George Clinton says farewell to the Mothership, Wu Tang Returns to 36 Chambers + SugarHill Gang Celebrates 40 Years & more (Oct/2019)

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George Clinton & Parliament/Funkadelic (Farewell Tour) - August 24th - The Bomb Factory - Dallas, TX

George Clinton did not seem at all like a man on the verge of retiring from the road as he gave up the funk with the latest edition of Parliament-Funkadelic on what is being advertised on Clinton's final tour. The music & even the band will live on without him he assures & if this show is any indication, I can't imagine it ever stopping.

Clitnon sat down on occasion. He's 78 & shit, they didn't even go on till well after midnight, hell I was ready to sit down. That is until the party started & when a P-Funk Party starts it doesn't stop until you do.

 

The show itself has great meaning for us - This was my wife & I's first date in this very building 2 & half years ago. So much has transpired in the short amount of time & we were ready to celebrate.
urrounded by longtime members of the P-Funk All-Stars and new blood, including a few of his grandkids, on a stage that was crowded at times with more than 15 singers and musicians including DeWayne "Blackbyrd" McKnight a longtime fixture of the P-Funk universe tearing it up on the epic guitar lead that was Maggot Brain & more.

The funk legend playfully flirted with women in the audience, many of whom were brought on that already-crowded stage as P-Funk took the party atmosphere to the next level, following Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof Off the Sucker) & Night of the Thumpasorus Peoples & more

This tour feels like a victory lap for a man who truly revolutionized the culture. Funkadelic isn't just a band name; it's a blueprint for blurring the lines between genres and bringing the people together as one.

Setlist:

Dog Star (Fly On) 

Funkadelic Set 

Get Off Your Ass and Jam
Pole Power 
Meow Meow 
Get Low 
Super Stupid
One Nation Under a Groove 
(Not Just) Knee Deep 

Parliament Set 

Flash Light
Aqua Boogie (A Psychoalphadiscobetabioaquadoloop) 
P. Funk (Wants to Get Funked Up) 
Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof Off the Sucker)
Night of the Thumpasorus Peoples 
Mothership Connection (Star Child)
Up for the Down Stroke 

Encore: 

Atomic Dog 
Ain't No Party Like a P-Funk Party

 

The man was clearly having too much fun to say goodbye & if this is the end for Brother George, he deserves his rest & our eternal respect & gratitude.

 

The SugarHill Gang Celebrates 40 Years of Hip-Hop w/ The Furious Five & More - August 30th - Gas Monkey Live - Dallas, TX

This will take a bit of unpacking: As a life-long fan & student of Hip-Hop, how could I resist the originators right? I actually saw The SugarHill Gang in Austin at SXSW almost 20 years ago in the most unsuspecting of circumstances (that also involved a funny story regarding Damon Albarn & an impatient bartender but that's a tale for another time).  

Sugarhill Gang is celebrating the 40th anniversary of their iconic hit ‘Rapper’s Delight’ which sold over eight million copies since it came out in 1979. I had to be here for this right? But I wasn't sure what time they were going on & I'm not 19 anymore so I don't have the time (or the patience) to get there 3 hours before they go on. I gotta get in & get out & that's what I planned to do on this night but this venue often doesn't make the kind of info necessary to do such things available as often that would be ideal. So I arrive, feeling like I was way too early, & that was only confirmed by the nice girl at the Will Call window (who was kind enough to let me photograph the set times:)

 

Yup I was about 90 mins early - But man I had a good parking spot and had already eaten so I thought, "Ill just chill here in the car, catch up on messages" etc. Weren't very many cars in the parking lot so I was sure I wasn't missing anything inside. Suddenly my attention is forced to notice the blaring siren of an ambulance pulling into the parking lot and rounding the back of the venue. I'm not jaded to ignore a tragedy so trust me when I say that it didn't appear my attention to it was needed 30 secs after it was given. In a flash, the 90 mins had ended & the ambulance seemed to be long gone as well, when I loaded my camera & headed inside.

