"Oh well, the devil makes us sin...but we like it when we're spinning in his grip..." A set of opening lyrics from Massive Attack's Paradise Circus provide a slinky course of wonder throughout every listening experience. And while the UK electronica/trip-hop duo decided against performing the song (off of latest album Heliogland), at last night's stop at NYC's Terminal 5, the sentiment expressed rings pure and true, as Robert Del Naja (3D) and Grantley Marshall (Daddy G) played the role of the dark underlords who held captive a sold out crowd of their most dedicated fans and, dare we say, massive enthusiasts.
With opening acts Martina Topley-Bird and Neon Indian setting the stage for the main attraction, Terminal 5 became a veritable 3-ring circus of the best in eclectic electronica. Topley-Bird began the evening with an utterly sublime set of songs, consisting of looping her vocals and playing keys, drum-pads and guitar. The singer's unique voice cuts through equally on her recorded tracks as it does live. While her 2008 album, The Blue God, has failed to see a proper US release, having heard songs from the release in this arena proved polished and timeless, while keeping a modern-day nouveau cool mentality.
After, Neon Indian graced the risers with a short set of their most well-known tunes. And while they got cut short before hitting their finale of Ephemeral Artery, Alan, his mates, and his hair were in fine form, keeping the buzz of the building at excited euphoric levels.
Beginning just before 10pm, the lights lowered and a roaring applause rolled through the crowd. As Del Naja took the stage with a full backing band, LED lights and electrics galore, the opening and unmistakable drum hits of United Snakes ushered in the start of a 16-song set, which included 4 encore songs.
Most of the set relied on material from Heliogland, as well as the band's 1998 album, Mezzanine. While the former recorded tracks rely heavily on guest vocals, including Hope Sandoval and Damon Albarn, Topley-Bird, along with Horace Andy and Deborah Miller were welcomed on stage to provide the chorales for Safe From Harm and Girl I Love You, to name a few. A personal highlight for me was the inclusion of Martina on Tear Drop, as she joined the band for a perfect recounting of the haunting tune.
With the lights and sounds displaying a visual assault on all the senses, it's safe to say this was a truly incredible experience. Massive? Yes. Memorable? Most definitely.
Please see full sets of pictures for Martina Topley-Bird (here), Neon Indian (here) and Massive Attack (here). Last night's set list is below a few choice cuts.
Girl, I Love You
Safe From Harm
Splitting the Atom
mp3: Martina Topley-Bird - Poison (Van She Tech Remix)
mp3: Massive Attack - Splitting The Atom
mp3: Neon Indian - Deadbeat Summer