Massive Attack have been performing well over 20 years with their gritty artistic and incredibly creative sound. Born of the Bristol sound-system scene of the 80's they combined sampling and looping electronica with a down-tempo hip-hop elements to become masters of their own genre, dubbed Trip-Hop. They have always had a great visual aspect, their videos being a cinematic experience and with the visual show an integral part of the live experience and this weekend MASSIVE ATTACK headlined BST Hyde Park with other performances throughout the day from Young Fathers, Patti Smith, TV on The Radio, Warpaint and Ghostpoet.
Legendary singer-songwriter, poet, writer and activist Patti Smith is one of the most influential figures to come out of the late 70’s New York scene as the ‘Punk Poet Laureate’. Last year saw the 40th anniversary of her seminal album ‘Horses’, which is often cited as one of the best albums of all time. Beginning with a poem, Footnote to Howl by Alan Ginsberg, Patti Smith and her band gave a great performance with her classic Because The Night, a tribute to Prince with a version of When Doves Cry and of course Land (Horses) which ran right into a cover of Gloria to the delight of the audience.
TV on The Radio are one of the leaders of Brooklyn’s indie renaissance with their distinct blend of propulsive art-rock and raw soul. They played a great set but were disappointed with the Hyde Park set up ... the majority of the crowd can only get so far forward "it's a shame you guys are so far away ... can we get these guys forward?" Unfortunately not. It was still a great set with the bouncing indie Lazerray and finale Staring At The Sun being particular highlights.
California's Warpaint have a unique brand of intricate guitar lines, hypnotic vocals and driving post punk rhythms. Currently finishing up a new album which should come out later this year they are really ones to watch this year, their set was great showing they deserve the hype that is building around them.
Following his emergence and the Mercury-nominated debut Peanut Butter & Melancholy Jam in 2011, London-based Ghostpoet has marked his own path, propelled by the sonic illuminations of his third, and once again Mercury-nominated album, 2015’s Shedding Skin. For us his set was the highlight of the day and drew such a great and enthusiastic crowd.
The sultry tones and bass-filled clashing and merging sounds within Cash & Carry Me Home and especially Finished I Ain't filled the Barclaycard stage area with an ambience that enveloped the audience with all manner of people getting into the music.
With the beautifully haunting duet vibes of X Marks The Spot and the reverence of Msi Musmid (check out the free download link below - we recommend you play this VERY loud for full immersion!) the whole performance was an absolute pleasure to experience - well worthy of a spot on the Main Stage.
Massive Attack recently released their Ritual Spririt EP and completed a sold out tour of the UK and Europe. Mercury Prize winning Young Fathers are familiar to Massive Attack fans, the Edinburgh trio has supported the band on their recent European tour and they gave a great show within the Massive Attack slot, including their collaboration Voodoo In My Blood.
Reggae legend Horace Andy was wheeled onstage after being unwell to the delight of the crowd and to Massive Attack themselves for Angel his distinctive vocals were great to witness live and after his performance was taken off "straight back to the hospital". With a velvety passion in his voice and the guys on stage showing such admiration for him to be there this was the absolute highlight of the set.
Playing Eurochild for the first time live since '98, getting on for 20 years later, this song is still highly relevant and poignant with Tricky's iconic lyrics ... Hell it seems is still Round The Corner. Tricky made an appearance onstage with Massive Attack for their most recent collaboration Take It There,
There was even a double rainbow over Hyde Park's Great Oak Stage and as the sun lowered in the sky the atmosphere was far more befitting their dramatic style.
The day finished with Safe From Harm in the encore and finally Unfinished Sympathy's beautiful soulfulness closed the set with full strings on stage and a backdrop emblazoned with the slogan "We Are In This Together". With their political musings throughout "this ... is bull****", and their thought-provoking, creative and beautiful sound it truly was an engaging show.