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Massive AttackPalladium, Cologne, Germany
28th June 2018
Massive Attack - “European Summer Tour” - Special guests: Azekel and Young Fathers

Right in time for their 30-year anniversary, UK trip hop giants MASSIVE ATTACK went on a large European tour, featuring only two gigs in Germany. One of them thankfully led them to the Palladium in Cologne, where they played a show which was sold-out months ago. The weather was warm, and the mood was cheerful, as the crowd streamed into the venue in anticipation of a remarkable evening.


Azekel

AZEKEL, the Nigerian born Soul singer living currently in East London, was the first act to open the evening. AZEKEL has been featured also on MASSIVE ATTACKS latest EP release ‘Ritual Spirit’, as well as on the GORILLAZ’ last album ‘Humanz’. www.azekel.com / https://www.facebook.com/Azekel

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Music & Performance
A little earlier than originally announced at 7pm, AZEKEL and his two band mates, a guitarist and a drummer, entered the stage of the packed Palladium. The trio presented their version of electronically-infused Soul/ R&B to the audience, which was open-minded enough to grant applause. AZEKEL’s voice was nicely complemented by melodic guitar loops, and spherical electronic sounds and beats, so the 25 minutes of playtime went by very quickly.

Rating
Music: 7
Performance: 6
Sound: 6
Light: 6
Total: 6 / 10

azekel D4S1639 klein


Young Fathers

The three singers from Edinburgh, Scotland had already supported MASSIVE ATTACK during their last European tour in 2016. They have released three studio albums so far, the latest of which is called ‘Cocoa Sugar’ and was released in spring this year by the legendary Ninja Tune label. They also contributed massively to the ‘T2 Trainspotting’ soundtrack, featuring six songs. They also contributed a collaboration on the ‘Ritual Spirit’ EP from MASSIVE ATTACK. However, in the recent months, the band made headlines for their support of an organization, which boycotts Israel, which in turn got them disinvited from the festival ‘Ruhrtriennale’ in neighbouring Bochum. www.young-fathers.com / https://www.facebook.com/youngfathers

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Music & Performance
The stage break this time took a little longer than expected. Around 8pm, the three YOUNG FATHERS entered the stage, accompanied by a drummer and kicked off their set. Their electronic-inspired (or “experimental”) Hip-Hop relied heavily on the three vocalists, who took turns in singing and/or rapping. Some of the songs were more energetic, firing up the crowd to some extent. However, most of it was more mellow stuff bordering on monotony, which - combined with the rather static set-up - did not leave a remarkable memory, other than that one of the singers found the time to unbuckle his trousers and stuff his shirt into his pants on stage right in the middle of a song. So for me it was kind of hard to understand, why these musicians have been hailed as the best band by MASSIVE ATTACK member 3D.

Rating
Music: 5
Performance: 5
Sound: 6
Light: 6
Total: 5.5 / 10

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Massive Attack

The band’s roots go back to the start of the last decade of the last millennium. Formed in 1988 in Bristol, the two singers Robert “3D” Del Naja and Grant “Daddy G” Marshall, together with countless other musicians (such as e.g. TRICKY), met and recorded the epic album ‘Blue Lines’, thereby shaping and forming the Bristol music scene and a then rising genre, dubbed Trip-Hop. The band has released four more albums over the years. However, fans are desperately waiting for new material to come out. Find out more about the band via https://www.massiveattack.co.uk or https://www.facebook.com/Massive-Attack-153297265505274/. However, as the band members have pulled their presence from Facebook “due to the continued disregard for privacy” in March 2018, the latter address is definitely not genuine.

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Music & Performance
Finally, it was time for band of the evening. However, the stage break took extremely long, which felt even worse because of the rising heat levels and depleting oxygen levels inside the packed venue. Around 9:10pm, the lights went out, and the seven musicians including the two masterminds went on stage, kicking off their set with the song ‘Hymn of the Big Wheel’, starring the Reggae veteran Horace Andy, who looked a little like Ezekiel from ‘The Walking Dead’. Immediately, the musical as well as visual clout of MASSIVE ATTACK hit the audience in the face. Whoever hoped for a chillin’ & trippin’ summer night music session was clearly up for something different. The presence of two drummers/ percussionists added ferocity to the band’s music, which clearly different from the studio set-up.

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In the same way, MASSIVE ATTACK have massively amped up their visual game in the form of an LED projection, which covered the whole back of the stage, featuring dizzying visual elements such as rapidly switching country flags, as well as up-to-date news headlines, or names of cultural heritage sites, devastated by the so-called ‘Islamic State’ and its allies, or correspondence of American gunship pilots. These visual elements together with the acoustic soundscape created a brooding mood which underscored the uneasy feeling some of the projected messages - likening Trump’s “the press is the enemy of the people” to Goebbel’s Nazi propaganda machine - invoked in the spectators.

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The mood was brightened a little by the guest appearances of the support acts during one song each, and by the congenial Deborah Miller, who sang the immaculate ‘Safe from Harm’, as well as the uber hit ‘Unfinished Sympathy’ during the encore in such a perfect way, giving everyone goose bumps, although it was way over 30 degrees inside the hall. After 90 minutes of playtime, it was time to adjourn, but not before - during the last song ‘Splitting the Atom’ - the messages displayed became much more positive, encouraging the audience to embrace humanity, and interact kindly with each other, something, which can’t be said (and done) enough nowadays.

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Setlist
01. Hymn of the Big Wheel (with Horace Andy)
02. Risingson
03. United Snakes
04. Ritual Spirit (with Azekel)
05. Girl I Love You (with Horace Andy)
06. Eurochild
07. Future Proof
08. Voodoo in My Blood (with Young Fathers)
09. Way up here
10. Angel (with Horace Andy)
11. Inertia Creeps
12. Safe From Harm (with Deborah Miller)
---
13. Take It There
14. Unfinished Sympathy (with Deborah Miller)
15. Splitting the Atom

Rating
Music: 8
Performance: 9
Sound: 10
Light: 10
Total: 9.5 / 10

massiveattack D4S1792 klein

All pictures by Daniela Vorndran (http://www.vorndranphotography.com / http://www.facebook.com/blackcatnet)

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