Massive Attack Debuts New Songs At London Return

Hamish Brown
Massive Attack

Massive Attack debuted new songs from its long-awaited fifth album and performed with Blur frontman Damon Albarn at the first night of its tour at London's Brixton Academy.

The British electronic act - which comprises Robert "3D" Del Naja and Grant "Daddy G" Marshall - will follow the Sept. 17 opener at the 5,000-capacity O2 Academy Brixton with two further sold-out shows (Sept. 18-19) at the south London venue. The U.K. tour is promoted by SJM.

For fans at the opening night, the LED backdrop and accomplished live band was familiar from their less extensive tour last year including the Meltdown festival in London, which they curated. But songs debuted last year had been re-worked and the Brixton set was dominated by brand new material.

"I think things are changing, I don't think people expect to hear an album they know and then go and hear it live, I think people are much more intelligent than that," Del Naja told Billboard in May.

After the opening instrumental of "Bulletproof Love" - a recorded version features Elbow's Guy Garvey and appears on Oct. 5's "Splitting the Atom" EP (Virgin/EMI) - by the touring band, Massive Attack performed on a further eight new songs.

After several delays, the comeback album is due in February 2010 - seven years after previous set "100th Window."

There was also a new guest vocalist for this tour - support act Martina Topley Bird, best known as a collaborator with ex-Massive Attack member Tricky. Regular guest vocalist Horace Andy was also on board, along with Deborah Miller who sang on "Unfinished Sympathy" and "Safe From Harm."

Albarn appeared on stage for the end of "Splitting the Atom," and then took lead vocals on new song "Saturday Come Slow."

The band ended with "Karmacoma," which Del Naja dedicated to Patrick Swayze.

The tour continues through the U.K. then heads to Europe. U.S. dates are likely to be confirmed for early next year, according to Del Naja.

The Brixton set list was as follows:

"Bulletproof Love" (band instrumental)
"Heartcliff Star"
"16 Seeter"
"Rising Son"
"Red Light"
"Safe From Harm"
"Inertia Creeps"
"Splitting the Atom"
"Saturday Come Slow"
"Unfinished Sympathy"