Photography: Joseph T Denyer (https://twitter.com/#!/jos
The Warehouse Project turned into a bit of soap-opera this weekend as techNo DJ Jeff Mills declared that he wouldn’t be playing on Saturday. Rather than telling WHP, and the promoters, he took to Facebook to explain his no show and it was due to a disagreement with a third party booking agent who had been accused of racism.
Now, there’s no suggestion that this had anything to do WHP in any way. But, regardless of Mills’ reasons he behaved in a very unprofessional manner and rather than tell the promoter he explained his reasons in a public forum and felt the wrath of hundreds of unhappy fans. However, like any great musical institution the show must go on and it did with the live performance of Nile Rodgers & Chic.
Chic’s influence on Pop music cannot be underestimated, headed up by Nile Rodgers their musical career has seen them pioneer the birth of disco, funk and soul right throught to the birth of hip hop and then subsequently been sampled by hundreds of modern day artists, they’re a form of pop genesis. A starting point for almost all popular music.
The band took to the stage at 12 to perform some of their biggest hits – ‘Le Freak’, ‘Good Times’, ‘Everybody Dance’ – as well as other rarities and chugging jams, which sent a few thousand dedicated disco ravers dancing. Within a couple of minutes of Chic’s set no one was even bothered by Mills and his no-show hissy-fit.
Chic rolled through an amazing variety of tracks both from the Chic back catalogue and Nile’s own production treasure trove. The crowd were treated to Chic covers of Madonna’s ‘Like A Virgin’, which he made 27 years ago – according to Rodgers – although Nile gracefully declared he didn’t feel that old, Sister Sledges ‘We Are Family’ and Sugarhill Gang’s ‘Rapper Delight’, which of course famously sampled the ‘Good Times’ bassline and has now gone on to hip hop folk law.
The Chic organisation and Nile saved the best to last with ‘Le Freak’ where they invited a special guest on stage and it was none other than Johnny Marr from the Smiths to play out the final song of the set. While we’d concede the Warehouse Project might not be the best live venue. But, Chic was easily the best performance we’ve seen over the years at Store Street; a marquee moment for the organisation. It rose above the usual bland house and techno and achieved something far greater and left everyone thinking Jeff Who ?