Monday, 28 September 2009

Live Review: Massive Attack, Birmingham Academy, 22/09/2009

GAZZ ON THE RAZZ, DARK SECRETS FROM MEGAN FOX, BOY 12 TURNS INTO GIRL, TESCO BANS JEDI, MALE BOOB OPS SOAR... New ID card scheme to be launched in Britain, UK Government to install cameras in private homes, Mandelson: filesharers will lose internet connection...
Tonight’s opening act is Martina Topley Bird, her set of light, jazzy songs are all very nice, but with the exception of rocking closer Too Tough To Die they fail to capture the full attention of the chatty audience.

Massive Attack, on the other hand, are impossible to ignore. Live, original members Robert “3D” Del Naja and Grant “Daddy G” Marshall are joined by a full band, a string of guest vocalists, and a video display almost as big as their leftist political messages.

The early part of the set is made up of all new songs, their beats as dark, brooding and atmospheric as anything in the band has done before.

As good as the new songs are, it is the classics that get the greatest response tonight. On Risingson 3D and Daddy G trade choruses while the music builds and builds, til the familiar ‘Dream On’ sample brings the song back down to earth.

Touching lyrics and beams of white light fill the room as Martina Topley Bird returns to the stage to sing a beautiful version of Teardrop.

Fifty-eight year old rasta and long time Massive Attack collaborator Horace Andy makes his second appearance of the night for Angel. His seemingly happy singing and dancing is in perfect contrast to the menacing baseline being played by the band.

As the set progresses Massive Attack get more overt in pushing their message: Safe From Harm is dedicated with an f--- you to the BNP, and Inertia Creeps is played out in front of a ticker tape of news headlines, alternating between tabloid trash and under-reported intrusions into the civil liberties of British society.

After a short break the band come back to play Splitting the Atom, the dark reggae beat title track from their new EP, before diva/vocalist Deborah Miller returns lifting the roof on Unfinished Sympathy. The encore ends with a CIA rendition flight departures board ticking over on the giant video screens and the band playing Marrakesh.

The 11pm curfew has been broken when the band return to the stage for a second encore, finishing the show with 3D and Daddy G rapping Karmacoma.

Twenty years in and on the eve of their fifth album Massive Attack have the songs, a live show and a social conscious of a band that could go on for another twenty years.


Nick said...

Great review!

Yeah, they're still an amazing live band.

Hummer said...

Faster Louder was reporting that they will be in Oz early 2010. Big Day Out headliners?