Wednesday, 17 July 2013

In Manchester: 1 – Massive Attack vs Adam Curtis


I’ve just attended 10 shows in Manchester over two weekends of the 2013 Manchester International Festival.  Every single show was amazing in its own way.   I should admit to a slight bias – I chair the commissioning circle for the Festival.  That said, I am incredibly proud of my involvement with this really unique and outstanding event.   I also think I went to 10 post-show parties.  I have decided not to drink for a bit!

Massive Attack vs Adam Curtis

I love Bristol post punk music.  If I ever get on to Desert Island Discs then the Pop Group’s “She is Beyond Good and Evil” would definitely be on my playlist.  Massive Attack, coming out of the same mindset in the eighties, are right up my street too.  

Adam Curtis’s documentaries, most of which I have seen, are a bit less central to my life – while he’s got some great and important ideas his polemic goes over the top a bit, perhaps counterproductively.  

However together, the combination of the band and the documentary made for a new art form.  Peter Saville describes it as “Grown up pop music”.   I’d say it was the best way to see a documentary ever - it’s like the conscious bit of my mind was fully consumed by the bass being cranked up to 11, so the Adam Curtis messages, however far fetched, bypassed my critical faculties and were injected straight into my brain.  A sort of voluntary brain washing.

The band hid behind screens, and played other people’s music.  As an act of supreme professionalism and self-confidence, it left me in awe.   The cover of Suicide’s “Dream Baby Dream” is still echoing in my head a week later.    Hope they record it sometime.

With P&V before the concert

I have realised too that I have done a lot since my last post - for example going to Tokyo to see a play.  I might have to become a bit chronologically non-linear in my posting.

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