George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic
with Miss Velvet and the Blue Wolf
Coachman Park, Clearwater, Florida • May 5th, 2018
by Bob Pomeroy
It was Funko de Mayo at Coachman Park. To the rest of the country, it was Cinco de Mayo, but we were here to make the Mothership connection. Before there was Black Panther, George Clinton was creating an Afrofuturist mythology. He was Dr. Funkenstein. He had the “Bop Gun” and the “Flashlight”. Funkadelic infused psychedelic rock and gonzo stage shows with the funk. In so many ways, George Clinton and his extended family of musicians changed the shape of modern music. The Funko de Mayo show was also something of a retirement party for Clinton. Earlier this year, Clinton announced he would stop performing in 2019. In a statement released to Billboard magazine he said, “Anyone who has been to the shows over the past couple of years has noticed that I’ve been out front less and less.”
P-Funk hit the stage running, opening the show with one of their biggest hits, “Flashlight”. George Clinton wasn’t kidding when he said he’s spending less and less time out front. In Clearwater, Clinton was more of a conductor and cheerleader for his band than an active participant. At times, he sat on stage taking in the performance, maybe adding a line here and there, but mainly just enjoying the show.
It was an enjoyable show. Most of the night, there were a dozen or more players on stage funking it up. They hit the high points of the P-Funk catalog playing “One Nation Under a Groove”, “Atomic Dog” and of course, an epic version of “Maggot Brain”. There were some hiccups along the way. When NaKid87 took center stage, her vocals were lost in the mix. The players on stage were having fun though and that fun was infectious. George was happy, the musicians were happy and that made us in the crowd happy too.
Opening the show were a powerhouse band from New York called Miss Velvet and the Blue Wolf. The band plays neo-soul in the vein of Sharon Jones and Amy Winehouse. Miss Velvet has a powerful, gritty voice that calls to mind Stevie Nicks and Janis Joplin. Catching a rising band like this makes you glad you came early enough to see the support act.