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Faithless - Maxi Jazz

Losing my Religion

by Karlito Sittlinger, images by Cristoph Lenz / 10.02.2011

So when a blast from the past comes your way, something as formative in my generation’s youth as Faithless with the almost iconic Maxi Jazz and his distinctive physical and vocal characteristics, you cannot help but to mentally return to a time where music was still much more original, and the stars actually had something to contribute that was new and innovative.

Lets start with the infrastructure and the venue, as these things have such a strong effect on the experience and are often neglected, as was the case for this concert. The Grand West Arena is not really the type of venue that will render you speechless in awe of the surroundings. And it definitely wasn’t geared to catering for such a large influx of fans in such a short span of time. For reasons beyond me, the only way to get into the actual Arena was through the casino complex. Maybe they thought we’d have a little run on the roulette wheel before the gig? Standing in line for ages to get past the security measures, which were rendered completely ineffectual by the sheer mass of hurrying fans. I basically walked through the metal detector, all the metal items in my pocket rewarded with loud beeping sounds, but before I could be stopped the next 15 fans had already swept me away. The outer passages of the arena was like a practical joke from the organizers: a couple of small bar areas and a handful of bar staff were being overwhelmed by a swarm of beverage begging fans. It was in fact so bad, that it was basically impossible to procure any kind of drinks without missing a substantial block of the concert.

Drinks or no drinks, you then needed to pass the ticket trinity in front of each door: One guard would take your ticket and tear a stub off, another right next to him/her would then accept the stub to give you one of those concert bracelets, while the last would check whether you actually have a bracelet before letting you in.

Goldfish managed to get people into the swing of things, the crowd was easily swayed into a good vibe early on. The perfect sashimi style introduction to the main event. Of course we weren’t part of all that. We got to argue with security and bouncers, organizers and other people that felt they were in charge. We heard some of the Goldfish set through the doors and it sounded pretty good. By the time we finally made it inside, we were both dehydrated and irritated but just in time to hear the final chords and watch Goldfish professionally pack their stuff away.

Faithless

Generally speaking, concerts are there to enhance your experience of music you already know, and it has become an expectation that you get treated to more than just a list of songs that you have heard before. This holds especially true for bands as well known as Faithless, where every song has been overplayed in all sorts of situations and remixed relentlessly. Their catalogue, literally, can’t get no sleep. The large stage was filled with batteries of independently controlled lighting, enhanced by a huge screen as a background to the band. The lighting concepts perfectly synchronized to compliment the sound really highlighted a good track list. We were treated to songs from all the albums and as expected, the true classics all had a unique twist to them, making sure though that they were all still recognizable and bombastic in their full glory.
When “Insomnia”, “We want more”, “God is a DJ” and “What about Love” were played, the audience, truly, went insane. A sea of arms chanting rhythmically to these timeless dance hymns. I found myself being swept away in that amazing feeling. When a song is building up to the crescendo, unifying everyone to a single joyous emotion, even if it is nostalgic, it still makes the concert more than just a list songs repeated by the band.

Maxi Jazz

Ahh and then there was the one and only Maxi Jazz, giving what can only be described as a fully engaged performance, speaking to his crowd in words and music, preaching unity amongst the people of South Africa, and the crowd responding vigorously. His arms spread to an open embrace at the height of the songs, harsh yet elegant and effective in combo with the music.

The stage was doused in hues of green and red, supported by an amazing huge screen depicting almost retro blocky graphics, synchronized to the songs. I must admit I was awed by the variance and effect these simple geometric forms and words added to the whole experience. Kudos and salutations for the stage and lighting team, of what must have been one of the better stage shows I have witnessed.
Despite the birthing issues, we got a good two hours of high class entertainment, the whole concert ended with the appropriate “We want More”.

Faithless

Faithless - Sister Bliss

Faithless

Faithless

Faithlesss

Faithless

*All images © Christoph Lenz.

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RESPONSES (18)
  1. Anton Chigurh says:

    This article is fucking atrocious.
    One of the worst pieces I have read on Mahala, in a while.
    Boring, bland, and dry – while trying way too hard, at the same time.
    An international act, a momentous event – and this kind of review?
    Seems there is a steady decline in quality content around these parts, lately.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    good photo’s! TERRIBLE ARTICLE! like j.k. rowling reviewing a gig.

    Mahala needs to implement quality control.

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  3. dudie says:

    anton – why dont you go vent to you mommie. im tired of poeses like you contaminating the internet with your negativity. there is absolutely nothing wrong with this article. i dont think people like you know what they want. the article gives a perfect account of the gig – what more do you want?” tying too hard” – you dont know what the hell youre talking about. this is a descriptive article written in a prosaic style – go learn your abc’s, prick!

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  4. Anonymous says:

    it’s a bland article.
    pretty kak, pretty kak.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    The article is not bad, if maybe a little straightforward. But the concert ended with ‘We Come One’, not ‘We want more’….in fact the song is called ‘I want more’ and I maybe wrong, but not sure they actually played it on the night

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  6. meh says:

    meh. sounds like a school project – write an essay on what you did this weekend. unfortunately faithless are so passed-it and musically bankrupt they have to jump on the band(less) wagon and rely on anti-Israel platitudes to bolster some local support (M&G). ha!
    ps does the headline to this review make any sense to anyone?

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  7. Ubuntu Bob says:

    Funny, you’re the only one who’s had anything bad to say about the CT show. Shows at Grand West are always like that: long queues at security, slow bar service, bureaucratic ticket-takers… oh wait, that’s every concert in South Africa.

    Maybe it’s not the most exciting review ever, but I don’t get why everyone’s got their tits in a wad just because “Karlito Sittlinger” isn’t striking the same condescending faux-Hunter S Thampson bullshit as all the other Mahala writers. Didn’t he get the style manual?

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  8. Pancho s Rancho says:

    Bob – you know what, I think it is EXACTLY what he got.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    @dudie and ubuntu bob

    well if the point of a gig review is to capture some of the excitement of the show…..then this fails.

    I agree that gonzo grows boring fast, but to not have any style at all? sorry man but i’d take a fake Hunter over a real karlito or bianca review.

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  10. Barry Bonds says:

    @ meh,

    Maybe Karlito can’t separate Faithless from REM.
    Losing my religion? psht.

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  11. Lizzy says:

    @meh: i think its a reference to the name ‘faithless’, but its actually just stupid as its the title of a REM song. confusing and just wrong.
    the article is only ok, but the pics are great!

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  12. Anonymous says:

    @Meh – You obviously weren’t at the show if you have something bad to say about Faithless. They were unbelievable….I wasn’t a massive fan before, but one of the best live acts I have ever seen

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  13. G5K5 says:

    One word:

    Totpak.

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  14. meh says:

    @ anonymous – by calling it “one of the best live acts I have ever seen” you’re divulging more about yourself and your paucity of quality experiences… and less about Faithless.

    When 97% of your audience is coming for nostalgia reasons, you’re not a music act, you’re a museum.

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  15. mega-douche says:

    Now Rammstein last night had a similar problem with queuing/beer/ticketing… but it was a gas to see all the metal heads and other odd balls cruzing through the casino, And the sound was awesome and the show was amazing…with loads of fire to boot! yay!

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  16. Anonymous says:

    terrible writing, jesus

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  17. kobus says:

    why dont you just arrive earlier at your next gig.

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  18. syd willow says:

    nice pics

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