Gig Review By Frances Winston
Nile Rodgers & Chic at Malahide Castle, on 16th June 2018
Chic have firmly established themselves as a summer festival favourite over the past few years, and the sumptuous settings of Malahide Castle were perfect surroundings to chill out to their brand of pop funk.
If you think you’re not familiar with their music, you’d be sorely mistaken. Uber-producer, Nile Rodgers, has worked with so many world-class artists, that the likelihood you haven’t heard any of his songs is pretty slim. Aside from Chic’s own extensive back-catalogue, he is responsible for songs such as Duran Duran’s Notorious, Madonna’s Like a Virgin, David Bowie’s Let’s Dance, and Diana Ross’s iconic anthem, I’m Comin’ Out. Most recently, you are probably familiar with his Daft Punk collaboration, Get Lucky. So as you can probably gather, any gig of his is going to be packed with hit after hit after hit.
And indeed it was. From the iconic opening song, Everybody Dance, Rodgers & Co took the audience on a trip down memory lane. There wasn’t one single song on the setlist that wasn’t instantly recognisable from its opening chords, and the appreciative crowd lapped it up, dancing and singing along. (I even spotted former Republic of Ireland footballer, Niall Quinn, indulging in some dad-dancing!).
Rodgers and the band are super-tight. If you didn’t know they were performing live, you would almost think you were listening to a recording, so flawless were the performances. The two female vocalists, Kimberly Davis and Folami, have amazing voices and range. Indeed, listening to them covering some of the hits, made famous by other artists, almost highlights the flaws in those performers’ vocals (sorry Madonna).
Big ballads are not a feature of Rodgers’ career, and as a result, every single track is upbeat, funky, and begs to be danced to. The group’s back-catalogue is truly astonishing, and serves as a reminder as to just how prolific a composer, writer, arranger, and musician, Rodgers is.
This is a difficult gig to find fault with. Rodgers is an engaging frontman, constantly addressing the crowd, and encouraging them to enjoy themselves. All of the band are charismatic. Every song was familiar and funky. Indeed, if I had to find fault, it would be that the set was just too short at around 90 minutes. Chic are the kind of band you might not think you are a fan of, but once they start you could listen to them all night.
This was my second time to see them in the flesh, and they didn’t disappoint. Their music is just so feel-good that it’s impossible not to enjoy it, and the atmosphere at their gigs is one of a giant house-party.
They’re not reinventing the wheel. They know what they do well, and they stick to their tried and tested formula. But that’s OK. Familiarity can be a good thing. And their music is perfect for a lazy summer’s evening, such as the one they played. This was a fantastic gig, filled with iconic songs, that left everyone with a smile on their face.