In this day and age, it’s rare that a band that goes viral has the live performance chops to back up whatever tantalizing studio snippet makes the rounds on TikTok. For many, it’s a problem of too much attention too soon keeping them from honing their craft long enough to build an authentic stage presence. But Italian sensation Måneskin is a rare and welcome exception to this rule.
Made up of vocalist Damiano David, bassist Victoria De Angelis, guitarist Thomas Raggi, and drummer Ethan Torchio, this quartet is better live than in the studio. First rising to international fame via winning Eurovision with “Zitti e buoni” in 2021, Måneskin had already gained a large European following after their run on Italy’s X-Factor in 2017. When subsequent singles like “I Wanna Be Your Slave” and “MAMMAMIA” started making the rounds in the United States, Gen Z quickly fell for their exuberant live performances while older rock fans finally found a young band worthy of their time. Years of playing together has given Måneskin the chance to experiment and play in a way that most viral sensations don’t, and it makes all the difference.
That difference was felt at their sold out show at MGM Music Hall in Boston, the band’s most recent stop on their first U.S. tour. There were no pyrotechnics or fancy video screens. The stage set up was a bare-bones affair, and there was no opening act. But from the moment David strutted onto the stage and launched into “Kool Kids” without banter or preamble, it became apparent that additional bells and whistles would only slow them down. Måneskin brings the party all on their own, and the capacity crowd was living for it.
It’s unusual for one band to have four members with this much charisma. Frontman David is a solid leader, fearlessly leaping around the stage (and into the crowd) with abandon. The genuine glee he gets from performing is infectious. His mugging for the crowd along with his incredible vocals was a highlight of the evening. De Angelis has the difficult task of playing opposite that energy, and she does it with aplomb. Stomping around the stage and playing even while surfing the crowd, she exudes the kind of take-no-prisoners attitude that rock fans crave. On “For Your Love” in particular, she shined as a soloist while seamlessly blending with Raggi. It’s no wonder that she has her own devotees, lovingly dubbed “Vic’s Chicks” by the band. Raggi is astonishing. His many solos throughout the night played to his strengths. The 21-year-old is a talent beyond his years and gives Måneskin a fresh, different sound. Torchio anchors it all behind his drum kit while his spirited colleagues leap around the stage or play guitar on the shoulders of a security guard in the pit.
What’s remarkable about the group is the way all four complement each other so well. Their chemistry makes for a fun show, but it also allows for riffing during the performance. Nearly every track was different from the studio recording, keeping the audience on their toes. The band also played several unreleased tracks like “Kool Kids” along with covers like The Who’s “My Generation” (though fan-favorite “Gasoline” unfortunately did not make the set list for this show). These unexpected additions also helped fuel the feeling that this gig was special somehow — that even though Måneskin has been doing the same show, night after night, for the past few months, tonight was a whole new experience. It takes talent and a high level of confidence to pull that off, and the members of Måneskin have both in spades despite their ages.
Seeing Måneskin at a smaller venue felt like getting away with murder considering their recent Grammy nomination for Best New Artist and rising profile in the rock world outside of Europe. By the time this band tours the U.S. again, I have no doubt they will be doing so by headlining arenas. For those of us lucky enough to attend this tour, we’ll be able to say we knew them when.
Måneskin is currently embarking on the LOUD KIDS tour, with tickets still available at some venues. Their new album RUSH! is set for release on January 20, 2023, and lead single “The Loneliest” is available now.