When news of Måneskin’s surprise gig was first broadcast, just one day before the Italian rockers were to grace the sweaty, dark chambers of Camden’s 500-capacity Underworld, fans erupted online in a frenzied gabble of excitement and anxiety. Måneskin are, after all, the world’s hottest rock property right now, and their new single, The Loneliest, a more serious and far more emotional turn for the band, was to be heard for the very first time.
Since their landslide Eurovision win in 2021, Maneskin have supported A-list legends The Rolling Stones, collaborated with the Godfather of punk, Iggy Pop, and transformed into both rock royalty and reality stars, boasting effortlessly cool social media accounts full of sultry-eyed selfies, marvelled in the millions by their doting Gen Z fans.
It’s unsurprising, then, that when the Underworld announced that the tickets to the show would not only be free, but on a first-come-first-served basis, Måneskin fans were as fraught as a farm of headless chickens, scrambling their way to queue outside the venue hours before the doors are even set to open. By midday, the line has already wrapped its way right around the block, and a mere couple of hours later, the queue is at max capacity: no one else is allowed to try for tickets.
Eurovision winners Maneskin got their fans queuing in a loop around the World’s End, over the road and down into Greenland Road backstreet. Playing Underworld later. pic.twitter.com/ieBeyPa2HvOctober 6, 2022
The night has every chance to be unforgettable: dedicated, overexcitable fans, squashed inside an up-close-and-personal, barrier-less pit, dancing together to a primed setlist of dizzying hits. The reality, however is a little harder to pin-point. Has it all been worth the hype?
As they slink on stage, they look simultaneously like high-fashion models of the future and glam rock heroes of the past, kitted out in glittering, barely-there purple outfits. The atmosphere is instantly electric, and their Beatlemania-like effect is so potent it feels grab-able.
Immediately, they swoop into their Eurovision-winning track, the thumping Zitte E Buoni, while thrusting, writhing and whipping their hair. In just a few minutes, however, the electricity in the air seems to fizzle, as fans seem more concerned with capturing the stars in front of them via their phones. Of course, filming a couple of songs at a concert isn’t a bad thing; it’s always nice to look back at our favourite live moments. But, considering the entirety of the room has queued outside the building for the majority of the day, it's disheartening to see rock fans not really, truly appreciating the moment. Thankfully, there’s a scattering of dancers dotted around the venue, and whenever the room fully moves together, Måneskin look grateful.
🎥 | Måneskin performing ‘THE LONELIEST’ tonight at The Underworld Camden in London, United Kingdom. 🥀© damianodavid_brazil pic.twitter.com/KfRQinBhzJOctober 7, 2022
Throughout the 45 minutes of stage time - the set is short but sweet - the band play the bouncing Mamma Mia, their Four Seasons cover (Beggin’), the pop-rock earworm Supermodel and a few more originals. It’s all high-energy, carefree fun, even if frontman Damino David doesn’t come across as enthusiastic as his bandmates. It’s actually hard to tell whether he really is just the coolest man on the planet, or doesn’t care all that much to be here; it’s a head-scratching, albeit enticing mix of moods. They finish the night with two - yes, two - plays of their new single, and the room is suddenly deflated. Under an hour of performance time almost feels cruel after a day of waiting, but the new single's debut was the point tonight, and they delivered. The Loneliest is an emotional, angsty ballad, destined to soundtrack the future heartbreaks of their fans - even if the melody sounds a lot like Gayle’s smash hit song, Abcdefu.
Bassist Victoria De Angelis and guitarist Thomas Raggi are highlights of the night with their infectious, playful chemistry, riffing side-to-side, but Måneskin's overall performance comes across as a little phoned-in. With the night centred around the new single, (David spends plenty of time teasing the audience over when they’re going to play it), much else falls somewhat flat, especially in light of the excitement that preceded the evening. We'll give some benefit of the doubt: David declares how nervous he is for the fans to hear the new single, so perhaps the weirdness in the air is merely a young band still orchestrating life suddenly so in the spotlight, still working out the kinks of their stardom. Next year, Måneskin will return to London for a show at the O2 arena, which, after this evening, poses the question: will they actually manage to fill the boots that have been laid out for them? Who knows.
. @thisismaneskin performing "The Loneliest" for the first time at The Underworld. pic.twitter.com/E3D9mtHGYQOctober 6, 2022
Mäneskin London Underworld setlist
1. Zitti E Buoni
2. In Nome Del Padre
6. For Your Love
7. Lividi Sui Gomiti
8. I Wanna Be Your Slave
9. The Loneliest