Nile Rodgers & Chic in concert


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Last night Nile Rogers and Chic got the joint jumping at the Tennessee Theater in Knoxville to a near capacity crowd.

The guitarist, composer and front man told the audience he was especially happy to be there because it was the act's chance to headline. The band is in the midst of a tour as opener for Cher, with nearby stops in Nashville and Charlotte.

For roughly an hour and a half we heard most of Chic's best known hits, such as "Le Freak", "Dance, Dance Dance (Yosah X 3)," "My Forbidden Lover," and "Good Times." Included in the set were tunes Rogers penned that were hits for other artists. Among them "Let's Dance" (David Bowie), "Notorious" (Duran, Duran), "We Are Family" (Sister Sledge), "I'm Coming Out" & "Upside Down" (Diana Ross) and "Up all Night" (Daft Punk).

On stage were two finely dressed female vocalists, keyboardist, sax player, drummer and trumpet player. The latter two did some fine solos. For the finale ("Good Times") some lucky audience members got to dance on stage.

With temps dipping down to 20 degrees few wanted to venture out in the weather. Those who braved the cold got a treat for their effort.
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Mike Blakesley

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That would have been good. I'm not a huge R&B fan, but I do like the Chic sound. It's pretty unmistakable and doesn't get enough credit for being "good music" in my opinion.....Chic gets lumped in with other "disco acts" that did everything by synth and drum machine. (Bee Gees still have the same problem.)


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Chic had quite a difference from others during their era. They came into the scene near its peak with a different sound. It did take a little time to warm to them, but Rodgers and Edwards pulled together a lot of different influences with the Chic sound, and it is a lot more sophisticated than they were given credit for. They went for a high-class look originally--sequined dresses for the ladies, suits and ties for the band. After the group concept faded away, Rodgers went on to do loads of production work, including major hits by everyone from David Bowie to Madonna. I'm glad he's still out there making the music with a band these days. :)

What set them apart to me was the use of the instruments--it had piano that sort of leaned towards jazz, strings, and a guitar sound that was almost as based in rock as it was in funk, and some unusual arrangements. A lot of their contemporaries and predecessors had a more formulaic sound, basically a funk beat modified to "four to the floor", hand claps on the 2 and 4, keyboards that could be piano or synthesizers (or even a Fender Rhodes), real drums or those early "syn-drums" for punctuation, and often a horn section. (Way more "organic" than the synth-driven music of today.) One thing to keep in mind that while there were a lot of known singers and stars, a lot of the disco "bands" really were nothing more than another project that was created by a known producer, built from studio musicians and singers. The product was 12" singles for the dance clubs. Much of it was forgettable; some of them became minor dance floor hits that some will recognize. Each label often had their own sound, like Casablanca, Salsoul, etc.

Remixes of artists we already knew, or "...gone disco" albums were a different part of that trend. That gave us Earth Wind & Fire dabbling in it with "Boogie Wonderland" to please the record company, to rock mainstays like Rod Stewart, Rolling Stones, Doobie Brothers, Chicago, etc. having 12" disco remixes. Like anything, they all had their good and bad points.
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