Once in, it was deafening how empty the place was, easily less than a 100 people in a venue that can hold 3,000. I was standing there with appeared to be the only other photographer when I struck up a conversation with him. I'm as social as they come but normally the conversations I'm forced to have with other photographers at live events is excruciating. It parallels schoolyard one-upmanships with (usually) men I wouldn't let in my house, so it was refreshing the meet this dude whose Instagram handle is BurphDate Lasagna which as I learned is a tribute of sort to his mother who no matter how poor or old, would always make lasagna for her children on her birthday. If that doesn't sound heart wrenching beautiful a) Check your pulse & b) You should hear him tell it.

So rare to connect with anybody these days but especially a complete stranger & for whatever reason we just really bonded and small talk led to real & meaningful conversations & that's how I was able to get to hear that story that touched me so much I couldn't wait to write about it & share it with my own family. Cheers to you my friend. 

Now as much as I was enjoying chatting with BL, it did start to occur to me that man, quite a bit of time has passed & what the hell was going on???
That's when BL informed me that he was in fact there as a hired videographer for the previous opener & that ambulance I had heard? Well it was for one of those guys who sadly had somehow broken their freaking leg during their set (Note to self: Never miss Cure For Paranoia ever again). I asked BL if he was here when it happened & he said no as he also had just arrived.

Finally after another large chunk of time passes, the show finally begins:

The Sugarhill Gang is made up of original members Wonder Mike (Michael Wright) & Master Gee (Guy O’Brien) as sadly Big Bank Hank (Henry Jackson) passed away at age 57 in 2014 due to complications from cancer. 

Now I was a bit confused as it was supposed to be The Furious Five (minus leader GrandMaster Flash) but now we went straight to Sugarhill so I was thinking that with all the ambulance shenanigans that somehow the FF were not gonna get to play due to time constraints.  However I quickly learned (much to my delight) that to mark the 40th anniversary along with fellow Hip Hop architects Grandmaster Melle Mel and Scorpio of The Furious 5, they have joined forces to form a supergroup. This is a hugely significant event in Hip Hop culture, these two groups put the genre on the map. 

Grandmaster Melle Mel and Scorpio, along with fellow MCs The Creole Kidd, Keith Cowboy, and Rahiem, have created some of the genre’s most iconic songs, including platinum selling classic ‘The Message’, the first Hip Hop group to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Anti-drug song ‘White Lines (Don’t Do It) was covered by mega new wave band Duran Duran in 1995 & hits like ‘Beat Street’ and ‘Step Off’ have become genre defining classics. 

Ok great, but how was THIS show? - The shame of my lack of trust in their abilities to wow us poured over me within the first ten seconds of their set, they KILLED. From the get-go the SHG members Master Gee and Hen Dogg were in high intensity at its best, bringing no cheesy clichés, just pure slick values. Even Hen Dogg pulled off his top hat, shades, tracksuit and cane get-up. Their coolness was paired beautifully with their reflective jokes on their age and the journey they’ve been on to get to the now. 

Melle Mel didn’t miss the chance to spread a positive message either, commenting on the quality and meaningfulness of their lyrics: “We ain’t here to talk about drugs and how many people we’ve shot.” Nor did he neglect his opportunity to show off his muscular physique, which was humbling as this dude is much better shape than I & he's could easily be my dad haha

 

 

Setlist:

8th Wonder 
It's Nasty (Genius of Love) 
Ain't Nothin' But A Party 
Livin' in the Fast Lane

Furious Five Set:

Freedom 
Beat Street Breakown 
King of The Streets 
Superappin' 
White Lines (Don't Don't Do It) 
The Message 

Encore: 

Jump Around / Apache
Rapper's Delight

In true hip-hop style, to prove that 40 years later, their music is just as vital and worthy as it was back then, stamping out any doubts that legendary performers could live on in such an honest, sparkling, smooth form.

