New Year's Eve at The Anthem
Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue
George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic, Trouble Funk
901 Wharf St SW
Washington, DC, 20024
Doors 7:30 PM / Show 9:00 PM
This event is all ages
Watch & Listen
Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue
Trombone Shorty’s new album opens with a dirge, but if you think the beloved bandleader, singer, songwriter and horn-blower born Troy Andrews came here to mourn, you got it all wrong. That bit of beautiful New Orleans soul—”Laveau Dirge No. 1,” named after one of the city’s most famous voodoo queens—shows off our host’s roots before Parking Lot Symphony branches out wildly, wonderfully, funkily across 12 diverse cuts. True to its title, this album contains multitudes of sound—from brass band blare and deep-groove funk, to bluesy beauty and hip-hop/pop swagger—and plenty of emotion all anchored, of course, by stellar playing and the idea that, even in the toughest of times, as Andrews says, “Music brings unity.”
As for why it’s taken Andrews so long to follow 2013’s Raphael Saadiq-produced Say That to Say This, the man simply says, “I didn’t realize so much time passed. Some artists don’t work until they put a record out but I never stopped going.” Truly. In the last four years, Andrews banked his fifth White House gig; backed Macklemore and Madonna at the Grammys; played on albums by She & Him, Zac Brown, Dierks Bentley, and Mark Ronson; opened tours for Daryl Hall & John Oates and Red Hot Chili Peppers; appeared in Foo Fighters’ Sonic Highways documentary series; voiced the iconic sound of the adult characters in The Peanuts Movie; inherited the esteemed annual fest-closing set at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in the tradition of Crescent City greats like the Neville Brothers and Professor Longhair; and released Trombone Shorty, a children’s book about his life that was named a Caldecott Honor Book in 2016.
Adding to that legacy, his Blue Note Records debut Parking Lot Symphony finds Andrews teamed with Grammy-nominated producer Chris Seefried (Andra Day, Fitz and the Tantrums) and an unexpected array of cowriters and players including members of Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, The Meters, Better Than Ezra, and Dumpstaphunk. Considering Andrews’ relentless schedule, it’s all the more surprising that this LP began with him in a room, all alone, back in New Orleans.
“I had two weeks at home so I went to the studio and set up the ‘playground,'” he recalls. “I had everything in a circle: tuba, trombone, trumpet, keyboard, Fender Rhodes, Wurly, B3 organ, guitar, bass, drums—and me buried in the middle.” He recorded an album’s worth of ideas and then, well, walked away for a year. Not because he was too busy, but because he wanted to hit the road and see how the music changed on him. When Andrews came back with a full band, the songs came to life.
Take the album’s two covers, a pair of NOLA deep cuts: there’s “Here Comes the Girls,” a 1970 Allen Toussaint song originally recorded by Ernie K-Doe that here (with Ivan Neville on piano) sounds bawdy and regal, like something from a current Bruno Mars album; and The Meters’ lovesick “It Ain’t No Use,” which swirls a vintage R&B vibe with resonant choir vocals and upbeat guitar from The Meters’ Leo Nocentelli himself to transport the listener to the center of the jumpingest jazz-soul concert hall that never was.
The story there is almost too good. The session band—guitarist Pete Murano, sax men Dan Oestreicher and BK Jackson, and drummer Joey Peebles with Dumpstaphunk’s Tony Hall in for Orleans Avenue bassist Mike Bass-Bailey—were in the studio to lay down “It Ain’t No Use.” Hall even had the vintage acoustic he bought from Nocentelli years ago, which was used on the original Meters session. On the way to the bathroom, Andrews saw Nocentelli coming out of a different tracking room: it was meant to be.
But that’s not unusual for a man raised in one of the Tremé’s most musical families. Andrews got his name when he picked up his instrument at four (“My parents pushed me toward trombone because they didn’t need another trumpet player,” he laughs). By eight, he led his own band in parades, halls and even bars: “They’d have to lock the door so the police couldn’t come in.” Promoters would try to hand money to his older cousins, but they’d kindly redirect them to the boy. In his teens, Andrews played shows abroad with the Neville Brothers. Fresh out of high school (New Orleans Center for Creative Arts) he joined Lenny Kravitz’ band.
Across that time, three Trombone Shorty albums and many collaborations since, Andrews nurtured a voracious appetite for all types of music—a phenomenon on fluid display with Parking Lot Symphony. On “Familiar,” co-written by Aloe Blacc, they practically mint a new genre (trap-funk?) while Andrews channels his inner R. Kelly to spit game at an old flame. Meanwhile, the instrumental “Tripped Out Slim” (the nickname of a family friend who recently passed) bends echoes of the Pink Panther theme into something fit for James Brown to strut to. And if you listen closely to “Where It At?,” written with Better Than Ezra’s Kevin Griffin, you may even hear a little Y2K pop. “I know it wasn’t cool to listen to *NSYNC or Britney Spears in high school,” says Andrews, “but those bass lines and melodies are funky.” They pair astonishingly well with all the Earth, Wind & Fire that bubbles beneath these songs.
