In a weekend as musically action-packed as this one, it’s tough to plan ahead, and even tougher to guarantee what shows we’ll be raving about come Monday. But even so, Friday’s Massive Attack/Thievery Corporation double bill is the hands-down exception. The early show, which closes out this year’s lengthy S.B. Bowl season, is arguably one of the year’s biggest highlights, boasting full sets from two of electronica’s longest lasting and most relevant names.
For Robert “3D” Del Naja, one half of the Bristol-based super duo Massive Attack, the night means even more. Some 12 years into his at-times volatile relationship with fellow deejay Grant “Daddy G” Evan Marshall, Del Naja seems happier and more inspired than ever. And with the release of this year’s Heligoland, it’s no wonder. The album, Massive Attack’s first since 2003’s 100th Window, marked a perfect mixing of old-school and new, and featured vocal collaborations with everyone from the Gorillaz’ Damon Albarn and TV on the Radio’s Tunde Adebimpe to longtime MA contributors Martina Topley-Bird and Guy Garvey. In addition, it spawned a whole new generation of Massive Attack fans and reinvigorated enthusiasm in those who have been following the band since its start, long before the “trip-hop” genre even existed. I recently spoke with Del Naja about the record, the tour, and the future of Massive Attack’s still-growing catalogue.