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George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic @ The Ardmore Music Hall with Nik Greeley & The Operators.

December 2, 2015

11.27.15_JUMP_PFunk_Ardmore_19Text and images by Darragh Dandurand.

By 8 pm last Friday, The Ardmore Music Hall was packed for a sold out jam session/variety show brought to the Main Line by the godfather of funk.

Philly’s Nik Greeley & The Operators opened the night right with an hour-long set. Greeley writhed around on stage, dropped down to his knees and wailed into the mic with eyes shut tight. Soaking wet in his own sweat, he jumped off the stage and wound his way through the stuffy crowd, eventually circling back to the band. Less than halfway through, he threw his blazer off to the side, declaring that it was time to celebrate rock-god Jimi Hendrix’s birthday with a few covers. Greeley performing his own song, “Gypsy Blues,” however, was the was the best part of the set.

The floors were already sticky from spilled drinks by the time George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic finally danced onto the stage. The elevated platform seemed too small because of all the equipment and props, yet the background singers casually danced through the cables to make it into position. Around 20 musicians and performers traded spaces over the two hour show, with an encore lasting about 60 minutes.

George Clinton, dressed to impress in a shimmering, silver suit and gaudy sunglasses, was the master of ceremonies. He channeled 1975 with a setlist consisting mostly of jams from Mothership Connection, and also covered Hendrix during the show. Every song ran into the next seamlessly, without a beat in between or a break in the groove. Clinton continuously walked between the edge of the stage and a chair placed farther back. When he sat down to take a breather, he stared out like a proud dad, letting the show unfold.

Original members of Parliament Funkadelic were complemented by new faces – younger artists looking for a start and family members wanting a good story. The carnival that transformed The Ardmore Music Hall featured a sexy kitten, clad in pleather, fishnets, hotpants and a pair of cat ears, meowing out to the audience. Rappers, hype-men, Clinton’s step-son and a rotating cast of characters all graced the stage as well, along with P-Funk’s iconic space pimp.

The latter made his way on stage shirtless, except for a fuzzy, white, floor-length cloak, with bell bottoms and a wide-rimmed hat to match. He contorted his body and gyrated over the adoring crowd, even inviting a deliriously excited middle-aged woman to the stage so that he could make mock-love to her, all while Clinton looked on.

They played hits like “Give Up the Funk,” “Supergroovalisticprosifunkstication” and “Flashlight,” with the songs melting like butter out of the instruments.

At one point, Clinton yelled at the crowd, “Get off your ass and jam!”

And everyone did.

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