Faithless, Alexandra Palace, London

Alexandra Palace, London

Like Oasis and the Prodigy, Faithless are kept in business by people whose musical tastes were set in concrete in the mid-1990s. The trance fans are long gone, and in their place are legions of football-shirted old faithfuls, here for a £22.50 dose of synth-fuelled nostalgia.

It seems a little unwise, then, for Faithless to kick off the evening with a couple of tepid album tracks and then proceed with unnecessary rejiggings of the hits. Part of the joy of Insomnia was Maxi Jazz's metronomic delivery on lines like "tearing off tights with my teeth", but tonight he uncharitably syncopates the rhythm so no one can sing along and then has the cheek to spoil God Is a DJ by slowing it down to a sermonly pace. Sister Bliss's blank expression suggests she knows her only function is to deliver the trademark big choruses which now sound like museum pieces. Things pick up a little with the cliche-ridden anti-war chant Mass Destruction, but Asian Dub Foundation do politicised dance music much better. Singing about suicide bombers can sound so banal in the wrong hands.

Everything about this evening, from the absence of onstage camaraderie to the lack of visuals and all-round soul, suggests that this greatest hits tour really ought to be their last. Faithless have nothing new to offer: Maxi Jazz still asks the crowd to raise a finger to We Come One and people still do silly "steeple" actions when he sings: "This is my church."

In an era when bands are basically fast-moving consumer goods, binned when their shelf life expires, you might well assume that those groups still in the game almost a decade after their first hit must have something pretty special. Evidently not.


Helen Pidd

The GuardianTramp

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