Faithless at Brixton Academy
The mid 90s were heady days for the UK dance scene. Warehouses, clubs and living rooms were bouncing with rhythms and beats that have become iconic in the British musical landscape. Twenty-odd years later Faithless, long since enshrined into dance royalty, are still championing the genre, absolutely killing it in a string of live performances across Europe.
For a packed-out Brixton crowd, Sister Bliss (synth, keyboard) and Maxi Jazz (vocals, guitar) can’t get on stage soon enough. From the moment the Academy’s lights come up to a final farewell by Maxi Jazz, they are euphoric; screaming and dancing their way through a bombastic set that doesn’t let up. By way of welcome to this hometown crowd, Sister Bliss and the band provide a sonic assault of maddened synth, guitar and drums. Needless to say the audience love it. Following this frenetic warm up, Maxi Jazz takes the stage, appearing almost monastic as he raises a hand to the fans and launches into the opening lyrics of God Is a DJ.
From this high-energy opening, Faithless keep the venue in a frenzy, rattling through the funk-inspired Muhammed Ali and a riotously uptempo version of Mass Destruction. Following this comes one of many high points as Jazz’s gravelly tones and studied weariness announce “I can’t get no sleep”, before Sister Bliss plays the iconic synth intro of Insomnia. From here they maintain the intensity, dropping hook after hook through I Want More and Salva Mea, the track that first launched them to success in 1995. Eventually though their set has to end. Following a phenomenally energetic encore of We Come One, Maxi draws the evening to a close with a sentiment that is no doubt shared by the crowd: “You’ve all been utterly utterly brilliant. Thank you.”
Faithless’ live performance is defined by their careful choreography of pace and energy; they gradually build intensity ahead of deeply satisfying synth hooks. It’s an incredible call back to the scene in the mid 90s and showcases the best of what UK dance music has to offer. In the current age of commercial EDM that prizes the sugar rush of repeated drops, Faithless continue to provide a revered example of the genre’s roots.
Photos: Nick Bennett
For further information about Faithless and future events visit here.
Watch the video for We Come One here: