Iiiiit’s Eurovision week, and it’s hitting a little differently in the UK this year. Up in the North West, tens of thousands have descended upon host city Liverpool, gathering for much more than just a piss-up at the carnival of camp that is the Song Contest. There’s no irony to it, they’re just there to celebrate music: it even brought Frankie Goes To Hollywood out of retirement for their first gig in 36 years. Down in London, there’s a similarly seismic and surprising spectacle: past Eurovision victors Måneskin are playing to 20,000 glammed-up fans at the sold-out O2 Arena. Who saw this coming?
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As the rumbling intro to ‘Don’t Wanna Sleep’ begins, four silhouettes are beamed onto a red curtain before revealing the leather-clad cowboys/girls alongside a lighting rig worthy of Mötley Crüe. Douze points for melodrama. The hedonistic rock’n’roll circus begins with the romp of ‘Gossip’ before the snarling Italian-language ‘Zitti E Buoni’ – the song that won them Eurovision – has its empowering call-to-arms hollered back by the masses as if in their native tongue. “This is a big venue,” smirks frontman Damiano David. “Fuck yeah, it’s very good to be here – let’s make it memorable.”
Most bands would kill to just have a fraction of the charisma that oozes out of Måneskin, but here it feels like you have four people all vying to be the frontperson. Teens scream back at bassist Victoria De Angelis and axe-master Thomas Raggi who, both on their knees, are competing to see who can shred harder. Meanwhile, the flair of Ethan Torchio draws the eye to the back of the room more than most drummers; as a unit, they hark back to the party-starting energy of latter day Prince and 3RDEYEGIRL.
Highlights include the galaxy of phone screens greeting ‘Coraline’, the pyro-assisted gut punch of ‘Gasoline’, and the glam-slam outing of ‘I Wanna Be Your Slave’. However, it’s all building up to one thing with ‘Kool Kids’. “It’s a song we’ve been criticised a lot for because they say we copy you fucking British,” says David of the song’s IDLES-esque punk pastiche – “it’s a little bit true!”
He continues: “We’re hated all around the world for this tradition, but again we don’t give a shit”. Inviting a small army of fans in fishnets and leather to invade the stage, you see the cult of Måneskin manifest. There’s no mention of Eurovision and they’ve dropped their covers of indie disco hits (including Franz Ferdinand’s ‘Take Me Out’) from the setlist. It’s a sign of how far they’ve come on their own terms with two fingers up to the haters. You don’t need gimmicks, you just need a good time.
‘DON’T WANNA SLEEP’
‘ZITTI E BUONI’
‘OWN MY MIND’
‘IN NOME DEL PADRE’
‘FOR YOUR LOVE’
‘TORNA A CASA’
‘IF NOT FOR YOU’
‘I WANNA BE YOUR SLAVE’
‘I WANNA BE YOUR SLAVE’