Monday, April 22, 2013

Gotta Have That Funk

In 1994 I saw the movie Immortal Beloved, a biography of Ludwig Van Beethoven. It was, for me, one of those movies that sticks with you for reasons other than being a good movie. It was good-ish, but I think it was pretty melodramatic and not based on a lot of facts -- but hell, I'm not even going to pretend to be a movie buff. There are lots of great blogs that review movies! But this is not one of them.

The main reason it stuck with me is because of the following interchange of dialogue:

Ludwig van Beethoven: Music is... a dreadful thing. What is it? I don't understand it. What does it mean?
Anton Felix Schindler: It - it exalts the soul.
Ludwig van Beethoven: Utter nonsense. If you hear a marching band, is your soul exalted? No, you march. If you hear a waltz, you dance. If you hear a mass, you take communion.

area.personality:  And when you hear the P-funk, you shake your ass all over Candler Park like a lunatic until you throw your back out. Yeah, it's like that, y'all.

I had never seen George Clinton and Parliament live before, but thanks to my bandmate and die-hard Parliament fan John, we sloshed through the cold and soggy terrain to get to the Sweetwater 420 Festival in time to see the show. Here we are enjoying it.

Yeah, I looked like the world's most tired Mom, and John looked like a narc, but that didn't stop us from getting down.  He doesn't understand why I kept calling him a narc, but this might clear it up:

It was an amazing show, of course, and there are like 135 people in the band, which should be a goal of every band, frankly. They did all their classics, each with a 30 minute jam tacked onto the end, every minute of which was so funkalicious that I had basically no control over my own body. They did a cover of Crazy by Gnarls Barkley (a super guily pleasure of mine back in the day and totally ripe for the covering, IMHO) slowed down and funky and sung by a chick with amazing pipes. That was a high point for sure.  Oh also George Clinton was wearing a suit and I think he got all clipped up everywhere!  Crazy!

OK, so I have some questions.  It was a free concert maybe three miles from the center of downtown ATL.  Why was it all white people?

And MUCH more importantly, why do white people not dance at concerts?

Yeah, no, I know why they don't dance at Jack Johnson or Coldplay - because that shit is painful to listen to and, if I understand what Pretend Beethoven is saying, was written for dudes to be dumped in while they are wearing khaki cargo shorts.

But Parliament?  How can you not dance?  Johnny Foos and I broke it down real hard for the whole concert.  By the end we had apparently convinced our immediate circle to at least nod harder, but that was about it.  Sigh.

As a member of Gen X, I am well aware of the pain and supremacy of self-consciousness, but the secret behind dancing at concerts is that no one cares.  Aside from whoever you bring with you, it's completely anonymous.  Half the time I'm dancing, I'm thinking, goddam I am such a good dancerSelf trainedSuper flyOh yeah.  The other half of the time I am pretty sure I look like this:

So don't be scared!  Just dance.  Ain't nobody know you got to go home and take some motrin afterwards.  It's dark, no one is looking at you, and if they are, you don't know them anyway.  And since no one dances, they are probably thinking you're a great dancer!  Maybe.  Anyway, here's some Parliament for you.

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