If you're a dance music fan, chances are you love at least one Nile Rodgers record. His music popularised disco, laid the foundations of hip-hop and house, then re-defined pop music in the '80s with Duran Duran, Grace Jones and David Bowie (and that's without even mentioning "Get Lucky"). His most recent iteration of Chic brings together his greatest moments in a career-spanning mega mix. Pulling together tracks he produced for acts like Sister Sledge and Duran Duran, the show's set-list would read like the ultimate disco party playlist. I can't think of another performer that has to remind the audience at the start, "We are not a covers band. We wrote and performed all of these records!"
As Chic took to the stage, the most remarkable thing was just how much Rodgers seemed to be enjoying the moment. From the off the band went big. "I'm Coming Out," "Upside Down," "He's The Greatest Dancer" and "We Are Family" all featured in the opening 15 minutes. The two female singers switched between vocal duties depending on whether they were mimicking Dianna Ross or Madonna, while the drummer did a mean David Bowie impression on "'Let's Dance," undoubtedly one of the evening's highlights. There were also cute medleys that referenced hits made from Chic samples. "Good Times" slipped into "Rappers Delight" and "Soup For One" blended with Modjo's filter-house classic, "Lady." That might sound like a hit parade, but in reality it was much more than that. Listen closely and you could hear Rodgers putting neat, improvised jazz inflections throughout all of his guitar parts. Added to that, the band were happy to go into long periods of spur-of-the-moment jamming, the highlight of which was a slap bass solo that would have made Bernard Edwards proud. They even managed to get a massive call and response going to "Freak Out." In a nutshell, Chic killed it.
Interestingly, RBMA and Lovebox had arranged support from a selection of credible DJs, the main attractions being Seth Troxler and Derrick Carter. This helped to pull a relatively young crowd to the gig. I even spotted Skream grinning and pumping his fist while Chic were on stage—perhaps unsurprising, given his recent turn toward disco. Considering Marvin Gaye once had trouble following Chic, there was little chance of the show being stolen by the guys manning the decks. Nevertheless, Carter's set was a master-class in seamless disco blends, full of classic Philly disco with heart-broken lyrics and rousing instrumentation. Troxler's set was good too—he opened with the incredibly obscure "Disco Free" by Arpadys, so you certainly couldn't accuse him of playing it safe. By this point, though, the DJ sets were little more than added bonus to what was, in no uncertain terms, Chic's show.