Since winning Eurovision and saving rock music, Måneskin have only visited London to play a string of intimate gigs, perhaps wanting to stay in touch with their sweaty, chaotic roots. The biggest headline show they’ve managed in the capital is the 800-capacity O2 Academy Islington. Tonight, though, they perform to 20,000 people at London’s O2 Arena and couldn’t look more at home. “This is a big ass venue. Fuck,” says Damiano David, taking a minute before a playful ‘On My Mind’. “Let’s make it memorable.”
The band clearly love the spotlight, playing up to the cameras and the fans on the front row, but they spend the majority of the show making the cavernous O2 feel as small as possible. Guitarist Vic De Angelis bounces through the audience during an energetic cover of The Four Seasons’ ‘Beggin’’ to create a mobile moshpit, and she crowd-surfs at every opportunity. Not wanting to be outdone, Thomas Raggi climbs on a security guards’ shoulders and is carried into the crowd while playing the snarling ‘LA Fine’. He doesn’t miss a note, even when he’s unceremoniously dumped back onstage.
Continuing the intimacy, midway through the show Damiano and Thomas turn the O2 on its head by appearing at the very back of the venue for gorgeous, acoustic takes on ‘Vent’anni’ and ‘If Not For You’. Even stripped back, Måneskin are all-powerful. The band takes things one step further by instigating a stage invasion for main set closer, ‘Kool Kids’. “We’re hated all around the world for this tradition, but we really don’t give a shit,” grins Damiano. It’s carnage throughout the room as the band gleefully hit back at every criticism going with the snotty punk track.
Still, the band never shy away from the scale of the evening either. Third album ‘Rush!’ was written in-between world tours, and its urgency is built for massive gigs like this. The pop-punk smirk of ‘Supermodel’, the brooding ‘Gasoline’ and the stadium-baiting ‘Feel’ only add to the electrifying excitement in the room while slower, more emo songs like ‘Timezone’ unite the crowd.
Throughout, there’s an almighty confidence to what the band does. Only two songs from ‘Rush!’ aren’t aired tonight (‘Read Your Diary’ and ‘Il Donna Delta Vita’), there’s little in the way of covers, and the band nonchalantly play their Eurovision-winning breakout track ‘Zitti E Buoni’ third. Every single song is met with the same euphoric reaction, though.
With Eurovision back in the headlines and the rock resurgence showing no signs of slowing down, all eyes are still on Måneskin. Rather than get caught up in tired debates, though, the band are busy having the absolute time of their lives onstage. It’s the same for everyone else in the room.
After another blistering guitar solo kickstarts the encore, Måneskin play ‘The Loneliest’, which is the sort of almighty theatrical anthem designed to close out stadium gigs in lush fashion. After nearly two hours onstage, most bands would end things there. Måneskin can’t help but seize the opportunity for a touch more chaos with a second airing of ‘I Wanna Be Your Slave’ though. Once again, Vic is in the crowd as Måneskin prove that just because you’re one of the biggest bands in the world, it doesn’t mean you need to start getting predictable.
A lot has been said about them taking inspiration from the rock greats that came before them, but tonight, Måneskin are very obviously leading the way.