Parliament Funkadelic, Spare Parts, and Mos Scocious played the Congress Theatre
by Parker Langvardt
Chicago funk trio Mos Scocious started off George Clinton‘s “Funky Love” concert on 2/11 at the Congress Theater with a fat and loose hip-hop beat provided by their drummer, leading into a funk-rap reminiscent of 90s Beastie Boys. The rest of their impressive set included a diverse range of funk songs, drawing influence from reggae, Latin jazz, and progressive rock.
Chicago’s jazz-fusion group Spare Parts followed with spaced out instrumentals that ranged from danceable sounds similar to Lotus, to the early sounds of synthesizer pioneer Sun Ra. Their tendency toward self-indulgence and unnecessarily extended jams killed the mood after only 20 minutes into their set. Towards the end of their set, Spare Parts sedated the audience with monotonous keyboard melodies until they pulled out more lively jams based on Miike Snow‘s “Animal” and The Beatles staple, “She’s So Heavy.”
After an unusually casual set-up and sound check, the ragtag Parliament-Funkadelic crew made up of over 20 musicians, vocalists, and other characters filtered onto the stage in pig hats, zebra patterned garb, crowns, and yellow hazmat suits opening with a message from Parliament’s 1976 LP Mothership Connection:
“…We have taken control as to bring you this special show. We will return it to you as soon as you are grooving…”
The audience was quickly dancing and grooving, but one thing was missing- George Clinton’s multicolored hair. After the rest of the band had to point out his location in the sea of P-Funkers, dancer Sir Nose responded to Clinton’s shaved head and red beret with a large green sign stating “FUCK GEORGE.” Clinton then proclaimed that the clock had turned to 4:20, and his aptly named granddaughter Sativa Diva rapped a set of songs reflecting her name while George scanned the audience for someone willing to share. The rest of their set comprised of a variety of Clinton-produced hits such as “The Atomic Dog,” popular yet blandly performed songs like “Flash Light,” and a handful of other funk jams from Parliament’s extensive career.