Belfast Telegraph

Chic at Belsonic: Good times are had by all with Nile Rodgers in Belfast

By Michael Conaghan

Having stolen last year's Glastonbury from creaking behemoths The Rolling Stones, Chic are now surely one of the world's top live attractions.

Their drummer Ralph Rolle described the gig as "like a religious experience", and the revivalist atmosphere was much in evidence last night, when at last the weather played ball.

Of course, Chic are the creation of the godlike genius of Nile Rodgers and his late partner Bernard Edwards, a partnership that has included production duties for the likes of David Bowie and Madonna.

Rodgers himself scored one of last summer's big hits in association with Daft Punk, and it's safe to say he is as 'in demand' as he's ever been.

Dressed in angelic white, Rodgers promised us "my whole life in music" and opened at Belsonic with a sparkling Everybody Dance – and everybody duly did.

The elements that have marked Chic out for greatness were there from the off – a tight funk rhythm underpinning great singing and close harmonies.

I Want Your Love was an early highlight powered by a sublime vocal from Kimberly Davis, proving that calling Chic disco is like calling The Beach Boys a surf group.

There is just so much more.

What they offer in abundance are great songs.

Some escaped the Chic net, like Upside Down or We Are Family (tonight the family was distinctively Sly) though Madonna's Like A Virgin suffered in comparison.

Pleasant surprise of the night was Spacer, many a lonely punk's guilty disco secret.

After a novelty piece of ambience which allowed Mr Rodgers to tune up he launched into a bluesy version of Lost In Music, the introduction as crushing as anything The Clash were doing at the time.

In truth Chic anticipated both hip hop and the clipped funk that would bring Talking Heads such kudos in the early 1980s.

Good times and the sublime bass rumbling of Le Freak remain simply imperishable.

Nile Rodgers and Chic have been reinvented from a potential nostalgia act into one of the wonders of the age.

Five stars

Belfast Telegraph


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