Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

It's a disco inferno as Nile Rodgers reheats all the hits

Nile Rodgers
Nile Rodgers

Though billed as Chic, last night's sold-out show in the UK City of Culture's Venue 2013 was all about one man: Nile Rodgers.

Following a rapturously received set at the Glastonbury festival and a collaboration with Daft Punk, the 60-year-old singer, songwriter, guitarist and producer seems to be the R&B stalwart it's OK for middle-class white folks to get into.

And as well they should – he's a legendary performer, deserving of any increase in audience he can get.

Presented in association with Ireland's electronic music festival Celtronic and the UK club night Chibuku, the Derry date saw several thousand music-lovers partying harder than they normally might on a Sunday evening.

With the setlist clearly designed with dancing in mind, you felt sorry for anyone who'd bought a seated ticket.

Since Rodgers's Chic co-founder, bassist Bernard Edwards, passed away on tour in 1996, it has been left to the guitarist to carry the flame of the band that formed in the midst of the late 1970s disco boom.

But it wasn't just group material last night.

Aside from Chic's own hits – and there have been many – Rodgers has had a phenomenally successful career, producing hit records by the likes of Madonna, Diana Ross, David Bowie and Sister Sledge.

Cleverly, he combined tracks from throughout his musical back catalogue for a non-stop, feel-good extravaganza.

You don't have to be a hardcore Chic fan to know singles like Everybody Dance, Le Freak or Good Times.

These are songs that everybody has heard blasting out from the radio, club PAs or movie soundtracks, and they sounded just as good in a live setting.

Elsewhere, covers of Madonna's Like a Virgin, Bowie's Let's Dance and a string of Sister Sledge numbers drew an equally ecstatic response.

Rodgers was the main man, but he was happy to share the limelight with his amazing band, including the excellent vocalists Kim Davis-Jones and Folami Ankoanda-Thompson.

After a couple of hours of the ensemble's living jukebox routine, there wasn't a foot in the house that hadn't been moved to dance, nor a face that wasn't grinning from ear to ear.

This was a supremely entertaining show, not to mention – considering it came from a sexagenarian who has recently beaten prostate cancer – also a hugely inspiring one.

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Spending time on your own will be rewarding. You're an extremely conscientious person who is hyperaware of your surroundings. Sometimes this sensitivity can inhibit you from doing what you really want. You're afraid of offending people with your bold ideas. Instead of repressing your instincts, obey them. If you've developed a romantic interest in someone special, make your move. Playing the aggressor will boost your confidence. Keep your conversations light and playful.More