George Clinton, Chris Tomlin, and Neon Indian All in Pittsburgh Concerts Tonight (Sat., 11/14/15)

1) George Clinton has been on a musical journey of exploration for many years. He started out in a doo-wop group called The Parliaments, modeled after Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers, while working in a hair salon. Then he became a writer, arranger, and producer for Motown Records before working for other Detroit musical companies. As the leader of Parliament- Funkadelic, he was one of the top innovators of funk music, along with James Brown and Sly Stone. Combining music like that of Brown, Stone, Cream, Jimi Hendrix, and others with different sounds and lyrical arrangements and a big dose of funky bass and drums, Clinton came up with an outline for his sound. This led to massive success for him in the 70’s with “Give Up the Funk (Tear the Roof Off the Sucker)” and “Flash Light,” among others.

It would also be remiss if Clinton’s creativity with shows, lyrics, titles, and costumes were not mentioned. He even had a spaceship he called his Mothership that descended to the stage at concerts. Parliment-Funkadelic also had an album called The Clones of Dr. Funkenstein, which later spawned the Clinton-produced female funk group The Brides of Funkenstein. His concerts are fun events. Clinton has been primarily a solo artist since the ’80’s but periodically collaborates with others. Clinton is touring behind his latest release, 2014s first-ya-gotta-shake-the-gate. Doors open at 7 p.m. Stage AE, 400 North Shore Dr., North Shore.


2) Can Chris Tomlin dunk? He can definitely go vertical, and he dashes and leaps about the stage as if he’s running a full-court press—wait, wait, now he’s doing jumping jacks!—and if you should ask him where he gets his energy, well, you know what he’d tell you. Tomlin is one of the top artists in Christian popular music, if not the top. (But again, if you were to ask him who’s really Number One, you know what he’d say.) Tomlin has received a Grammy Award plus an amazing 19 Dove Awards within the Christian music industry, including the Dove for Songwriter of the Year in 2014. And, given that many songs he’s written are used in churches, it has been estimated that he might be the most sung songwriter in the world. He’s bringing his high-energy touring band to Consol Energy Center, with special guests Rend Collective from Northern Ireland. 7 p.m. 1001 Fifth Ave., Uptown. (MV)


3) VEGA INTL. Night School is the first Neon Indian studio album since 2011’s Era Extraña. In that four-year gap, Neon Indian has made the shift from chillwave to New Wave, from shoegaze to “get on your red shoes and dance the blues.” Just listen to the new single, “Annie.” It has plenty of the lamentation to denied love that marked his 2011 single, “Polish Girl,” but with a little more kick. The genre shift has to do with Alan Palomo, the man behind the beats, taking a cue from a former project of his: VEGA. One need only look at the title of the new Neon Indian album to see VEGA’s influence. Palomo was born in Monterrey, Mexico. Neon Indian, in Denton, Texas, where Palomo attended University of North Texas. He counts Jimmy Fallon as a fan; Neon Indian has appeared multiple times on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” and “The Tonight Show.” When Palomo performs live, a supporting band joins him, as will be the case for his show at Mr. Smalls. Special guests are Ennui and Explorer Tapes. 8:30 p.m. 400 Lincoln Ave., Millvale. (CM)

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Rick Handler

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