Massive Attack: Don’t Kill Yourself – Dance!

May 18, 2010
The Wiltern

Massive Attack

Massive Attack

If you like music at all, even if you don’t like their music, Massive Attack is a show to see. If you’re depressed about the state of world affairs, well. . . take something to make you feel better and see this show anyway.

During the first of three sold-out shows at The Wiltern, Massive Attack treated the crowd to the perfect blend of music, dance, and overtly disturbing messages.  They kicked off the show with an energy level many artists reserve for the encore and maintained it throughout.

Another thing that was consistent throughout the show was the display of facts and figures on a digital screen, behind the band.  The information projected to the crowd was meant to shift perspective, to open the eyes of everybody in attendance to some of the injustice in the world.  From war to slavery, genocide to oil, Massive Attack covered it all.  The massive onslaught of information and statistics, albeit disturbing and often times shocking, did not detract from the music.  In fact, the high production value of the show – the lights, the display, the sound – was a perfect blend and clearly intended to communicate a message.

Despite the heavy tone and nature of the show, Grant Marshall and Robert Del Naja (“Massive Attack”) seemed elated, exuberant. . . exceptionally joyous during the after party.  It got me wondering  – what is the message Massive Attack wants people to come away with?

When I asked what he’d say about the overall message they’re conveying, Marshall responded, “Well, the message. . . I’m actually reading Howard Zinn’s book (A People’s History of The United States) right now, so you better talk to me in a week’s time.”

I phrased the question a bit differently for Del Naja:  “So is the overarching message that we’re fucked??” I asked him.

“Yeah, exactly. I was trying to make it a bit more positive than that, but that’s pretty much it.  That’s why we’ve got to keep on dancing!” del Naja replied, with a broad smile on his face, mid-dance.

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