Review by Zyllah Moranne-Brown and photography by Ken Harrison

Well it’s Christmas! Well nearly! Seasons of mistletoe and wine and peak gigging time! And for this little team of Gig Junkies, the first of three gigs in a row. This band ‘ceased to be’ in 2011 but not for long –  a mid year announcement of  2.0 (to celebrate their twentieth year), gave us a couple of big gigs including headlining BBC Radio 1’s 20th anniversary celebrations in Ibiza and their recent gig at Alexandra Palace selling out in less than 50 minutes!. A national tour – which makes us very happy bunnies. For tonight, God is indeed a DJ –  Faithless come to town.

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Support tonight comes from Until The Ribbon Breaks – an electronic, pop, rock, hip-hop band all done with an alternative edge. UTRB are currently in the studio working finishing their debut album ‘A Lesson Unlearnt’ due in January 2015, following which they will join London Grammar on their 11-date North American tour.

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And so to Faithless. Consisting of Maxi Jazz, Sister Bliss and Rollo, they’ve sold 15 million records worldwide. In March 2011 Jazz posted that the band would cease to be with “But, like when writing a song, you always just know when it’s finished…” No way – cometh 20 years since the band was formed comes 2.0. And hey, who said dance / trance was a young man’s game – just to politely pint out that Jazz is knocking on the doors of the big 60.

As we wait for the main act of tonight’s proceedings dances tunes steam from the speakers, purple lights ablaze the stage with dry ice permeating from beneath it. Nearly time. Tonight’s punters are buoyant and expectant.

Light’s off. A massive 2.0. appear on the screen at the back off the stage, before morphing to red flashing lights and we’re off on the powerful instrumental track ‘Emergency / Machines R Us.’ And than the man takes to the stage: Maxi Jazz under a blaze of tiny white spotlights.  ‘All Races All Colours’ and we’re partying. “Cheers, what’s up Birmingham? You look fantastic.”

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And the tune. The da-da-da-da startup – instantly recognisable. “This is my church, this is where I heal my hurt… For tonight…. God…. is a DJ.”

And EVERYONE and I mean EVERYONE is dancing; the hairs stand up on not just our necks but arms as this legendary trance dance track powers out. “Extra long time since we did this….” the humble and affable Jazz comments. Amazing light show and party. One word to describe. Epic. And this is just the start……

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‘Muhammad Ali’ is smooth baby, as Jazz raps his pearly white around the words. And as the track ramps up, Jazz is pulling all the moves and jumping around – this charismatic frontsman.  As the track ramps up – Jazz is pulling all the moves – this charismatic frontsman. And the songs they keep coming… ‘Crazy Bal’heads’ – all smooth reggae inspired – and then ‘Mass Destruction’ – for everyone from the bottom of Jazz’s heart.

“Now if you really don’t mind I wanna see some hands in the air.” And we oblige. “Insomnia.’ “We can’t get no sleep” we chant. Wow. Incredible.

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And the party just rolls on and on. ‘What About Love’ about the the condition rather than the problem.  “Birmingham give me more and more…” as Faithless indeed do with ” I Want More”  Part 1 and 2.

‘Salvea Mae’ we’re in epic proportions again – the haunting vocals followed by full on trance. and the light show, wow the light show is incredible. “Thank you you so much. You lot on a different level of loud. Thank you.”

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And there comes the axe merchant – lead guitarist goes all metal for five mins. ‘Swingers.’ “Can you feel it?” chants Jazz, still leaping round the stage.

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‘Not Going Home’ the chat of the later hit from 2010, ends the main set. We don’t want to go home – no!. “Such a pleasure to play for gorgeous people. Look after each other. Peace. I love you.” comes a humble and exhausted Jazz.

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But hey they are not finished – as on the encore comes. ‘Music Matters’ with haunting vocal before. a song that is “ absolutely unquestionably and definitely the last one…”.

There is a protocol for this song. Raise your finger in the air and punch. And as the House of Commons votes for air strikes in Syria –  we choose a different direction – “Would it not be madness to fight” right here, right now  ‘We Come 1’. Wow  we dance and that ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’ electronic melody booms from the stage and then remarkably blasts out, in true incredible dolby surround sound enwrapping the audience amidst the phenomenal lights show in a 3D out of body experience.

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I saw Faithless years ago and I remember one of the most surprising things about them, is that they are a band. A full band. There’s millions of them on stage. And hey we have the electronica. The trance. Zone out man and party. And Jazz is a humble, likeable and charismatic frontsman. Faithless are quite frankly f***** awesome live. I defy anyone to see them and not get goosebumps to ‘Insomnia’ or ‘We Come 1’. I defy you to stand there bored. No bloody way.

They’ll be back in the Midlands on  December 10th at the Genting Arena at the BBC Music Awards….

I don’t know about God Being a DJ but hell Faithless rocked the joint tonight and as they posted on their Facebook page: “Tell the doormen we won’t be leaving, Birmingham!” Jazz says they’ll be back next year….. and we can’t wait.

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Setlist
Emergency / Machines R Us
All Races All Colours
God is a DJ
Muhammad Ali
Crazy Bal’heads
Mass Destruction
Insomnia
Hands
Everything Will Be Alright Tomorrow
Miss U Less, See U More
What About Love
I Want More Part 1
I Want More Part 2
Bombs
Salvae Mae
Swingers
Not Going Home

Music Matters
We Come 1

One Response to “Faithless + Until The Ribbon Breaks @ Barclaycard Arena, Birmingham – 2nd December 2015”

  1. Gig Junkies » Blog Archive » DAY 1: Beyond The Tracks Festival , Birmingham – 15th-17th September 2017 Says:

    […] the crowd raved more. Oh the temptation to have ALL of Faithless here – we covered them in 2015 and in this place on this night they would have been […]

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