Faithless, O2 Academy Brixton, London
Tuesday 25 May 2010
At Brixton, the devoted crowd is dominated by vintage examples of both the former drug-infused rave generation and a newer breed of mainstream live-for-the-weekend dance-floor revellers, whose experiences of sleeplessness were probably only ever the result of an alcopop-induced sugar high.
Meanwhile, rumour has it that the infamous dance trio have made showbiz rider demands for jelly babies and Haribo, which seems to many a critic's suggestion that their sixth album and newest offering, The Dance (released May 17 and promoted on this latest tour), is a mere penny-sweet in comparison to the rich chocolate bars of the act's early career. Sadly, the obscure opener, "Happy", from gravelly voiced frontman Maxi Jazz (still as lean as a pubescent swimmer despite his 53 years) is about as charismatic as a squashed Fruit Salad chew stuck inside a trouser pocket.
"We're warming up," says Maxi with an air of nonchalance that only he, the shirtless icon in a bright white blazer, can carry off.
Sister Bliss cuts a fierce retro shape in monochrome, pounding the boards for such polished classics as "God Is a DJ" and "Mass Destruction", which still sound as epic as they did back in the day. But despite the mammoth set and an energetic and expert performance, the onstage duo is let down by sporadically iffy sound settings which prevent the clarity needed to capture that trademark eerie twinge.
Their new single, "Tweak Your Nipple", offers little in terms of progression, but the old Faithless formula is still as infectious as it once was. New track "Not Going Home" is an even bigger winner, and makes it clear why The Dance just nabbed the number two slot in the album charts. Wild is an understatement for the reaction to the short but much-anticipated "Insomnia", but it's the grand closer, "We Come", that shows why Faithless still deserves its place among dance royalty.
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