Concert Reviews

Maneskin Is So Fashion We Almost Missed the Rock Show At South Side Ballroom

Maneskin rocked Dallas' Southside Ballroom on Tuesday.
Maneskin rocked Dallas' Southside Ballroom on Tuesday. Mike Brooks
Italian rock band Maneskin played a sold-out show at the South Side Ballroom on Tuesday as part of their first major U.S. tour, and we had some doubts. As the most jaded, cynical, seen-it-all rock fan charged with the task of covering the show, I should get this right out front: I grew up with rock and roll, and the music that shaped my youth was rebellious and anti-authoritarian. If your sister came home with a rock and roller in tow, it was cause for alarm, hand-wringing, heated discussions and maybe a call to 911. Except we didn’t have 911 in those days because everybody knew the police chief by name. From church.

A band that got famous on a TV show, won some European contest and had a partnership with a high-end Italian fashion house would have been the object of suspicion, if not outright derision. Even if they did look really, really good in their one-of-a kind, coordinated Gucci threads — I mean, really good. Are those pants hand-fitted?
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Damiano David of Maneskin. Is that real Gucci?
Mike Brooks
Tuesday night, they had two hours to prove to me and to a packed house that there was substance under those fine clothes. Like an art house film, let’s start at the end and then flash back with how we inevitably got there.

The End
As the band walked off the stage at the end of an almost 2-hour set, the house lights stayed down and the sold-out crowd was in no mood to leave. After several minutes, a single spotlight came up and guitarist Thomas Raggi stepped into the pool of light and began a 5-minute solo that morphed into "The Loneliest," a stadium-worthy rock ballad filled with soaring guitar parts. That was followed by the hit "I Wanna Be Your Slave." Then, finally, the audience was allowed to leave.
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Thomas Raggi kicks off the encore.
Mike Brooks
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Maneskin sans Gucci shirts.
Mike Brooks
Before the Encore
The show had been building. Until the encore, it was two hours of high energy. We're not sure how much a custom Gucci shirt costs, but by the middle of the set, only bassist Victoria De Angelis was wearing one. All the band members sans drummer Ethan Torchio had taken turns crowd-surfing, and for the last song they were joined onstage by a couple dozen folks in the crowd who had scored special wristbands. The set came to an end in a pyramid of raised hands, cell phones, huge smiles and awkward dancing.
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Maneskin closes down the show.
Mike Brooks
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Damiano David in the crowd.
Mike Brooks
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Thomas Raggi crowd surfs in Dallas.
Mike Brooks
The Start
There was no opening band. Bless you, Maneskin. Outside of a six-step drum riser and a backdrop with the band’s name there was no ornamentation. The band members walked on stage, picked up their kits and floored it. Pedal to the metal. Zero to 60 in — well, zero to 100 as they covered The Stooges.
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Guitarist Thomas Raggi and bassist Victoria De Angelis.
Mike Brooks

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Damiano David. Girls seem to like him.
Mike Brooks
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Maneskin drummer Ethan Torchio.
Mike Brooks
Before the Show
There was a line well before show time. It started outside the venue, went down the street and then folded back into the parking lot. People who got there an hour before doors opened found themselves several hundred yards away from the metal detectors. It gave me time to talk to a few of them. They were from Dallas, Austin, New Orleans, North Carolina and Oklahoma. This was their one chance to see Maneskin, and they were not going to pass it up. Almost universally, they all found out about the band by watching the competition show Eurovision Song Contest.

The rest of us know them from the obsessive radio play of their song "Beggin'" and from a viral clip of Angelina Jolie and her daughter Shiloh dancing at their show.
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Maneskin show in Dallas. There was a line. A long line.
Mike Brooks
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Maneskin show in Dallas. Dress appropriately.
Mike Brooks
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Bassist Victoria De Angelis.
Mike Brooks
Epilogue
In my day, there was no X Factor or Eurovision. Bands had to make it the old-fashioned way: work hard and then sell your soul to some big record company. But times have changed. The Gucci connection made me nervous, but halfway through the show it dawned on me how refreshing it is to see a rock and roll band that looks this good. And, yes, there is substance there. It’s rock and roll, glammed up and played with skill and enthusiasm.

This band is about one more big hit from blowing up to bigger venues, and it seems to be only a matter of time before it happens. Good on them. They are the children of rock and roll and, yes, you can date my daughter. Just get her home on time; I’ve got my eye on you.
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Thomas Raggi from Maneskin.
Mike Brooks
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All these folks can speak Italian, or at least they can sing all the lyrics.
Mike Brooks
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Thomas Raggi shredding.
Mike Brooks
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Guitarist Thomas Raggi and bassist Victoria De Angelis of Maneskin.
Mike Brooks
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Mike Brooks

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