Faithless: Pass The Baton Experience

faithless - Crap photo taken with my phoneFaithless played their last gig in the Brixton Academy on April 8th. I wasn’t there, I was one of the people watching it via satellite in numerous cinemas across Europe.

Faithless have been the musical act that I consider ‘The one that got away’ I had never seen the band live and always wanted to. For some reason that never happened so I was going to have to settle for the next best thing. I was looking forward to this as I also had never seen a concert in cinema before so it was going to be a night of firsts.

I was a little surprised how empty Cineworld, Parnell St, Dublin was at 22.15, just fifteen minutes before the event was due to start. I also thought that seeing as it was a gig there might be some pumping tunes to keep us entertained before the show, we got a long orchestral version of, I think, the Star Trek theme.

Here’s where I wish I could split the experience into two. The Faithless experience and the cinema experience. Unfortunately the two are connected. 

Before the show got underway we saw the audience in Brixton and an on screen message told us about the strobe lighting. We were then treated to a series of photographs from a book that Faithless were publishing.

Dizzee Rascal addressed the Brixton crowd and introduced Faithless. From the outset the crowd were up for it. There’s something about the Academy in Brixton that makes for an amazing night. I had seen The Charlatans there about 9 years ago and the atmosphere from that night, has always stayed with me. ‘Happy’ got the night underway.

Here’s where things go pear shaped. The sound was terrible, it was just too low and needed to be desperately turned up. I could have been sitting at home watching on the telly and there would have been more atmosphere. I’m not saying anything bad about Faithless, their performance was amazing, it was just really hard to get into the whole thing. So much so, we actually saw people leave the cinema with approximately 15 minutes of the show gone.

Fourth track of the night was the legendary ‘God Is A DJ’. At this stage, there are a few more punters in and they are ready to have a good time, giving it loads at the back and urging people to get up and dance. I would have if the music was louder.. if it’s a nightclub or gig situation I want the music loud. The soundtrack to our evening was a lot lower than the audio than many movies I have recently seen.

Here’s where It gets interesting. During the show I followed the #faithless on Twitter and found Cinestage the company putting the event on in cinemas. I asked about the audio and they told me it was the local projectionist who had control over the audio.

Thankfully by the time ‘Mass Destruction’ was played, somebody had copped on and raised the level of the audio a bit. It was a little too late though and left the rest of the show really hard to get into. seeing as the show started at 22.30 it probably would have helped to have a few beers beforehand. From then on though between 15-20 people were constantly dancing in front of the stage.

At this stage I decided to sit back and watch it and try and forget about the audio. I’ll wait for it to come out on DVD and have a party where I will play it very LOUD. Faithless played a stormer and ‘We Come 1’ as a final song was an inspired choice.

As I was leaving the cinema I met the manager and asked about the audio, he agreed that he thought it could be louder but he said he had received an email saying that this was the audio level to be used for the night. When I mentioned that Cinestage had sent me the tweet, he seemed confused as to who had sent him the email.

Gigs via satellite are a great idea, I’m not blaming anyone but if it’s a concert , it’s about more than the visuals. Crank it up! I’m glad I went, I would be wondering if I hadn’t. Faithless played 21 cracking treacks.  I’ll be waiting for the DVD, then party’s round mine.