Back To Chic
Long sentence. Would you ever think it was possible to hear Bowie’s ‘Let’s Dance’, Daft Punk’s ‘Get Lucky’, Madonna’s ‘Like A Virgin’, Diana Ross’ ‘I’m Coming Out’ and Sister Sledge’s ‘We Are Family’ performed by their original composer all in the one performance. It happened.
People take a narrow focus when it comes to crediting pop’s hits, but Nile Rodgersplayed a hand in each and every one of these all-time greats. Whether it was the whole composition, a stray rhythm figure, a coy tweak, some deft recording or just that all-important vibe – he was there. A vital element which made it happen.
Before his run as ‘80s hitmaker, Rodgers worked his own unit Chic. In their time at the top they cut ‘Good Times’, ‘I Want Your Love’, ‘Le Freak’ and a legendary run of disco hits. If any of these don’t ring familiar trust us, you’ve heard them. You know the words.
And that’s how it goes down. Nile stands centre stage head to toe in angelic white. He’s flanked by Folamiand Kimberly Davis. Each’s glamour is matched only by their musical … this outfit operates at a whole other level. Goosebumps.
Effortlessly they work the crowd there’s not so much as a pause between songs, just segue into HIT after HIT after – you get the picture. The crowd goes wild. Their music still carries the very of spark of its vitality, Chic’s still working hard.
They’re not a covers band Nile assures. He and his companions are the ones which played them in the first place. The crowd continues to swell to thousands. A few lucky dozens are invited onstage to dance as the group closes out with ‘Rapper’s Delight’. Deafening cheers tear at the eardrums. Nile Rodgers, Chic, the world-beating legend continues.
But this isn’t close to where the day began. Ready to funk? Con Brioare playin’ one last time and they’re slamming into it.
Monday might start with the feeling that it’s Bluesfest’s chill day, but Ziek and company are setting the stage alight. “Welcome to the family y’all”. He’s got the moves, he kicks, spins and somersaults without losing a breath.
This workhorse outfit power into funk and soul. They’re all given the chance to solo - synth, drums, brass and guitar. There’s an air of completion – relief mixed with euphoria – which hangs over the set. It laces their playing with an extra edge. Con Brio has given this festival their all and with expectation lifted they lift their music to ever greater levels of intensity.
Their frontman holds nothing back. Stripping down to his bare and sweating chest he elicits roars. As he’s ricocheting off invisible walls his soul falsetto punches into a squeal. He backflips twice, no three times. Outtasight!
The Wailersfollow. As they inform their audience they’re not going to talk too much today just play. All of the Bob Marley classics.
As such a long running event Bluesfest can be punishing. But a love of music keeps bringing its audience back. Hour to hour, day to day, year to year.
It’s less about buzz and sensation. Blues’ criterion is a simpler one, something more enduring. Old legends or new faces they’re all intent on tearing the stage apart. Whether it’s Boomerang Festival or mind blowers like Chic and Robert Plant, it’s about bringing together The Best. No holds barred.
Review by - Riley Fitzgerald
Photography by - Alix McKenzie