When an opportunity to do something comes up at the last minute, there’s certain things in Los Angeles that make you pause. Like it’s a Monday, it’s raining, it’s at the Palladium. So when a friend texted me that she had an extra ticket that night for a concert, I had to take a moment because it was the L.A. trifecta of reasons to politely decline. That feeling didn’t last long, because it was Måneskin.
If you are not familiar with Måneskin then trying to explain the meteoric rise of this group after winning the Eurovision Song Contest is hard. It is so perfect and that makes it so unbelievable that even the Hallmark Channel wouldn’t green light the story for a movie. They are beautiful! They are young! They are talented! They rock! They are Italian! And this isn’t like Trevor Donovan and Lacey Chabert in a delightful holiday romp kind of beautiful. This is some Miss Argentina and Miss Puerto Rico got married level beautiful. They are SCORCHING hot!
The story of Måneskin’s rise to fame isn’t just hard to believe, so was how great the concert was. They sounded good. Like REALLY good… at the Hollywood Palladium. Now I’m not gonna bag on the Palladium so just relax. But come on, we all got a story. Whether it’s security who has declared your favorite keychain to somehow be a weapon, the searches that included feeling UNDER your bra, the no gum rule, finally finding a place to stand only to be told you gotta move a little bit over and now another little bit there and don’t think you’re safe now because you gotta move another little bit. You get the point. But that night everything felt different.
Granted I was prepared for security and not ready to fuck around and find out. As I walked through the different security points I commented, “When I was picking out this outfit, you know what I thought would go with it perfectly? A clear plastic purse.” Others were not so aware of what they were about to encounter and were being sent to bag check-in because their handbags were just slightly bigger than they allow. And, there were a bunch of people who tried to hide their bags under their coats. Amateurs. That didn’t work out well for them, but cleared the lines quickly for the rest of us. Telling you now, don’t try it. REALLY!
Long ago I worked with a woman who went to the Hollywood Palladium on its opening night and I always think of her as I walk in. I try to picture what she experienced. She was a teenager and her best friend’s Dad was a manager there and got them in. She spoke of having to borrow a dress that was fancy enough and how magical it was. She had lots of awesome stories like that. She also had stories when she would drift away for a moment in sadness as she spoke of segregated beaches and other places that she couldn’t go because she was Jewish. Hard to imagine such ignorance but sadly I am finding that’s not so hard to picture.
As my very cool friend Caz who I completely adore and I found a place to stand, we engaged in light conversation because even though we hadn’t seen each other in a while we both felt this ain’t the time or place to get heavy. She is a true music lover and we were there to escape reality and just be taken away. There had already been waves of glee throughout the crowd, so when Måneskin came on stage the room exploded in the most incredible way. Of course phones went up to capture the moment, but it was so perfect you could just find a stock image of “happy hip concert crowd” and not waste your time taking a picture. But what really struck me was how everyone was singing along IN ITALIAN, waving their arms in the air, swaying, dancing, and jumping. Everyone was happy.
With most (but not all) of the lyrics being in Italian along with the light stage smoke in the air and the simplicity of the Måneskin banner and lighting, it made me feel like I was in Europe. More precisely Eastern Europe. The thin layer of stage smoke felt like a slight haze of cigarettes and the lights would move and highlight the bones of the Hollywood Palladium. The old majesty, grandeur and glory of the venue reminded me of Romania of all places.
As the band tore through their set, I was just captivated by the singer’s voice. Damiano David is the oldest band member at 23 and his voice while being powerful and sexy also has a way of breaking that it connects with your heart. The emotion he delivers far exceeds his years. The rest of the band is so tight, there’s a feeling to the way they move through the song that begs the question – where did that sound come from? Almost like when you listen to Bill Ward driving the heart of Black Sabbath through his drums, he creates a feeling that could only be felt by someone who survived the bombings of Birmingham. (Okay no one is Bill Ward great, but you get the idea.)
From their Eurovision winning song that makes even me with my old knees pogo, to their masterpiece “The Loneliest,” I just kept hearing the words of Kurt Vonnegut in my head: “Everything was beautiful and nothing hurt.” Now those words have a lot of meaning behind them and on the eve of an election that could be another deep dive but I’ll just leave it at that. The feelings that “The Loneliest” evoked of lost loves weren’t so much sad as they were like warm sweet moments of the stolen kisses of youth. As the song flowed through the air I saw a single piece of confetti had been shaken out of the rafters of the building and as I watched it drift down it was like the Palladium was shedding a single tear.
Now while we all know what goes up must come down, with Måneskin what comes down is going to be brought back up. Måneskin rocks, completely. And I am so looking forward to what these young musicians—three of which met in high school—bring to the world. As soon as I’m done with writing this, I want to go to Amoeba and buy ALL their music. I am in love. And that’s part of the reason I feel like I’ve been having a love affair with Los Angeles for so long. Because sometimes the best things happen on a Monday night, when it’s raining, at the Palladium.