Three Must-See Acts This Week

George Clinton & Parliament-Funkadelic at the Independent on Sunday and Monday, Le1f at Starline Social Club on Sunday, and Tenacious D at the Fox on Monday and Tuesday.

George Clinton. Wlliam Thoren Photography

P-Funk

George Clinton & Parliament-Funkadelic

7:30 p.m., Sunday and Monday, Dec. 16-17, at The Independent. $60; theindependentsf.com

Either as a solo artist or through the Parliament-Funkadelic machine, George Clinton single-handedly changed the direction of popular music forever with his contributions to the evolution of funk and the impact his style of “P-Funk” had on countless artists who came after him. Clinton, merely a teenager at the time, formed The Parliaments in 1955, eventually scoring a hit with 1967’s “(I Wanna) Testify.” Due to complications with his record label at the time, Clinton formed a new group under the name Funkadelic, although the members of both The Parliaments and Funkadelic were virtually the same. With help from a massive ensemble of legendary musicians like keyboardist Bernie Worrell and guitarist Eddie Hazel, Clinton explored album-oriented psychedelic rock with Funkadelic and free-for-all space funk with Parliament throughout the 1970s, hitting commercial and critical peaks multiple times throughout the decade with albums like 1971’s psychedelic masterpiece Maggot Brain and 1975’s revolutionary funk opus Mothership Connection, both of which are considered to be the best of the decade. Clinton experienced a career revitalization in the early ’90s thanks to the popularity of Dr. Dre’s brand of G-Funk, with many in the industry finally recognizing the importance of Clinton’s monumental career, cemented with his induction to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1997. 

Le1f. Photo by Peter Hönnemann

Hip-hop

Le1f

7 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 16, at Starline Social Club. $15; starlinesocialclub.com

New York’s Le1f has been a dynamic force within hip-hop since his early days as a left-field beatmaker, but the rapper-producer has since taken center stage, releasing some of the most inventive material one can find within the genre. Born Khalif Diouf, he initially turned heads by producing tracks for the short-lived Das Racist, notably their hit single “Combination Pizza Hut and Taco Bell.” Diouf’s 2012 debut mixtape Dark York established Le1f as a solo artist to watch, with the catchy single “Wut” exploding online. Le1f has since become a central figure within NYC’s LGBT hip-hop scene, along with other artists like Mykki Blanco and Zebra Katz. Diouf would continue to push the sonic and lyrical boundaries within hip-hop with later releases like 2013’s Fly Zone and 2014’s Hey EP. Le1f’s 2015 debut studio album Riot Boi is a culmination of Diouf’s relentless artistry, with help from fellow envelope-pushers in the industry like SOPHIE and Dev Hynes. Le1f returned in April with a new EP, Blue Dream, a characteristically provocative 20 minutes of kinetic, horn-heavy beats and aggressive flow that gives listeners an exciting peek into the next chapter of Diouf’s career. 

 

Tenacious D

Metal

Tenacious D

7 p.m., Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 17-18, at the Fox Theater. $55; thefoxoakland.com

Kyle Gass and Jack Black, better known as Tenacious D — or perhaps “the greatest band of all time” — have returned to rock the world once again with their fourth album Post-Apocalypto and an accompanying animated series, drawn entirely by Black himself. The absurdist, metal-loving comedy-rock duo’s journey to the top is an unlikely one, but with a blend of irresistible showmanship and hilariously creative songwriting, “KG” and “JB” have honorably etched their names into the halls of rock-’n’-roll history. Having met in an acting troupe in Los Angeles during the 1980s, and becoming best friends only after not getting along, they began performing as Tenacious D in 1994. The D soon became cult favorites within L.A.’s underground comedy scene, with actor David Cross noticing them early on. (Cross would later help co-produce Tenacious D’s self-titled HBO series along with the band.) That show catapulted Tenacious D into a nationwide phenomenon by the time their 2001 self-titled debut album was released, also around the same time Black’s acting career was on its ascent. Instead of giving HBO full creative control, the pair opted to make their own movie instead, resulting in 2006’s The Pick of Destiny. Filled with vividly over-the-top lyricism, Post-Apocalypto is a hilarious concept album that hears the duo travel through a post-apocalyptic wasteland, with legitimately touching moments that are better left unspoiled.

 

View Comments