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30th April 2006 - Coachella Festival, Palm Springs, USA

coachella 2006

‘Collected’ Is Cool
Massive Attack’s new best-of – and Coachella show – should win more U.S. fans:
Thanks, iPod. While the back catalogs of big acts are still gold mines for record labels, the singles-oriented MP3 generation is throwing a digital monkey wrench into the cash cow of greatest-hits compilations. What’s the use of buying such collections when they’re already out there in webland for the taking, when the dorm-room set has already downloaded its own mixtape versions of these precious vaults? Give it to the so-called suits in the electronic-music industry: They get it. It’s called value. Take the new best-of, Collected, by down-tempo pioneer Massive Attack. It gives you massive musical love, from a 14-track greatest-near-hits CD dating back to its 1991 debut, to a 10-track bonus disc of unreleased and under-played tunes, to a 16-video, flipside DVD, including director Michel Gondry’s visual version of “Protection.” It’s so good, it will have you scratching your head, wondering why some of the bonus-disc tracks haven’t seen more light of day (“I Want You,” featuring Madonna; “Small Time Shoot ‘Em Up,” featuring Damon Albarn of Gorillaz).
“The reason we put out the double CD is because, at the end of the day, anybody can download and make their own play list,” says Massive Attack’s Daddy G., a.k.a. Grant Marshall.
There’s no freshman mixtape compiler in the world who’s going to duplicate the flow of disc one, which was put together with storytelling in mind by Marshall and Robert Del Naja. It starts with the eerie, Thriller-esque aura of “Safe From Harm” and eventually takes you down, down, down to the suspenseful “Angel,” then on to the sweet delicacy of “Teardrop,” and before you know it Tracey Thorn is all-timing it with her gorgeous, heartfelt “Protection.” Disc one peaks with the singsong, symphonic shuffle of “Unfinished Sympathy,” one of England’s favorite songs of all time. When “Risingson” starts growling, you might find yourself wondering if this is the greatest hip-hop band America never had.
“We were thinking about making music you could sit down and think to,” says Marshall, explaining the group’s “Wild Bunch” genesis in Bristol, England, at the dawn of the ’90s. “It wasn’t dance music, it was listening music. That sparked people’s imaginations. And that’s why people use our music for documentaries and film.”
Indeed, Massive Attack has had much success licensing its cinematic sound to the domestic cinema business. (Is it even possible to stage a showdown without “Angel”?) And Collected, released earlier this month, has already had a run at the top of the U.K. album chart. Yet, the sometime collective has had a hard time cracking the American musical consciousness. Of course, the rise of the Attack happened when hip-hop was tapping into an increasingly outlandish and violent modus – pleasing white fans, appeasing the chart gods, but sometimes bypassing the art of music for more upfront communiqués. Massive Attack, on the other hand, used the urgency of hip-hop’s sampladelic grooves, but maintained a shroud of artistic subtlety and simmering inner strength with its symphonic strings and tricky (and sometimes Tricky) lyrics. It’s like the on-screen difference between Jean-Claude Van Damme talking tough, and Robert De Niro showing it without a word. But the brooding and sometimes sensitive style of Massive Attack never really penetrated U.S. charts or airwaves.
“We’ve never done as well as we thought we should have in America,” says Marshall, 46. “Of course it bothers us. If there’s one market you want to be in, this is it. It’s maybe our image, and the music is hard to pigeonhole.”
Perhaps the band’s next album, Weather Underground, due early next year, will break through. Marshall says the crew has already recorded 15 tracks, with TV on the Radio and Albarn contributing, and the possibility that David Bowie and Hope Sandoval will step in later.
“I’m not good at labels,” Marshall says. “It’s Massive Attack music. We’ve always got like drums and guitars and all the instruments. And we bring in other band members to interpret ideas we have. We’re trying to keep it as organic as possible so it’s easily transferable to the stage.”
He’s also hoping that the group’s time on stage at Coachella on Sunday, which will include a band of nine and two 30-foot-tall LED screens, will at least help convince some of America’s critical establishment that Massive Attack is here to stay.
“People say if you’re going to do one festival in America, this is the one,” Marshall says. “This gives us another bite at the cherry.”
by Dennis Romero http://www.lacitybeat.com/article.php?id=3656&IssueNum=151

Coachella Stage 9:10-10:20
False Flags / Risingson / Man Next Door / Future Proof / Karmacoma / Teardrop / Angel / Safe From Harm / Inertia Creeps / Unfinished Sympathy / Group Four

Five Man Army
Submitted by Raymond Flotat
On 2006-05-01 02:04:36
Massive Attack staked claim here as reigning king of all that is Trip Hop. 3D and Daddy G, accompanied by a dream squad of vocalists (Horace Andy, Elizabeth Frazer, Shara Nelson) let loose this attack with all the patience and accuracy one might ever hope for in an electronic group. Electing to use real drums and bass playing instead of sampled ones from the real tracks Massive Attack supplied close to all their best songs. "Karmacoma," "Safe From Harm," "Inertia Creeps," "Man Next Door" and "Risingson" are a paltry few of the cavalcade they served up. The slow BPM and methodical layout of each track was perfect after a weekend of nonstop exertion.
A few songs in particular stood out as knockdown performances. Liz Fraser's subdued performance of the angelic "Teardrop" had the audience singing. Horacy Andy's haunting vocals drilled the seriousness of Mezzanine track "Angel" home. And to finish off the evening, 3D joined Fraser for a rocking finale with the shifting "Group Four." A performance worthy of a festival of such prestige. It was the type of thing you might not normally have a chance to see, and were thankful you had the chance.

View from the mezzanine
Submitted by Adam Blyweiss
On 2006-05-01 01:54:27
For a band no
t on tour in the States in quite a while, Massive Attack sure knows how to handle an American audience. We like our guitars and our reggae and our cool collaborations. 3D, Daddy G, and Neil Davidge pulled out those stops from their collection. It was a somewhat strange song selection: Only "Karmacoma" came from Protection, and their new song was the b-side to "Live with Me," "False Flags." Six songs came from Mezzanine, the rock-tinged album that almost took them away from trip-hop, while parts of the evening's set also featured guests like longtime collaborator Horace Andy and Cocteau Twins vocalist Liz Fraser. Fraser more than made up for the Twins' absence from Coachella 2005; she sounded awfully soft on "Teardrop" but got loud during the blistering finale "Group Four." Massive Attack is not the music of safe choices, and they provided few on this night, but fans starved for good trip-hop and more made the right choice watching this band on this night.


photos by Efrain Leyva