It’s worth noting that Andrews’ vocals sound better than ever (he credits Seefried for that), because Parking Lot Symphony might be the man’s most heartfelt offering yet. The breezy title track, which Andrews wrote with Alex Ebert (Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros), is as much about walking the Tremé, being uplifted by the music that seems to seep from every surface, as it is about moving on from a broken heart. And the shuffling, bluesy “No Good Time” reminds us, with a world-weary smile, that “nobody never learned nothin’ from no good time.”
But Andrews is clear that this isn’t some kind of breakup record. “It’s a life record,” he says, “about prevailing no matter what type of roadblock is in front of you.” That message is clearest on “Dirty Water,” where over an easy groove, Andrews adopts a soft falsetto to address just about anyone going through it—personal, political, whatever. “There’s a lot of hope turning to doubt,” he coos. “I’ve got something to say to them / You don’t know what you’re talking about / When you believe in love, it all works out.” Amen. Now let the horns play us out.
George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic
Recording both as Parliament and Funkadelic, George Clinton revolutionized R&B during the ’70s, twisting soul music into funk by adding influences from several late-’60s acid heroes: Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa, and Sly Stone.
The Parliament/Funkadelicmachine ruled black music during the ’70s, capturing over 40
R&B hit singles (including three number ones) and recording three platinum albums. Born in Kannapolis, NC, on July 22, 1941, Clinton became interested in doo wop while living in New Jersey during the early ’50s. . Basing his group on Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers, Clinton formed The Parliaments in 1955, rehearsing in the back room of a Plainfield barbershop where he straightened hair. The Parliaments released only two singles during the next ten years, but frequent trips to Detroit during the mid-’60s – where Clinton began working as a songwriter and producer – eventually paid off their investment.
The Parliaments finally had a hit with the 1967 single “(I Wanna) Testify” for the Detroit- based Revilot Records, but the label ran into trouble and Clinton refused to record any new material. Instead of waiting for a settlement, Clinton decided to record the same band under a new name: Funkadelic. Founded in 1968, the group began life as a smoke screen, claiming as its only members the Parliaments’ backing but in truth including
Clinton and the rest of the former Parliaments lineup. Revilot folded not long after, with the label’s existing contracts sold to Atlantic; Clinton, however, decided to abandon the Parliaments name rather than record for the major label.
By 1970, George Clinton had regained the rights to The Parliaments name: he then signed the entire Funkadelic lineup toInvictus Records as Parliament. The group released one album – 1970′s Osmium – and scored a number 30 hit, “The Breakdown,” on the R&B charts in 1971. With Funkadelic firing on all cylinders, however, Clinton decided to discontinue Parliament(the name, not the band) for the time being.
Inspired by Motown‘s assembly line of sound, George Clinton gradually put together a collective of over 50 musicians and recorded the ensemble during the ’70s both
as Parliament and Funkadelic. While Funkadelic pursued band-format psychedelic rock,Parliament engaged in a funk free-for-all, blending influences from the godfathers (James Brown and Sly Stone) with freaky costumes and themes inspired by ’60s acid
culture and science fiction. From its 1970 inception until Clinton’s dissolving ofParliament in 1980, Clinton hit the R&B Top Ten several times but truly excelled in
two other areas: large-selling, effective album statements and the most dazzling, extravagant live show in the business. In an era when Philly soul continued the slick sounds of establishment-approved R&B, Parliament / Funkadelic scared off more white listeners than it courted. (Ironically, today Clinton’s audiences are a cross-cultural mix of music lovers from 8 to 80.)
1978-79 was the most successful year in Parliament/Funkadelic history: Parliament hit the charts first with “Flash Light,” P-Funk’s first R&B number one. “Aqua Boogie” would
hit number one as well late in the year, but Funkadelic‘s title track to “One Nation Under a Groove” spent six weeks at the top spot on the R&B charts during the summer. The album, which reflected a growing consistency in styles
between Parliament and Funkadelic, became the first Funkadelic LP to reach platinum (the same year that Parliament‘s “Funkentelechy Vs. the Placebo Syndrome” did the same). In 1979, Funkadelic‘s “(Not Just) Knee Deep” hit number one as well, and its album (“Uncle Jam Wants You”) also reached platinum status.
During 1980, Clinton began to be weighed down by legal difficulties arising
from Polygram‘s acquisition of Parliament‘s label,Casablanca. Jettisoning both
the Parliament and Funkadelic names (but not the musicians), Clinton began his solo career with 1982′s “Computer Games”. Several months later, Clinton’s “Atomic Dog” hit number one on the R&B charts; it stayed at the top spot for four weeks, but only managed number 101 on the pop charts. Clinton stayed on Capitol for three more
years, releasing three studio albums and frequently charting singles in the R&B Top 40. Clinton and many former Parliament/Funkadelic members continued to tour and record throughout the ’80s as the P-Funk All Stars, but the decade’s disdain of everything to do with the ’70s – especially the sound of disco – resulted in critical and commercial neglect for the world’s biggest funk band, one which in part had spawned dance music..
