Nile Rodgers and Mark Ronson, Montreux Jazz Festival
Friday 20 July 2012
Billed as Freak Out Night: the Evolution of Disco to Dance
Music and curated by Chic mainman and überproducer Nile Rodgers,
and his “little baby brother” Mark Ronson, the penultimate event of
the 46th edition of the Montreux Jazz Festival lived up to its
It also demonstrated the knack veteran promoter Claude Nobs – the “Funky Claude” of Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water” fame – has for bringing together generations of music-makers to create a one-off occasion that will linger long in the memory, for a variety of reasons in this instance.
Elly Jackson of La Roux jawdroppingly forgot the lyrics to the second and third verses of her chart-topping single “Bulletproof” and resorted to ad-libbing and admitting “I haven’t done a gig for over a year” before apologising profusely.
“Clearly, I’m not Bulletproof at all.” She recovered well with a vibrant reading of Carly Simon’s “Why” – a Chic production Rodgers had never performed – which exploited the vulnerability she had just demonstrated.
The centrepiece of an eight-hourplus marathon, Chic’s set included just about every hit bearing the Rodgers signature sound, the metronomic guitar that was sampled by French house duo Modjo for their 2000 No 1 “Lady (Hear Me Tonight)” and drove David Bowie “Let’s Dance” – conceived in Montreux but here sung by drummer Ralph Rolle.
Best was The Smiths’ “Stop Me (If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before)” done à la Ronson with him, Rodgers, and the song’s co-writer, guitarist Johnny Marr, backing the majestic Alison Moyet who had already revived her Yazoo electro hits.
The soirée tried to cover most dance genres, with opening act Tavares providing a neat link back to Seventies disco with the Bee Gees composition “More Than a Woman” from Saturday Night Fever, Ultra Naté singing her Nineties house anthem “Free” and Martha Wash of The Weather Girls tackling the hi-NRG evergreen “It’s Raining Men”.
French disco king Marc Cerrone dusted off his cheesy 1977 floorfiller “Supernature” – also with Jackson – but was outdone for gruyère by local de l’é tape, the Swiss-born Patrick Juvet, a late addition to the bill, who mimed badly to “I Love America”.
Most puzzling was the appearance of the surgically enhanced Taylor Dayne, a Madonna-also ran, who hollered her three hits-wonder, among them a cover of Barry White’s “Can’t Get Enough of Your Love, Babe” I had erased from memory.
Following underwhelming DJ sets by Ronson, Dimitri from Paris and Felix da Housecat, Rodgers reminded everyone that Chic wrote “Le Freak” after being refused entry to Studio 54 as guests of Grace Jones in 1977. She duly made an entrance, outdivad everyone and closed the show on a high with a hula-hoop-assisted performance of “Slave to the Rhythm”.
Chic and Nile Rodgers play The Magic Loungeabout festival at Broughton Hall, Yorkshire, 27 July
Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants
Oscars 2015 Bringing you all the news from the 87th Academy Awards
TV ReviewThe intrigue deepens as we delve further but don't expect any answers just yet
Razzies 2015 Golden Raspberry Awards 'honours' Cameron Diaz and Kirk Cameron
Film Hollywood's new leading lady talks about her Ramsay Street days
Oscar voter speaks outfilm
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Scarlett Johansson new band 'already hit with legal complaint' from another The Singles
- 2 Husband and wife die holding hands within hours of each other after 67 years of marriage
- 3 What color is The Dress, white and gold or blue and black? An eyewitness gives a definitive answer
- 4 The remarkable archaeological underwater discovery that could open up a new chapter in the study of European and British prehistory
- 5 'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Wolf Hall finale, review: Simply brilliant TV
Blade Runner sequel: Harrison Ford confirmed to return with Denis Villeneuve directing
All fiction follows one of six basic storylines, according to new research
House of Cards season 3 premiere, review: Has Frank Underwood gone soft?
Scarlett Johansson new band 'already hit with legal complaint' from another The Singles
Oscars 2015: Birdman beats Boyhood as Eddie Redmayne and Patricia Arquette win big - as it happened
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
Half of Ukip voters say they are prejudiced against people of other races
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
Aqsa Mahmood branded a 'disgrace' by her parents after claims she recruited three UK girls flying to Middle East