Massive Attack at Brixton Academy
Hot on the heels of their recent EP release Ritual Spirit, Massive Attack came to London last night to cement their position as the true pioneers of British trip-hop. With three sold-out dates at Brixton Academy (part of their first headline tour in over five years), their public’s appetite for the genre clearly remains unsated.
Atmospheric in spades, the show began with Battle Box 001, supported by a monstrous light-screen that was arguably the star of a lacklustre opening 20 minutes; no doubt the audience was mildly underwhelmed, with bemused sideways glances spreading slowly throughout the venue. It’s always a risk opening with those songs that are lesser known, and sadly it doesn’t seem to pay off.
But it’s not long before the hit machine spins into action. Blue Lines’s classic Risingson is greeted with loud cheers as Grant “Daddy G” Marshall finally decides to join Robert “3D” Del Naja on stage. The soft keys of Paradise Circus swiftly follow, ably backed by a punchy bassline that builds into the deeply layered finale that has made the song such a recognisable classic. The supporting vocalist tries her best to capture the delicate notes but she isn’t quite up to it, not that the crowd mind as they gently sway along.
The classics keep coming, with a limp Karmacoma followed by the outstanding Angel and Inertia Creeps. Massive Attack are at their best when they lean towards their darker side, bone-pulverising bass turned up to maximum and backed with howling guitar.
There is no Unfinished Sympathy as last night’s show concludes with Heligoland’s Splitting the Atom, a somewhat flat end to the evening. It’s clear that Massive Attack are desperately close to being an extraordinary live act, but there are too many little mistakes for them to succeed just yet. The show feels a little under-rehearsed, which, considering they have been together for the past 28 years, is hard to forgive. All in all though, they prove yet again to be masters of their genre, and provide the packed Brixton Academy with a thoroughly entertaining evening.
Photo: Dave Lichterman
For further information about Massive Attack and future events visit here.
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