During much of the three-year period from 1986 to 1989, Clinton became embroiled in legal difficulties (resulting from the myriad royalty problems latent during the ’70s with recordings of over 40 musicians for four labels under three names). Also problematic
during the latter half of the ’80s was Clinton’s disintegrating reputation as a true forefather of rock; by the end of the decade, however, a generation of rappers reared on P-Funk were beginning to name check him.
The early ’90s saw the rise of funk-inspired rap (courtesy of Digital Underground, Dr. Dre, and Warren G.) and funk rock (Primusand Red Hot Chili Peppers) that re- established the status of Clinton & co. as one of the most important forces in the recent
history of black music. Clinton’s music became the soundtrack for the rap movement, as artists from MC Hammer, to LL Cool J to Snoop Doggy Dogg depended heavily on the infectious groove of Clinton productions as the foundation of their recordings.
Along with the renewed notoriety and respect, Clinton’s visibility and presence became familiar to a wider audience thanks to appearances in movies “The Night Before”, “House Party”, “PCU”, and “Good Burger”, hosting the HBO original series “Cosmic Slop”, and doing commercials for Apple computers, Nike, and Rio Mp3 players. Clinton
also composed the theme songs for popular TV programs “The Tracey Ulman Show” and “The PJs”.
Clinton has received a Grammy, a Dove (gospel) , and an MTV music video awards, and has been recognized by BMI, the NAACP Image Awards, and Motown Alumni Association for lifetime achievement. Clinton’s Partliament/Funkadelic was inducted into theRock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997.
In reviewing Clinton’s illustrious career and success as a producer / writer/ performer, perhaps his greatest achievement stemmed from his relentless dedication to funk as a musical form. Funk as a musical style had been around for what seems like forever, deeply rooted in the music traditions of New Orleans and the Blues of the Deep South.
Following the lead – and commercial success – of James Brown and Sly Stone, Clinton took Funk to new heights, blending elements of Jazz, Rock, Pop, Classical and even Gospel into his productions, eventually developing a unique and easily identifiable style affectionately called “Pfunk.” Clinton’s inspiration, dedication and determination resulted in the elevation of “funk” music to complete recognition and acceptance as a true genre in and of itself.
On February 16th, 2012 George Clinton added to his list of accomplishments a Honorary Doctorate of Music from the renowed Berklee College of Music.
Miles off the radar of popular music during the early ‘80s, Trouble Funk energized their D.C. home with the sound of go-go music, an uproarious blend of swinging, up-tempo ‘70s funk and a ‘60s style horn section. The band formed in 1978, and the lineup coalesced around drummer Emmet Nixon, percussionists Mack Carey and Timothius Davis, guitarist Chester Davis, bassist Tony Fisher, trombone players Gerald and Robert Reed, trumpeter Taylor Reed, keyboard player James Avery, and saxophonist David Rudd. Trouble Funk earned a loyal fan base for their notoriously can’t-miss live act, a raw, party friendly version of dance and funk with few songs but plenty of extensive jams organized around audience-friendly vocal tags and call-out hooks. The first go-go record released outside of D.C., Trouble Funk’s 1982 debut “Drop the Bomb” appeared on Sugar Hill, the same label then championing early hip-hop. (The two styles had very similar origins, in the break beat culture of urban block parties.) Also in 1982 they released a single “So Early In The Moring” on D.E.T.T. Records, later reissued on diverse labels as 2.13.61 & Tuff City.
Trouble Funk sometimes shared the stage with hardcore punk bands of the day such as Minor Threat and the Big Boys. This decision was made by promoters. Unsurprisingly, go-go heads didn’t shave down to Mohawks and thus ended the failed marriage of the two scenes. Though the band’s second album, “In Times of Trouble”, appeared only on the local label D.E.T.T., Trouble Funk earned national distribution with a prescient concert record, “1985’s Saturday Night (Live from Washington, D.C.)”, released through Island. After taking the live act nationwide and even worldwide (they played the 1986 Montreux Jazz Festival), Trouble Funk returned in 1987 with the boundary breaking “Trouble Over Here, Trouble Over There”, featuring sympathetic heads like Bootsy Collins and Kurtis Blow. It was a bit of a stylistic misstep, however, Island released the group from its contract. Their song “Pump Me Up” has been sampled by many other artists and is featured in Style Wars and the fictional R&B radio station Wildstyle in the game Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. Also, the song “Pump Me Up” was sampled in Dimple D’s one hit wonder “Sucker DJ” which went to #1 in Australia.
Keyboard player Robert “Syke Dyke” Reed passed away at aged 50 on April 13, 2008 from pancreatic cancer.
Undeterred, Trouble Funk kept on grooving around the city, playing often, even into the ‘90s and 2000’s, for nostalgic party goers as well as the musically curious. Today, Trouble Funk continues to remain a figure on the Washington D.C. area live music scene and you can catch them doing their known tunes as well as some new.
$75.00 - $125.00
Super Excellent Seats are non-transferable. The ID of the person attending must match the purchaser’s name, which will be printed on the ticket face.