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Review: Ibiza Rocks ft Skream and Chic, 4th September

Must.... not.... awwwwwww FREAK OUT!

There was a slice of the island's population this season that had been practically wetting itself at the prospect of Nile Rodgers and his band Chic returning to play. While the rest of Ibiza was step-touching to techno clicks and bleeps or choking on electro drop confetti, the wise folks in aforementioned slice were at Ibiza Rocks Hotel absolutely having it to the best disco around.

The day had been a peachy one for us at Spotlight, as before the gig we attended a press conference with Nile Rodgers and Skream, who was to be on Chic support duties that evening. Rodgers was his amiable self, anecdotes at the ready and personal camera out, the press photographing him whilst he photographed us, having noticed some interesting footwear amongst our ranks. What stood out for me at this conference was Rodgers' response to whether the vibe in Ibiza felt different to anywhere else he had played. "The spirit that chic has, we actually take with us. So - this is no disrespect at all - but we feel the same in a party place like this or the strictest straightest place in the world." Rodgers had beaten me to the punch and described exactly what makes Chic such a brilliant band to see - they take the spirit with them.

After the afternoon conference we were invited to stick around for sound check, which was well worth doing. Sat in the sun on a near-empty floor it felt like Chic was playing just for us, and as they finalised microphones and messed about - Chic's drummer breaking into an uncanny Notorious B.I.G. impression – heads began to pop out of Ibiza Rocks rooms to see what all the commotion was about. “I didn't know the hotel rooms were around the stage” Rodgers commented, “that's dope!” The buzz of the evening was beginning.

Let's pick up again some time later with Ibiza Rocks resident Doorly, who played in the lead up to Skream's set. The crowd was only dribbling in at this stage, but Doorly did a decent job of bridging the gap between what Ibiza Rocks go-ers usually hear, and what they were about to hear – Solomun's Kakvogel being a good example of this hybrid. Skream took the stage next and completed the full on transformation to disco. Not what we're used to hearing from the bass baron, but he told us in the press conference how he'd loved disco since a very young age, and quickly proved that his placement as support was not the abstract booking it seemed. Rocking a slightly out of place bass music head bounce, Skream was clearly having a brilliant time of it, knocking out disco delicacies like Dan Hartman's Relight My Fire, which prompted a prematurely hearty audience sing-along, plus a friendly visit to the booth from Rodgers.

Chic opened with a clear message and the music to back it – Everybody Dance. As if anyone needed telling twice, the band followed with Dance Dance Dance, whilst Rodgers jigged across the stage in time with his vocalists and a perfectly malleable crowd followed suit. Next up was a favourite of mine, I Want Your Love, which has a brilliant swirling trumpet section that sounded more vibrant than ever before when played live. This was one of many moments where I got all gooey about how brilliant it was to have the stage crawling with the best musicians in their field; I love my DJs, but this really is something else. My only disappointment was that each musician didn't have time to rock a solo.

It's difficult to pick other highlights from a show of such consistency, but We Are Family managed to get its head above the quality wave, thanks to another sound chorus effort from ticket holders and committed slappin' of da bass on stage. Let's Dance, sung Bowie-esque by the resident impressionist/drummer was another winner, but the surprise highlight was Like A Virgin, a song which I've never liked at all but which found a spark when performed by its author and adorned with big girlie WOOH's from the tribal tattooed chunky lads standing near me.

You're probably noticing what I'm harping at here – everybody connected with the show on some level. That doesn't happen too often for most bands, but it happens all the time for Chic. By the time the final song stormed around there was an encouraged stage invasion and the lines between band and fans, which had been blurry at best, finally disappeared completely. To close off the night the band downed their instruments and came to front of stage to dance and sing along to Rodgers' most recent success story, Get Lucky, a seldom-heard collaboration with some French guys I can't recall. All components to a brilliant show had been fulfilled; the only things wholly absent were inhibitions.

Words by Jordan Smith, Photography by James Chapman.

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