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Massive Attack at Malkin Bowl

Massive Attack at Malkin Bowl, May 29 2010. Jade Dempsey photo

Massive Attack at Malkin Bowl, May 29 2010. Jade Dempsey photo

– photos by Jade Dempsey/text by Robyn Hanson

Note: Ms. Hanson assures Guttersnipe readers that “this review comes from a casual Massive Attack fan who went to the show more out of curiosity than out of duty.” Here, in point form, is her review of the band’s appearance on a rainy Saturday night in Vancouver…


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Massive Attack at Malkin Bowl, Vancouver, May 29 2010. Jade Dempsey concert photo for www.thesnipenews.com

– Massive Attack is not meant to play daytime shows. The band was definitely out of its element playing in the daylight, especially to a group of rain-soaked fools, but as it got darker (which, at this time of the year, is well past 9 p.m.), the light show and fog (yes, they even had a fog machine – a tad redundant) developed a better-suited environment for a Massive Attack show. Hence, it got better as the night went on.
– No booze on premises means an uncharacteristically sober concert experience… with exception to inhaling everyone’s pot around me.
– Lots and lots of political baggage… er,… geopolitical messages on LED lightboards about BP, Arizona, and Israel. A lightboard behind the stage set the mood with not only political messages, but quotes from authors, political pundits, and the occasional random stat (infused in more geopolitics).
– The rain really wasn’t that bad at all.
– The smell of the cedars in Stanley Park and that lush forest air are a fantastic remedy for bad hangovers.
– A slight disconnect seemed to exist between audience and performers at first, although the band seemed to get into the swing of things.
– The audience seemed to be a diverse, predominantly older (than 29-year-old me) one.
– The setlist included a variety of tracks from older albums, including “Unfinished Sympathy”, “Angel”, “Teardrop”, “Inertia Creeps”, “Splitting the Atom”, “Risingson”, and “Safe from Harm”, to the delight of old-school Massive Attack fans.
– Circulating singing duties included Martina Topley Bird (who also opened), Horace Andy, Daddy G, 3D, and Deborah Miller, which meant a dynamic show with various moods.

Massive Attack at Malkin Bowl, May 29 2010. Jade Dempsey photo

Massive Attack at Malkin Bowl, May 29 2010. Jade Dempsey photo

– Band members really hated the fact that they were stuck with a curfew, and swore several times out of frustration at the lameness of No Fun City.
– The show was sold out and the rain didn’t keep nearly as many people away as I had anticipated.
– Random observation: lineup for coffee looked like it was over 100 people long…
– The crowd enthusiastically applauded every song and the band was mutually appreciative, with members cracking jokes about bringing the rain with them and so on. Although it felt weird to clap after every Massive Attack song… seemed so small potatoes after the epic nature of a Massive Attack song.
– I was just happy to see them perform “Angel”… vocalist Horace Andy stole the show with that one, in my opinion.
– For those who sat at home because of the rain, you missed a solid show by one of those legendary bands who helped define an entire genre… who are also unlikely to be back here any time soon.
– The group made references to Vancouver weed being stronger than Bristol weed…
– The show would had been amazing had I had a plastic cup of wine, or 5…

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