 

Wu-Tang Clan: Return To 36 Chambers - October 4th - The Bomb Factory - Dallas, TX

It is no broad boast to call “Enter the Wu (36 Chambers)” — the first album from the Staten Island hip-hop collective Wu-Tang Clan — one of the most powerful and influential debuts of the last century. 

From its incendiary 1993 start, Wu-Tang Clan had an auteur’s cinematic touch (credit producer and film fan RZA) and an aggressive rawness that, when mixed with the rap ensemble’s superhero-inspired takes on martial-arts movies and the art of war, was unique. 

Add to that a street vibe that miles away from the rap that was popular at the time  — which ranged from the jazzy optimism of De La Soul and Digable Planets to Dr. Dre and Snoop’s smooth West Coast G-funk — and Wu-Tang Clan was, as they often say, nothing to f— with. And it was that hard-edged debut that Wu-Tang Clan was celebrating for the 25th anniversary of that landmark album.

Here, original Wu members RZA, Method Man, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, Inspectah Deck, Master Killa, GZA and U-God, with auxiliary members Cappadonna & DJ Mathematics performed a happily sloppy but no less incisive version of their debut album, along with multiple other group and solo tracks. 

 

Amazingly they were all here! haha I've seen Wu Tang shows in the past were their was always at least one missing (& other cases where far more than one).
Ol’ Dirty Bastard was represented onstage by his son named, naturally enough, Young Dirty Bastard who aptly took on tracks that featured his dad, such as “Shimmy Shimmy Ya” and “Got Your Money.” YDB’s growling raps and lurching stage moves proved that the Wu fruit had not fallen far from the tree. 

The group members staggered their stage entrances, starting with a throbbing, menacing “Bring da Ruckus.” By their third track, however — “Clan In Da Front” bumped up against “Wu-Tang 7th Chamber” — the ensemble was in full flower and full flow. With its layered raps, cackles, barks and shouts of “Wu!,” their a chorus of chaos nestled against slamming stammering beats. To go with its punkish verbal energy, the Wu’s staging was a fast mess of constant motion, with each man bouncing before or behind the other.  Often times RZA or any other member would come to the front of the stage & start dousing the crowd with champagne. They were definitely ready to party. And so was the crowd as this place was packed so far to the gills that at times not only was it uncomfortable but even perhaps unsafe.

Method and Raekwon were the most vocally commanding members of the group at this show, with RZA and Ghostface the most subdued. But still, audiences members could easily single out the nuances of each man’s voice during their turns or verses at the mic. Cappadonna’s hyper-quick verse during Ghostface’s “Winter Warz” and the flighty fight songs between Masta Killa and Ghost — such as “Duel of the Iron Mic” and “4th Chamber” — allowed each actor a dramatic, angry soliloquy. 

Still, a united Wu-Tang Clan is always better than its separate parts — in fact, what truly came through during this set is that Wu-Tang is as much a family as it is a group. 

“How often do you get the full Wu-Tang together?” asked Method Man. 

Not enough.

Setlist:

36 Chambers Set:

Bring da Ruckus 
Shame on a Nigga 
Clan in da Front 
7th Chamber 
Can It Be All So Simple 
Da Mystery of Chessboxin' 
Wu-Tang Clan Ain't Nuthing ta F' Wit 
C.R.E.A.M. 
Method Man
Protect Ya Neck 
Tearz
7th Chamber Part II
Conclusion 

Run (Cappadonna song) 
Reunited 
Severe Punishment 
Duel of the Iron Mic (GZA/Genius) 
Ice Cream (Raekwon song) 
4th Chamber (GZA/Genius song) 

ODB Tribute

Shimmy Shimmy Ya 
Got Your Money 
Brooklyn Zoo 

Encore:

Gravel Pit
Triumph
C.R.E.A.M (reprise)

 

Photos -

Roy Turner
 

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