Hype is the best way to sow the seeds of lust between listener and artist. It’s a weird kind of viagra conjured up to ensure some sexy shit goes down in the grey area between the two. The hoped for result is that the listener gets so excited, their eyes momentarily roll into the back of their brains and they hand over the cold hard cash. Perhaps that makes it sound slightly more interesting than the reality, but hype has been the music industry’s big topic of debate and discussion this year. Hype about hype. It’s like a dog eating its tail.
After Daft Punk managed to saturate listeners in pre-record anticipatory fluids with their teaser campaign earlier this year, Boards of Canada went all Eyes Wide Shut via some codes and unmarked records scattered across the globe. Only someone with too much time on their hands and a qualificiation in magicianry could really be bothered to get to grips with it.
The Daft Punk’s biggest character is Nile Rodgers from Chic (who guests on their global ‘smash’ Get Lucky. For those who’ve been in hiding for the last six months). With the French duo’s noted reticence to talk and Pharrell being too much of a superman to hang around with mere mortals, it’s been left to one of the nicest men in pop to act as a mouthpiece for the whole project. It’s a timely appearance. Nile comes across as a top dude who has been there, snorted that, got the t-shirt, snorted that and somehow come through the other side. So it’s richly deserved that his back catalogue is once again being revived for a whole new set of ears. It’s also pretty nuts to think that some folk are only hearing about him for the first time. considering his influence over everyone else who’s made anything good, ever, is fucking gigantic. His song book includes tunes for the likes of Chic, Sister Sledge, Madonna, INXS and Duran Duran and is already held in much deserved reverence. But it’s this latest, hard, ubiquitous exposure which may explain why his London gig at the Forum last Friday was so fucking rammmmmmed. That and he’s cool as fuck.
At his show, which was presented by the Red Bull Music Academy, the first thing to hit you was the huge crowd. You had to manouevre crab-like from the bar to the dancefloor to stand a chance of getting near the stage and inevitably get your beer in your hair and your rum all over your pants. But no matter, this was Nile Rodgers, Chic and a disco party. We manned up, put these third world problems to one side and did our best to get down.
Our arrival before ten was good timing as it allowed us to witness The Gallery’s Nicky Siano, now bald and jiving like a dad behind his laptops all shoulders and lunges. He provided a stirring selection of lengthy disco bangers – 12 inch edits of We Light Your Fire and the like boomed out through a soundsystem which sounded like it was on the way out – or certainly creaking under the strain of bass pressure. The sound was bad but the vibe was big and made even bigger by Niley R slinking out on stage with a coy smile on his face and a shiny camera in his mitts to take some snaps of his people and Nicky S. What a moment. What a love in.
Despite increasingly muddy and decrepid sound, Chic did everything you’d expect, which could have been more if the speakers had been taken out of the cotton wool they’d been dunked in. But from the moment they came on all dressed in white like a bunch of musical angels, the place was in raptures with booze fuelled exuberant chaos being the word. They skipped through hit after hit with Spacer, I Want Your Love, Let’s Dance and Le Freak all hitting the spot. Nile and his band jived in all their pomp and finery while we struggled to save ourselves from being swept away in the mess of flesh and booze in front of the stage.
The opening of the smoking area was a real moment as it led to some of the elbow crew fucking off and allowing us to breath out but even better was when one of our team ended up on stage during their rendition of Good Times. The final act of the Chic performance was for the crowd to be led through a rendition of Get Lucky by Chic which was as cheesey, heart warming and down right daft as you can imagine. Say what you like but I’ve never been so excited to hear a song in its entirety when the final single dropped earlier this year. It still sounds fresh which is testament to its power after being caned by everyone for months…
The after math was led by Chicago bumpster Derrick Carter who heated up the disco with a more house-driven take on the dance. It proved to be just the tonic as the crowd thinned and there was at last enough space to stretch out and dance, dance, dance. We left after the gangly, awkward body of Seth Troxler sidled up to the decks to play a disco set. Thumbs up to Chic and congrats to Nile for getting the kudos he so richly deserves. Thumbs down to The Forum and their shitty sound…