Wow, where do I begin? I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Måneskin multiple times, and each show is as phenomenal as the last. Unlike the professionalism with which they perform their songs as if it were their first time, I find it challenging to describe just how incredible this band is without sounding repetitive.
The quartet of Damiano David on vocals, Victoria De Angelis on (thundering) bass, Thomas Raggi on guitar, and the INCREDIBLE Ethan Torchio on drums won some awesome awards (it is well documented, so I won’t rehash that here), launching them to stardom and helping make them the biggest band to ever come from Italy.
There are numerous venues in Los Angeles where they could have performed, but on this tour stop, they graced the iconic (Kia) Forum, which I still refer to as The Fabulous Forum. This venue has hosted many legendary rock acts, such as Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, David Bowie, and of course, the greatest rock ‘n’ roll band of all time, The Rolling Stones. There are many more illustrious performers who have graced the stage at The Fabulous Forum, and Måneskin will undoubtedly join that prestigious list.
You might wonder why I’m including them in the “legendary” category at such an early stage in their career. Well, in today’s world, dominated by hip-hop, auto-tune, and subpar pop music, these 23 and 24 year olds are reintroducing a younger world to music that’s written, recorded, and played live on real instruments by the artists themselves. They’re a rock band with a modern twist on the genre and a primal, uncontrived sexual energy that remains faithful to the rock music tradition, just like the legendary bands that came before them. They are single-handedly forging their unique path to the pinnacle of the rock world.
Once I made my way inside, I got to experience the company of the people I connect with best: Måneskin’s devoted fans. These are the people that know every word to both unreleased and newly released material. The sea of people holding signs expressing their adoration for Damiano, Victoria, Thomas, and Ethan was overwhelming. The atmosphere was electric, and for the first time, I felt at home. I finally felt truly connected.
As they’ve done in the past, there was no opening band, and to be honest, there are very few openers that won’t be forgotten as soon as the main show is over, so why waste anyone’s time?
When the house lights dimmed, the stage lights behind the big red curtain at the front began to flash, and an extended opening beat of “Don’t Wanna Sleep” played, building up the anticipation before dropping to reveal the rock gods charging towards us like a freight train. The fans went wild, and that energy carried through the entire night.
On their new album “Rush!” the song “Gossip” features a special guest, Tom Morello from Rage Against the Machine, on guitar. Given that we were in LA, I was secretly hoping for a special appearance from him. However, as “Gossip” was only the second song, it became clear that it wasn’t going to happen. But just as they don’t need an opening act, they don’t need guest appearances either. The song was still just as incredible live as it is on record.
Next up was a crowd and band favorite “Zitti e Buoni” a song in Italian were Raggi impressively plays his guitar behind his head, while De Angelis skillfully plucks her bass at his feet, on her knees, which no matter how many times they do this the audience goes crazy every time.
Then came the newly-released track, “Honey (Are U Coming),” where David’s captivating voice matches his charismatic presence as he sings the catchy chorus. After a rocking version of “SuperModel,” they delivered “Coralline,” a beautiful Italian ballad that touches your soul even if you don’t understand the words. David transforms his gravelly voice into a velvety tone for “Coraline,” sung with closed eyes amidst a backdrop of purple lights.
This was followed by their big breakthrough hit in America, a cover of the Four Seasons’ song “Beggin’.” When listening to the original compared to their cover, there’s really only hints of the original; they have taken it, making it their own work of art. A fresh new version to introduce a younger generation to great older American music that may otherwise be lost in time.
Another fresh, unreleased song, “The Driver,” (which is added to the “Rush!” extended album with “Honey (Are U Coming)”) followed, and then “For Your Love.”
The next standout moment was their remarkable performance of “Gasoline,” where each band member stood shoulder to shoulder, separated only by torrents of roaring flames. The spectacle and the emotions behind this performance left a deep impression.
After what seemed almost as long as an intermission, we found David and Raggi had made their way to the acoustic stage where we were gifted an acoustic rendition of “Time Zone” and Billie Eilish’s “Happier Than Ever.”
Returning to the main stage, we were entertained by an ever-so-rare bass and drum solo. This was special to me because, honestly, its De Angelis and Torchio that are the highlight; the heartbeat of what drives this band with the punch in the gut we’re here for.
Not allowing that moment to steal the show completely, the full band launched into an assault that thrilled the crowd with “I Wanna Be Your Slave,” “Mammamia,” and a fantastic rock version of Kendrick Lamar’s song, “Humble.”
The set continued with “In Nome del Padre” and “Bla Bla Bla,” culminating in “Kool Kids,” where they invited audience members to join them onstage.
The encore began with a breathtaking Thomas Raggi guitar solo, an ethereal slide into the abyss that was impossible to tear your ears away from. This led into what might be the greatest sad song ever, “The Loneliest.” To those unfamiliar with the song, it may seem somber, however, akin to “Stairway to Heaven” in its emotionally charged nature. At first, I thought it might be about death or even suicide, but after countless listens, I believe it’s more about a forced separation that neither of them desired. It felt like the death of one to the other, kind of like a modern Romeo and Juliet. It’s an absolutely beautiful, yet melancholic song.
In true Måneskin fashion, they closed the show with a reprise of “I Wanna Be Your Slave,” lifting our spirits and leaving us yearning for more, much like the aftermath of a truly satisfying experience – like good sex!