It’s been a whirlwind 18 months for Måneskin. After nabbing the trophy at Eurovision in May 2021, the Italian rockers notched a win that’s eluded most of that contest’s victors: they scored a Stateside hit on the Billboard Hot 100, via a furious garage rock revamp of the Four Seasons’ “Beggin’” no less. After that went on to top the Alternative Airplay and Rock & Alternative Airplay charts, they followed it up with another Alternative Airplay No. 1, the RHCP-flavored “Supermodel.”
Now, amidst their American leg of their The Loud Kids Tour, the quartet is pulling off another trend-flaunting feat: They’re making teenagers care about a new rock band for the first time in years. Of course, this isn’t to say there aren’t rock concerts attracting Gen Z crowds or worthy newcomers netting fervent followings. But Måneskin are one of the few young rock bands making mainstream headway in America — especially among audiences that see the CD as a retro artifact.
Hell, if you Google “Måneskin concert,” the search engine’s first “people also ask” suggestion is, “How old do you have to be to go to a Måneskin concert?” And sure enough, for two sold-out nights at New York City’s Hammerstein Ballroom (Dec. 2-3), a predominantly teen and twentysomething crowd slathered in glitter gave a rabid response to the glam-sleaze rockers.
With good reason. Frontman Damiano David might pull you in with his lithe hip swings and shirtless stage prowling (the band puts the ‘skin’ in Måneskin), but he seals the deal with a controlled earthy growl that comes across like masterful auditory edging – particularly during “Touch Me,” a live highlight that has yet to see release on Spotify.
Similarly, while in NYC, guitarist Thomas Raggi ripped off a mesmerizing guitar odyssey during the encore that conjured up the shades of Eddie Hazel’s expressive, electric soloing on Funkadelic’s classic “Maggot Brain.”
But it’s not just technical prowess that makes Måneskin come across with crowds: simply put, they know how to put on a goddamn show. Whether it’s Raggi lying on the ground while slithering under bassist Victoria de Angelis or David feeding off drummer Ethan Torchio’s ominous and propulsive drumming during sinuous songs like “I Wanna Be Your Slave,” it’s hard to take your eyes away from the quartet as they feed off each other. And when “Slave” segues into a cover of the Stooges’ spiritual predecessor “I Wanna Be Your Dog” on stage, it’s a fittingly ferocious homage to the Italian band’s American god.
The band’s live prowess is no surprise for anyone who caught their performances at this year’s VMAs (where they won best alternative) or SNL. But in a world where unimpugnable veteran rockers struggle to make their live show seem sexy and dangerous, it’s a bit of a godsend to find a band like Måneskin who remind us that rock can be unpredictable, sensual and showy – both onstage and onscreen. And on Feb. 5, we’ll see if that translates into a coveted best new artist win at the Grammy Awards.