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How to make the most of Nile Rodgers’s Meltdown

The Chic legend is curating a nine-day celebration of music and culture at the Southbank Centre. Here’s a guide to the events still on sale and free activities kicking off this week

By Nick Levine

Roll with some music legends

Sweet dreams will be made of the Eurythmics Songbook on Friday August 9, when one half of the iconic pop duo, David A Stewart, will be joined by an all-star band and guest vocalists to perform classic bangers such as ‘Here Comes the Rain Again’ and ‘Sisters Are Doin’ It for Themselves’. It’s a worldwide exclusive, you know. Sadly the opening night performance from Nile Rodgers & Chic on Saturday is sold out, but there are still a few tickets left for The Smiths’ guitar hero Johnny Marr on Thursday August 8. Marr named his son Nile in Rodgers’s honour. So if the Chic one randomly decides to make an unplanned guest appearance, it raises the tantalising prospect of maybe, just maybe, seeing Nile, Marr and Nile Marr all on one stage. Which would be a real moment.

Catch a rising star

French-Israeli singer-songwriter
Yael Naim will be filling the Purcell Room with her flawless folk-pop on Sunday August 4 – the same night that Kendrick and Childish Gambino collaborator Thundercat will punk-funk it up at the Royal Festival Hall. Then on Tuesday August 6, Rodgers has locked down a proper coup: a UK festival exclusive set from Anitta, one of Brazil’s biggest pop stars. Soulful east Londoner Azekel will play on Wednesday August 7, and South African musician Nakhane will demonstrate why he counts Madonna as a fan on Friday August 8. On a more gleefully avant-garde tip, why not check out Sophie’s Royal Festival Hall show on Saturday August 10? The fascinating producer and star smashed it at Fabric in October with a memorably choreographed show that we’d highly recommend. Then you’re spoiled for choice on closing night, Sunday August 11. Malian guitar band Songhoy Blues, Swedish punks Viagra Boys and LA funk-R&B trio Radiant Children will all be playing, turning the Southbank Centre into an awesome smorgasbord of global sounds.

Above: Southbank Centre's Riverside Terrace

More cultural shenanigans

Head to Southbank Centre’s Riverside Terrace on Wednesday August 7 for a free screening of classic Eddie Murphy comedy
‘Coming to America’, which has a killer score by… you’ve guessed it, Nile Rodgers. On the same night, the Royal Festival Hall will welcome Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein performing the music of ‘Stranger Things’, a live rendition of the Netflix hit’s soundtrack led by its composers. They’ll be turning up the ambient ’80s vibes to Eleven (sorry). And on Thursday August 8, Queen Elizabeth Hall will get its chatty hat on at New Frontiers in Music: Nile Rodgers and Merck Mercuriadis in Conversation. It’s the Chic legend waxing lyrical with his business partner and manager, so expect music industry insights to flow like the Thames.

Free parties

The (hopefully) sun-soaked Riverside Terrace will play host to free events throughout the festival, beginning with
Disco Wonderland on Saturday August 3. It’s safe to presume Rodgers will hang, or at least fire, the DJ if they don’t play some Chic. Then, on Sunday August 4, scorching funk and soul grooves will soundtrack the carnival-style Meltdown Mardi Gras, which will feature a set from 11-piece band Dat Brass. Ever a champion of fresh talent, Rodgers will invite some of the UK’s finest young musicians to And the Beat Goes On on Friday August 9. C’est Chic Vogue Ball will showcase the mind-blowing moves of some ace voguers on Saturday August 10. Come Sunday August 11, Ministry of Meltdown will welcome genre-blurring emerging talent from south London’s jazz scene and beyond. 

Meltdown is at the Southbank Centre from Sat Aug 3-Aug 11.

Check out more top festivals taking place in London here


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