On Christmas Eve Eve (which we like to call Christmas Adam), Friday 23rd December 2016, we went to the Eventim Apollo (formerly Hammersmith Apollo) for a disco filled evening with CHIC featuring Nile Rodgers. This was my fourth time seeing them, but they are a band that never disappoint and I always feel like it’s a bit of a party. Most of the people we were with had not seen the band before, which is great because it’s always fun to share the experience of Nile Rodgers and CHIC in a live setting, full of bangers after bangers. You can’t really not enjoy a night seeing CHIC because you know every song, although many people do not realise how many other classic tracks have been produced by Nile Rodgers until they see CHIC live.
There were CHIC classics like ‘Good Times’ and ‘Le Freak’, Sister Sledge tracks such as ‘We Are Family’, and hits Nile Rodgers has either played on/written/produced like ‘Get Lucky’ by Daft Punk or ‘Upside Down’ by Diana Ross. The band are clearly a strong unit, despite Nile Rodgers being the big name here, they are an ensemble. Everyone in the band gets their moment to shine, the two singers Kimberly Davis and Folami Ankoande provide excellent lead and backing vocals, Jerry Barnes slaps the bass masterfully, and Bill Holloman gets to play some tasty saxophone solos. However, the member of the band that really gets to show off is Ralph Rolle, the drummer, he takes the lead vocals on Bowie’s ‘Let’s Dance’ and he does a cracking job of it. Ralph Rolle has excellent stage presence and showmanship, he is a fantastic drummer and very funny when engaging with the audience, the man puts in a brilliant performance that feels memorable at every show.
The band were here playing a charity gig for Autism Rocks, an organisation in the UK who use charitable music events to raise awareness of Autism, the donations go towards ‘long-term research projects that aim to find methods of identifying, as early as possible, who will develop autism, and then evaluate specific interventions and support, to aid them through the rest of their lives’. Their chosen venue was the Eventim Apollo (but it’s still the Hammersmith Apollo in most people’s eyes) which was perfect for this concert, we were right at the back of the stalls near the bar and were still fairly close to the stage, we could see pretty well. This meant there was room to boogie but we were only a few metres from both the toilet and bar; the prices were fairly standard for a London music venue.
The whole set was brilliant, as it always is, proving how influential both Nile Rodgers and the late Bernard Edwards are. The band were dressed smart, all in white shirts, suits, and dresses, all looking very chic (call me Pun DMC). There were proper disco lights, like timeline lights that remind you of the disco heydays, and really cool visuals. It was another great CHIC gig, in the words of my brother Blake ‘CHIC make you feel like it’s a big party, it’s not just a gig, you feel like you’re involved’. Here’s to hoping for some UK festival appearances and looking forward to their long-awaited new studio album, with numerous guest artists and some recycled unreleased material, it’s coming out this year and I can’t wait.