Faithless: 02 Brixton Academy
Faithless haven’t played the Brixton Academy in almost three years and it was clear from the fans, that they were almost itching to see them. The support band Hempolics did a lively set of reggae/rock type music and their mix of tight harmonies and bluesy guitar meant they did a good old job of warming the crowd up.
But, as soon as the lights went down and the spotlights roamed around the stage, it was clear the crowd was more than ready. Sister Bliss took to her keyboards, looking sharp in her angular monochrome dress. Both drum kits had their drummers (one consisted mainly of cow bells and cymbals), male vocalists stood by their mics and the guitar and bass had their players. Then Maxi Jazz, walked coolly forward ‘It’s good to be home’ He calmly said over the joyous roar.
The set of course was a mixture of old songs and songs from their new no2-reaching album The Dance. Old favourite God Is A DJ was epic, I know that word is seriously overused but this time it’s the only word to describe it. ‘All races all colours all creeds’ intro melted into it and the house hook in the background and Maxi Jazz’s lyrics, mixed with the light display behind all made it a visual and audible spectacle. ‘This is my church…enemies becoming friends when bitterness ends…respect, love, compassion…this is my church for tonight God is a DJ’; It was his church and the congregation were loving it.
Their new songs started their set off and offered some different styles for example Crazy Bal’heads, has a strong reggae beat and then it sped up towards the end. Maxi Jazz was joined by vocalist LSK. Feel Me has more of an 80’s electronica sound to it and Maxi Jazz was again joined by LSK. The intriguingly named Tweak Your Nipple, has more of the familiar house/dance sound and its echoey throb really got the crowd going. It had an amazing hook and it’s lyrics about standing out and ‘dropping a pebble in the mainstream…’ were great.
The oldies proved to send the crowd the most berserk. Mass Destruction packed a punch; the powerful lyrics were accompanied by certain words flashing and sliding across the backscreen like ‘time bomb…be alright…hold me…’ and it was pretty all-consuming. When Insomnia started building a swell of whoops filled the Academy. The crowd chanted back the famous hook and jumped about endlessly.
I thought What About Love was a brilliant moment too. The backscreen flashed up with some of the lyrics like ‘I know you intimately’ and ‘LOVE’. Then half way through beaming lights shone on the crowd as if to ask us the question of the song. Drifting Away was another one that sent the crowd wild. Their new song Not Going Home finished the set and afterwards Maxi Jazz thanked everyone and gave us all ‘Nuff respect’. It was vaguely clear that the feeling was mutual as as soon they walked off stage having taken their bows, the crowd chanted loudly ‘We want more!’ Clearly the last people to disappoint their fans they walked back on stage to round it off properly. (Maxi was wearing s Brixton Topcats T-shirt in support the local basketball team-he is a Brixton boy after all!)
After Muhammad Ali and Music Matters their final song was the incredible We Come 1. The crowd all raised their fingers to the ceiling and under the instruction of Maxi, shouted back ‘We come one’ throughout. It was an incredible atmosphere and everyone felt connected.
The show proved that Faithless have definitely still got that magic they started out with all those years ago. Their fans are incredibly loyal and it’s clear that Faithless represents to them a certain type of freedom and scene that they were immersed in. That’s not to say at all that they can’t amass new fans, but I got the feeling the crowd had loved them from their first album and would continue to do so for a long time to come.
Sister Bliss was effortlessly cool throughout and the band were endlessly energetic and powerful. As for Maxi Jazz, now in his early 50s, his presence is unwavering and his lyrics remain as relevant as ever; mainly focusing on our responsibilities as, and towards, human beings.
All in all a brilliant night.