Photography: Keith Ainsworth / arkimages.co.uk

CHIC WITH NILE RODGERS

Liverpool Music Week @ Echo Arena 26/10/17

Liverpool Music Week has gone from strength to strength since its inception in the early 2000s. Having continually grown and brought crowds from far and wide to fill the city’s venues, it seemed that the crown of Metropolitan Festival Of The Year 2016 was a more than worthy accolade for the event. Only, this year, the enterprise’s 15th anniversary, the people of Liverpool Music Week offer up a line-up that eclipses anything that has come before it. Sure enough, the announcement of the festival’s opening night show flew above and beyond anyone’s expectations of what a relatively small metropolitan festival organisation can bring to the cultural table.

The Echo Arena is packed from the floor to the top seats not long after the doors open. Queues of people and groups of glitter-adorned fans smile like children while awaiting entrance from outside. It’s been a long time since CHIC AND NILE RODGERS have played in Liverpool and it looks like plenty of people have been waiting very, very patiently.

In support tonight are the local SENSE OF SOUND SINGERS with their brand of lively disco covers sung as a choir. This lot are clearly the only reasonable support for legends such as Chic and Nile Rodgers, and they do themselves proud. With a mesh of classics spread throughout the set this lively and charismatic bunch are a refreshing introduction to the acts of the night.

It’s easy to unwittingly undermine the cultural impact of Chic and Nile Rodgers. While there is so much to be said about them and their musical legacy, so much has been done by the troupe that it would be impossible to remember it all. It’s only when you’re faced with a live history lesson that spans decades of popular music that you realise how deep that legacy goes. We’ve grown up with these people’s styles and sounds, whether we know it or not.

 

CHIC AND NILE RODGERS Image 2

That lesson happens to be playing out in front of a sold-out arena crowd tonight, and the impact is felt by all. From Chic’s own Le Freak and Good Times (which segues into the Sugarhill Gang’s Rapper’s Delight, rapped by Rodgers himself), through to David Bowie’s Just Dance, Sister Sledge’s Lost In Music and the incredible Daft Punk collaboration Get Lucky. Whoever and wherever you are, chances are that you’ve been moved either by Chic or one of Nile Rodgers’ millions of co-writes or production jobs at some point in your life. The crowd are, plainly put, ecstatic. This is not just a party, it’s one for the history books.

Rodgers and the band play unbelievably well; the tightest rhythm section and the funkiest syncopated guitar parts are played with absolute precision. Kimberly Davis and Folami’s voices soar across the room and tingle down every person’s spine. Added with that is the liveliness and clear passion for the music that is there from the outset. This is nothing but a party.

Liverpool Music Week have treated us all to this. As diverse as this crowd is, and from as many different backgrounds as everyone comes, the set ends and the crowd is united in smiles and applause. Chic give a long and drawn-out farewell to an adoring crowd as the DJs play them out. This show is one for the history books.

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