One of Massive Attack’s founders, Robert del Naja, originally gained fame as a graffiti artist and continues to create visual art, so naturally Massive Attack’s show at the Auditorium Stravinski had a major visual component.
First, Massive Attack backed up the singer Martina Topley Bird, who may share makeup and a seamstress with Lady Gaga, but little else. Haunting and dreamy, Bird came out again and again, punctuating Massive Attack’s own performances. In an unusual setup, the band had its two drummers set up at extreme stage left and stage right.
Against a vast backdrop, red, white and black images punctuated Massive Attack’s blend of rap, electronica, distortion and hard, hard rock. Slides of Iraqui protests, quotes from George Bush and Tony Blair (among others), prices per pill for drugs (both legal and misused) contrasting with the names and stock prices of Fortune 500 companies, and pure data in code flashed across the backdrop, more as mood-setters than information, since most of it went by too fast to digest. Nonetheless, coupled with the music, the point was made: Stop, look and listen. All is not well in the world.
– Suzanne Cadgène