THE SPACE FUNK
It takes great emotional and physical energy to call the mothership to the room at P-Funk shows. But, sometimes, when least anticipated, the mothership swings down like a chariot at the moment of collective release — THE RAPTURE. It may only last an hour or two at the club, but our timeless journey takes us all the way back to Egypt where we reactivate the pyramid of power and the earth is once again a cosmic library of the myriad creations of this Solar Body, of these acts of will, of the free groove of an extremely funky Divine power. All of this at a concert? Is it truly possible? P-funk answers back, drenched in reverband sweat: we may only call the mothership in earnestness, only after we’ve suspended our disbelief.
The first P-Funk UFO mothership landing (1976)
Janelle Monae is the current Q.U.E.E.N. of this theatrical tradition (as well as a direct descendent of Prince, the original breaker of the chains of sexual identity). Her ‘musical weapons program’ sounds dangerous, huh? Monae’s movement is starting to scare some of the onlookers, to be sure.
This is thrilling and immersive theater. When we saw her at the Apollo a few years back (fixed up and looking sharp in our black and white DUH), we were handed pamphlets with a series of guidelines for droids. The second Monae took the mic, she immediately rearranged the rules of space to suit her mission. New rules: assigned seating is meaningless. If you’re gonna dance apocalyptic with me, get to the front of the room NOW.
Janelle Monae Dancing Apocalyptic on David Letterman’s desk: