If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve probably seen a bunch of gig videos posted on my channels last weekend and wonder wtf was going on. The videos were from Måneskin gig at London’s OSLO Hackney. Måneskin are an Italian band that sing both in Italian and in English, and this is why you should care about them.
If you want to read about this gig in Italian, click here
Disclaimer: Me and My Weird Poser Life
A while back, Måneskin’s gig would have probably been a tad out of my comfort zone. They are a rock band, but closer to Arctic Monkeys than, I don’t know, Led Zeppelin. And I was very judgemental in my taste: I grew up as a teenager rejecting emos, punk rock and pop rock in favour of Guns N’Roses, Alice Cooper and a bunch of over-sixty rockers. Maybe because in Sardinia even teenage angst came with a slight delay.
I lost my gig virginity in 2008, during a summer vacation in Southampton to improve my English. I had to beg our holiday group leader to allow me to see Alice Cooper at the tender age of 14. I ended up in the second row, picking up a fake necklace Alice licked and threw to the crowd during a song called Dirty Diamonds. I left super excited and smelling like the beer some Poison lookalikes managed to throw onto my hair.
More Alice gigs followed, and then Opeth, Dream Theater, black metal band Satyricon, the Rolling Stones, Motorhead, Black Sabbath, Soundgarden, Soulfly, Fath No More, Marilyn Manson, Scar The Martyr (AVOID AVOID AVOID) and many other smaller bands seen in between London and Italy. I can only imagine how horrified 15-year-old me would have been to learn that, at 26, she’d like a popular band like Måneskin.
JK. Since I started pole dancing and twerking, I have become a bit less obsessed with my very narrow teenage musical taste. I discovered Drake, R&B and rap. Even if I’m still a rock/metal chick at heart, I stopped wearing oversized band t-shirts that made me look like a tiny female version of the main characters from Wayne’s World. I got really into pop music, and unfortunately, I had to admit that rappers, instead of rockers, are becoming the voice of the fight against social injustice… or of teenage angst.
I first heard about Måneskin after their performance of Kiss This, when during an X Factor Italy episode the band’s frontman Damiano David pole danced. I don’t really watch reality TV (RuPaul’s Drag Race aside), so I only saw the performance when a bunch of friends tagged me in the video, because of course they did.
Soon I realised that Damiano wasn’t an actual pole dancer, and that whether the band went to the X Factor or not, they actually had talent and a lot to say. Their album, Il Ballo della Vita (“the dance of life”) was quickly certified gold, and their songs Torna a Casa (“Come back home”) turned platinum. Some of their Italian and English hits below:
The singer’s powerful, rock n’roll meets reggae voice works both as a radio hit and as a rockier type song, and the whole band’s sassy, indie look, makes them stand out from what we’ve seen in the past:
Before The Gig
So now we get to the actual night of the gig – which by the way was sold out. Twice. Exhibit A, or OSLO Hackney on the second night:
The doors were set to open at 7 PM. Since I love OSLO, which by the way serves up a killer Sunday Roast, I got there early because I had the day off and wanted to chill with a beer. It had been a heavy week: my students had flooded me with emails because they were worried about coursework. And, I should probably mention, they are the same age as the band: between 19 and 20, and they think I’m ancient. Well, reader, I wasn’t the most “ancient” person at the gig.
I have never been part of, or met, anyone from a fan club. My favourite musicians could be my parents or my grandparents, and they’ve already had their peak – both in looks and in success. Each time I’ve been to a gig I’d walk in, have a chat with nearby fans, enjoy the concert and leave (often smelling like beer and sweat). They do have fan clubs, but fans have relatively chilled out by the time the bands hit 50.
At Måneskin’s gig, I ran into the most active and passionate fan club I’ve ever seen. They were mainly Italian women, in between 15 and 50 years old. They’d been waiting at OSLO since 9 am that morning, and they were staying at the same hotel as the band. They’d been following them throughout their European tour, which so far included dates in Spain, France and Belgium.
To meet them, all you had to do was walk into OSLO and speak Italian. They all knew each other and came from all over Italy. They asked everyone who walked in to take a number and queue up, like at the doctor, so that they wouldn’t lose their place in the queue. There were arguments over who was going in first, and there was complete awe of Damiano and the band, with a passion not unlike what Beatlemania must have been like.
This shouldn’t surprise you. Måneskin are Italy’s hottest band right now, and Damiano has become the rock n’roll sex symbol Italians have been waiting for. He even told Cosmopolitan Italia that his fans’ mothers touch his butt during meet and greets – which would explain why he disappeared straight after the gig!
The Måneskin Gig
Having got there so early, I was in the front row and enjoyed all the main on-stage shenanigans. Shortly after the start, I realised I was having a lot more fun than during some of my idols’ gigs. Måneskin are energetic, funny, and considerate towards their fans. In a mix of Italian and English, they introduced their main album, which uses “Marlena” as the band’s muse and inspiration, explaining their journey towards success.
Everyone in the band jumped, danced, joked with the crowd – something older singers sometimes forget to do. I remember how disappointed I was after seeing one of my idols, Marilyn Manson, burn a couple of bibles and then go home. Sure, Manson is probably over his whole persona by now, but with his scandalous reputation I couldn’t help but be disappointed about how little he seemed to care about putting on a show during his last gigs.
Instead, Damiano did what my favourite frontmen used to do in live recordings of their shows: he danced, touched hands, took clothes off. He didn’t pole dance this time, but the gig was entertaining enough without any extra nakedness.
The track list featured all the songs from their most recent album, Il Ballo Della Vita, and older songs and covers like Chosen and Recovery. Måneskin left the album’s most popular song – Torna a Casa – for last and let the audience sing with them. They knew all the words.
So Why Should We Care About Måneskin?
Even though they shot to fame in their late teens, Måneskin have stayed humble, approachable and fun. They probs thought I was stalking them because, since they were staying five minutes away from my house, I ran into them three times. Still, when I spoke to Damiano, he was chill and pleasant and keen to help me try and get more tickets. Still probably thought I was a creep. Oh well.
But should you, non-Italian audiences, care about Måneskin? I think you really should. Even for an English-speaking public, Måneskin have something different that we’re not seeing much of in the music business. Although I love some rap and trap artists, they are slowly becoming one and the same. Måneskin’s reggae-like indie rock is uplifting, danceable and different.
Måneskin have that old rock n’roll energy, with a modern approach. I had a great time at the gig, and I am pretty sure that even 15-year-old me would have been satisfied with the experience. It remains to be seen if they’ll keep writing in English enough for an English-speaking audience to take notice, but I think they’ve got what it takes.
Pictures and videos: @bloggeronpole