody into it.

It’s also noticeable that he’s completely changed his look of late. Gone are those multi colored braids of hair and floor length robes, and now it’s of all things a suit and tie. It’s a different look altogether, but none of us cared. HE was the one everyone came to see, not what he was wearing. Someone with that much of a stage presence can pretty much wear anything – or nothing at all.

They went back and forth all night from the classics to obscure gems only the longest time fans (like me) would know. I was delighted to get to see those old ones done live, and then they’d get right back to the old songs everyone expected them to play. Everyone was on their game tonight. There’s a great website to check out called www.onenationboardroom.com for anyone interested in finding out more about the funk. Who knows, maybe you’ll get hooked and become a fan too.

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