George Clinton & Parliament/Funkadelic, the Robert Glasper Experiment, Erykah Badu
Final SXSW Live Shots
Reviewed by Thomas Fawcett, Fri., March 22, 2013
George Clinton & Parliament/Funkadelic, the Robert Glasper Experiment, Erykah BaduEmpire Automotive, March 16
After 30 minutes of funky, avant-jazz weirdness from the Robert Glasper Experiment, including a syrupy vocoder cover of Kanye and Jay-Z's "No Church in the Wild," out strode Erykah Badu in a red bowler hat and matching lipstick. "Afro Blue," from Glasper's 2012 album Black Radio, tapped into the spacey spiritualism of forerunners Sun Ra, Alice Coltrane, and Leon Thomas, while the jazz grooves of the fourpiece Experiment proved a perfect canvas for Badu's playful stylings on "Apple Tree," "Think Twice," and "You Got Me." Hard to imagine such a collaboration without the foundation of George Clinton and Parliament-Funkadelic's acid-fueled Afro-futurism. Dressed in a fedora and gray suit (!), Dr. Funkenstein declared his intent on opening salvo "P. Funk (Wants to Get Funked Up)": "We got to break it all the way down 'cause we gonna blow the roof off this mother!" The sprawling funk orchestra, bolstered by a half-dozen backup singers, did just that, holding down a 90-minute set with the foundational funk of "Flash Light," "Up for the Downstroke," and "One Nation Under a Groove." Only Mothership originals Bootsy Collins and Bernie Worrell – both in town for the Festival – didn't show up to join the fun. Texas rap legend Scarface dropped by to deliver the chorus on "Rhythm and Rhyme," and the cosmic slop of "Atomic Dog" humped earholes long after neighboring venues had closed their doors.