Just last week (Wednesday in fact) I discovered that Massive Attack were playing at the Coliseu. I don’t quite know how this could have slipped under my radar until the last minute, but I’m not complaining: I got to attend the show and had a rather enjoyable evening and that’s what counts.
I like Massive Attack quite a lot —in fact I own almost all of their albums— but I can’t say I love them. I like the way they sound but I do find it a bit… tiring after a while.
Having said that, I’m a sucker for live music and this is a reference group in my personal music history and background, so I didn’t think twice about going and boy, did it pay off!
As in most cases (where good music and good bands are concerned), I found them to be way better live than in studio.
They weren’t able to pull off a huge sound quality on this particular performance (I guess that kind of music requires a setup that must be ruinous to consider on concerts on such small venues), but even so the sound was really powerful and I think it worked great.
Also, the mood they created was really great even if, strangely enough, this was one of the few concerts I ever attended in Portugal where the crowd was not hugely responsive during the show. But then this kind of music does lend itself more to introspective listening than to heavy dancing or screaming, so all in all I think it went down rather well.
It was also a good thing that they played lots of songs from their older albums and had guests from their previous line-ups —Elizabeth Fraser (yes, her from the Cocteau Twins!) and Horace Andy— to sing a few chosen songs. I’m actually not sure what the current line-up of the band is, so there may have been more guest musicians in there.
So, in short, I had a really good time at the concert and it has definitely rekindled my fondness for the band.
It’s like I was saying a while ago to a friend, I’m still from an age when a band was either good live or it wasn’t a band at all, and Massive Attack passed the live test with flying colours.
Should they ever come back to Portugal, I’m definitely going to see them again!
I edited this post because I found out that it wasn’t Shara Nelson singing with the band, it was Deborah Miller. Still, the thought remains: what … a … voice!