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Written by DJ Space   
Friday, 29 October 2010 23:00

Hard Rock Yields to Massive AttackWednesday's first ever concert at Orlando's Hard Rock by British trip-hop pioneers Massive Attack was notable as much for what was omitted as for what was played. The Bristol band concentrated on its February 2010 release Heligoland, the first studio album from partners Robert "3D" del Naja and Grant "Daddy G" Marshall in seven years, making time for only one track from its 1991 debut album Blue Lines and playing nothing from 1994's Protection. There was no “Unfinished Sympathy” and no "Protection" from this Massive Attack.

Massive Attack's unyielding light show was also a significant part of the event. Distracting at times, synchronized bars of LED lights extended the width of the stage, flashing financial and socio-political statistics accompanied by apparently random text messages. The projections offered everything from statistics on global water usage, wars, and immigration, to famous quotes on civil liberties from free-thinkers, headlines from Florida news sources, and the names of multinational corporations. A relentless visual display that lent the music some gravitas, the backdrop emphasized the band's ideology, the political nature of the songs, and their enduring relevance to today's economic and political climate.

Through rising smoke and purple lighting, spotlights danced in the dark as five backing musicians (a keyboard player, two guitarists, and two drummers) played the opening bars of “United Snakes.” Founding member del Naja took center stage. Originally released as a 2006 single with "False Flags," this was dark music for dark times. As del Naja sang, the names of social drugs flashed across the screen in rapid succession.

Local graffiti artist del Naja formed Massive Attack with Marshall in 1987. The leading force behind the rise of trip-hop, Massive Attack was one of the most innovative and influential groups of its generation.

Led by the slight, energetic figure of del Naja, Massive Attack initially played from Heligoland, including the lead single "Splitting the Atom." Martina Topley-Bird, and Massive Attack regular and roots reggae singer Horace Andy also sang vocals. Topley-Bird, known for her work with fomer band member Tricky, sang "Babel," and “Girl I Love You” proved a good vehicle for Andy’s vocals. The band's hypnotic sound, a fusion of trip-hop rhythms, soulful melodies, electronica, dub grooves, and samples, built a melancholy mood.

“Teardrop," “Inertia Creeps,” and "Angel" followed from 1998’s moody trip-hop standard Mezzanine. The angelic Topley-Bird sang the atmospheric "Teardrop," originally recorded for Massive Attack by Elizabeth Fraser of the Cocteau Twins and more recently featured as the theme to TV series House M.D. Accompanied by slow and repetitive percussion, Andy's tender voice showcased the highly emotional "Angel," a dark, brooding tune which finally drowned in a loud electric guitar riff. "Future Proof" featured as the only track from 2003 album 100th Window.

Vocalist Deborah Miller joined the band to complete the official set. With her strong vocals, Miller claimed ownership of an extended version of "Safe From Harm," the only song featured from the band's classic 1991 debut-album Blue Lines, before the band played out with a prolonged guitar outro.

An epic version of “Atlas Air” was the band's sole encore. The LED screen concluded the evening displaying various permutations of "BP,"before settling on "Beyond Petroleum."

Whilst Hard Rock had yielded to the soulful music of Massive Attack, the light show had made a brave effort to make an impression on the hard rock of American politics.

Best known for "Lebanese Blonde," Washington D.C. band Thievery Corporation was the high-energy opening act. With a large group of musicians and vocalists, featuring electric sitar, funk basslines and horns, Rob Garza and Eric Hilton interspersed rasta chants and 70's funk hits with chillout tracks using their trademark mix of dub reggae, dancehall, pop, and soul beats.

Massive Attack concerts:

* 30 Oct
Asheville Civic Center
o Location: Asheville, United States (North Carolina)
o Venue: Asheville Civic Center
o Event Date: 30 Oct 10 at 20:00
o Description: As part of Moogfest 2010
* 01 Nov
Palladium Ballroom
o Location: Dallas, United States (Texas)
o Venue: Palladium Ballroom
o Event Date: 01 Nov 10 at 20:00
o Description: w/ Thievery Corporation
* 04 Nov
RIMAC Arena  
o Location: San Diego, United States (California)
o Venue: RIMAC Arena
o Event Date: 04 Nov 10 at 20:00
o Description: w/ Thievery Corporation
* 05 Nov
Santa Barbara Bowl
o Location: Santa Barbara, United States (California)
o Venue: Santa Barbara Bowl
o Event Date: 05 Nov 10 at 18:30
o Description: w/ Thievery Corporation
* 06 Nov
Greek Theatre
o Location: San Francisco, United States (California)
o Venue: Greek Theatre
o Event Date: 06 Nov 10 at 20:00
o Description: w/ Thievery Corporation
* 07 Nov
Gibson Amphitheatre
o Location: Los Angeles, United States (California)
o Venue: Gibson Amphitheatre
o Event Date: 07 Nov 10 at 15:00
o Description: at Universal CityWalk
* 09 Nov
Metropolitan Theater   
o Location: Mexico City, Mexico (The Federal District)
o Venue: Metropolitan Theater
o Event Date: 09 Nov 10 at 19:00
* 10 Nov
Metropolitan Theater
o Location: Mexico City, Mexico (The Federal District)
o Venue: Metropolitan Theater
o Event Date: 10 Nov 10 at 19:00
* 12 Nov
Coliseo El Campin
o Location: Bogotá, Colombia (Distrito Capital)
o Venue: Coliseo El Campin
o Event Date: 12 Nov 10 at 19:00
* 15 Nov
Chevrolet Hall
o Location: Belo Horizonte, Brazil (Minas Gerais)
o Venue: Chevrolet Hall
o Event Date: 15 Nov 10 at 19:00
* 16 Nov
HSBC
o Location: São Paulo, Brazil (São Paulo)
o Venue: HSBC
o Event Date: 16 Nov 10 at 19:00
* 18 Nov
Espacio Riesco
o Location: Santiago, Chile (Región Metropolitana)
o Venue: Espacio Riesco
o Event Date: 18 Nov 10 at 19:00
* 20 Nov
Buenos Aires Hot Festival (Costanera Sur)

 

Last Updated on Saturday, 30 October 2010 11:04
 

Newsflash Archive

Trip-hop electronic band Portishead has just announced that, together with All Tomorrow's Parties (ATP), it will curate the first UK "I'll Be Your Mirror" event in July 2011 at Alexandra Palace, London. Portishead also disclosed plans to play in Europe in June/July and in the US during September/October.

Acting as a sister event to ATP Festivals and named after the B-side to The Velvet Underground's original "All Tomorrow's Parties" 7" single, "I'll Be Your Mirror" will be a new series of artist curated music, film, and art events taking place in cities worldwide.

Portishead will headline both nights of the festival, during the weekend of July 23rd and 24th, with a different supporting line-up joining them each day.

At this point these are the only UK shows Portishead plan to play in 2011.

Portishead previously hosted the ATP "Nightmare before Christmas" party in 2007 when it also played live on both nights of the festival.

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