Måneskin Wrap Up Their Huge Year With A Rapturous UK Arena Show | Live Review

Manchester, AO Arena, December 19 2023

Photo: Fabio Germinario

When Måneskin made their international debut at 2021’s Eurovision Song Contest, the world collectively held its breath. With a snarl of attitude and buckets of sex appeal, the scantily clad Italians were a shoo-in – nobody could resist the foursome’s raunchy, refined vision of rock and roll.

Two years on from their Eurovision triumph, the glam rockers have continued to assert themselves as modern day rockstars; Måneskin have twisted the scrappiness of rock and roll into something plush. While old school rockers would have thrown television sets out of crappy hotel windows, these guys are staying in five star abodes decked out in velvet. It’s rock and roll wrapped in Gucci, with a diamante cherry on top.

Judging by the turnout tonight, the masses have truly taken to the superstars. This year’s ‘Rush!’ was met with mixed reviews, some still sceptical of the foursome’s contemporary brand of rock and roll – but the fans absolutely devoured it, relishing in its catchy hooks and larger-than-life riffs. So, when it was revealed that the mega Rush! World Tour was set to close out in Manchester there was one question fans were asking one another – “honey – are you coming?”

Everywhere you look, the AO Arena is packed out with fans dressed to the nines. Leather, fishnets, pearls, you name it – everyone has gone all out, the venue floor serving as its own version of a Fashion Week catwalk.

Photo: Fabio Germinario

With no support act in tow, the rockstars have made a strong statement – they need no introduction – with fans pulsing with excitement as they stare up at the red curtain obscuring the stage. Many bands would fear a cold entrance, but the mere knowledge that the Italian stars will be gracing the stage soon is enough to warm up the fans alone.

Suddenly, the room darkens. It is time.

As opener ‘Don’t Wanna Sleep’ eventually rumbles out, lights blast from behind the curtain, the towering silhouettes of Måneskin dancing across the red fabric. It’s already too much for some – fans are screeching, swooning at the mere outline of frontman Damiano David approaching the shadow of a suspended microphone.

As the curtain drops, the arena erupts into deafening howls. “DON’T WANNA SLEEP AT ALL!” Damiano David yelIs into the mic, nearly drowned out by the sheer volume of the crowd. Despite being significantly smaller than their colossal shadows, the foursome’s stage presence somehow measures up perfectly – there’s a distinctive star power emanating from each member as they riff and roar on stage in their swanky black and red suits.

‘Gossip’ only spurs on the crowd, rousing punters to bounce along as Damiano works the crowd. By the time they knock out their Eurovison award winning track ‘Zitti E Buoni’, it’s clear that tonight is already in the bag, the whole room eating out of Måneskin’s hands.

“This is a very special night,” Damiano takes a second to reflect in the midst of the chaos. “It’s finally the last gig of this endless tour… and we’re very happy to be ending this tour off in England.”

Photo: Fabio Germinario

And the crowd are equally as chuffed, desperate to prove to the Italians that they made the right call. The sultry, anthemic ‘Honey (Are You Coming?)’ pulses out next, the hook-heavy pop rock banger going down a treat as its bouyant riffs surge out over the crowd.

Despite Damiano’s bravado, his ability to switch between lustful anthems and love-adled ballads is commendable. The hush that falls over the arena as ‘Coraline’ takes hold is striking, the stripped back number leaving fans in awe before they croon along, mobile phone lights sparkling and twinkling across the arena.

“Ladies and gentlemen, we got serious for a couple of minutes there,” David apologises. “Now we can get back to being sluts – sorry. Cunts. That’s better… and now, the song that made us the most famous cunts in the world.”

With a sly grin, David turns away from the mic – and the group immediately crash into their sultry cover of The Four Seasons’ ‘Beggin’’. The cheeky, slutty energy the band exude isn’t for everyone – but there’s something very charming and playful about the tongue-in-cheek nature of their outright lustful antics.

And the sexual energy never takes away from the high-energy on display throughout. It seems bassist Victoria De Angelis is constantly diving into the crowd – gracefully cruising through the mass of fans, the elevated neck of her red bass the only sign of her journey as it peeks up over the sea of heads.

The bombastic rockstars do, however, pull things back for an acoustic number over on a second, more intimate stage. “And now, the moment me and Thomas have been waiting for, because we’re selfish,” Damiano laughs as him and guitarist Thomas Raggi get into position.

“We’ve tried to do a unique song for each city,” Damiano explains. “Manchester was hard, because this city gave birth to a lot of great artists. We’re sure if the band we chose ever hear this cover one day, they’re gonna think it’s fucking trash…”

Photo: Fabio Germinario

A scream comes from the crowd – “PLAY WONDERWALL!!” The rockstars laugh – Måneskin were one step ahead. Electing to knock out some Oasis, the duo instead perform the equally as poignant classic ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’, much to the Mancunian crowd’s delight as everyone belts along wholeheartedly.

Back on the main stage, the group knock out ‘I Wanna Be Your Slave’ – and Thomas somehow manages to pop a cig into his mouth, riffing as he puffs away. It’s almost ridiculous in how on-the-nose rock and roll it feels – but it still feels pretty darn cool.

“The majority of fans here are English… Bri’ish, sorry,” Damiano jokes. “But you will know this one word. And the word is… Mammamia!!”

And the crowd certainly do – proudly belting along to ‘Mammamia!’ as Damiano prances round stage, a sassy hand on his hip. ‘Bla Bla Bla’ feels equally as scandalous and drenched in sass, Damiano’s eyes rolling, feigning disinterest, as he barrels into the group’s most attitude-heavy, bratty anthem.

‘Kool Kids’ serves as the set highlight, however. While Måneskin’s bombastic rockstar veneer may at times feel orchestrated, a carefully crafted caricature of excess, there’s no denying the joy it contains. As fans are invited on stage to dance and sing along to the punk-tinged banger, the blasé rockstar front is momentarily fractured – the effortlessly cool, brooding gaze of Victoria cracks as she grins, laughing as fans fall to their knees at the same time as her.

The fans know the Måneskin playbook by heart – they anticipate when Victoria will drop to knock out a meaty bassline, or when Thomas will come down to crowdsurf. But they absolutely love it.

As a gaggle of Santas bound over and sing to drummer Ethan Torchio behind his kit, another sticks a Santa hat on Victoria. Another group start to jokingly bow down to Thomas as he knocks out a blisteringly cool riff, all the while David is yelling “cool kids, we are cool kids!”

And, in that moment, you can’t help but believe him. Måneskin perform decked out in decadent leather outfits and brooding smoky eyed make-up as they sell sex, drugs and rock and roll – but there’s also something incredibly cool about this earnest display of silly, innocent, frivolous joy.

Photo: Fabio Germinario

Måneskin are the rockstars of today, like it or not. There’s something great about the tongue-in-cheek grit of it all, earnestly exploring rage and lust and everything inbetween with a melodramatic sheen. As the foursome shamelesly knock out  ‘I Wanna Be Your Slave’ for a second time, Damiano puts it best: “all the haters can suck my dick!”.

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