20th March 2015
Nile Rodgers returns to London for two sold out nights at The Roundhouse launching the first Chic Single in 27 years and playing his extensive back catalogue. Louder Than War’s Craig Chaligne reviews.
Nile Rodgers choose London to launch the first CHIC single in 27 years. He has been enjoying a huge career resurgence over the past two years following his collaboration with Daft Punk on their song “I Get Lucky”. When the band was having trouble filling up The Forum in Kentish Town in 2009, they’re playing the Roundhouse for 2 nights with a substantial ticket price increase (thanks Mr promoter). He remains the only original member from the 70’s line-up as his friend and musical foil Bernard Edwards died of pneumonia in Japan in 1996. Nevertheless, it’s a well deserved recognition for Rodgers and you could see he was proud to present Chic’s new video for their single “I’ll Be There” before the show started.
Chic’s show mixes highlights from their albums with the most well known songs produced and written for other artists. Starting with “Everybody Dance” and “Dance, Dance, Dance” from Chic’s début album followed by “I Want Your Love” from the “C’est Chic” LP, Nile Rodgers then led his 8 piece band into “I’m Coming Out” and “Upside Down”, two songs that he co-wrote and produced with Bernard Edwards for Diana Ross’s 1980 album “Diana”. Edwards and Rodgers were hot property at the tail-end of the seventies and the setlist featured numerous tracks from the two albums they wrote and produced for Sister Sledge (“He’s The Greatest Dancer”, “We are Family”, “Lost In Music”, “Thinking Of You”). When you see the number of hits they wrote for other people, you realize that record companies must have been writing them out blank checks for them to work with their artists. The story of how Claude Carrere the French producer kept upping the offer for him to produce Sheila is one example of the golden period Rodgers and Edwards were going through at that time. Their continued success till the mid eighties was further illustrated by versions of David Bowie’s “Lets Dance”, Duran Duran’s “Notorious” and Madonna’s “Like A Virgin”. Despite all these hits, it was the final part of the show which the killer pairing of “Le Freak” and “Good Times” that got the whole venue on its feet.
All words by Craig Chaligne. More from Craig can be found at his Author Archive.