CHIC - Review :: The Ritz, Manchester

May 30, 2013 — by Dave Simpson

Nile Rodgers with his Hitmaker on stage at Chic's Manchester gig. Photograph: Andrew Benge/Redferns via Getty Images

In the past two years, Chic's Nile Rodgers has beaten prostate cancer, written his autobiography and collaborated with Daft Punk. No wonder he walks on with a smile that never leaves his face all night. "I just got a text telling me that we were No 1 in 79 countries," he beams.

The men who co-founded Chic with him – Bernard Edwards and Tony Thompson – are no longer with us, but Rodgers is also doing his utmost to keep the Chic name in the headlines and the music they made together alive: it is the cornerstone of so much of today's pop, and R&B, sampled almost continuously. This sweaty, sold-out gig feels like being blasted into the golden age of disco, with a nine-piece band in white outfits and glamorous frontwomen who sing with sensuality and soul.

Rodgers's heavenly jukebox of a setlist kicks off with the classics Everybody Dance, I Want Your Love and Dance, Dance Dance , before taking in the music the Chic Organisation made with other musicians. David Bowie's Let's Dance, Sister Sledge's Lost in Music and Diana Ross's I'm Coming Out are united by the 60-year-old bandleader's choppy, funky Hitmaker guitar, which never lets up once.

The joyous atmosphere among the multiracial, multigenerational crowd further contributes to what is surely the party gig of the year. Johnny Marr comes on for Le Freak. Good Times segues into the first-ever rap hit, built around its groove – Sugarhill Gang's Rappers Delight – and back again. Get Lucky is only played over the PA, but with Rodgers acting as cheerleader as the crowd sing the words, he looks like a man relishing every precious second on the stage, and on the planet.


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Category: PRESS