With only 2 weeks left to go until its premiere at the Manchester International Festival, we are finally getting some idea of what the coming together of Massive Attack with filmmaker Adam Curtis may well entail, with the online release of a trailer for the shows. ↓ Skip to the bottom of this post to watch the trailer.

While the shows were originally commissioned for the Manchester International Festival, it will also be appearing at the Ruhrtriennale Festival in Germany and the Park Avenue Armory in New York later this year. The 17 dates announced so far for Massive Attack V Adam Curtis this year are available from the Upcoming Shows page.

Apart from the trailer we also got the news that Liz Fraser and Horace Andy will be singing live at the shows this year. Horace Andy is maybe not too surprising an addition, but Liz Fraser is. She last toured with Massive Attack during the Collected tour of 2006/2007. So no more complaining that only Liz can do Teardrop justice. Relax, she'll be there!

If you wish to get a better idea of the type of documentaries Adam Curtis makes and therefore, a better idea of what to expect at this year's show, I suggest you check out this YouTube playlist I made collecting together his various documentaries for the BBC.

Adam Curtis Documentaries YouTube Playlist

In particular, I found his "The Trap" documentary, the most interesting personally and maybe also the most relevant to what we may see at the shows.

One other thing I feel compelled to mention, is that while all the press releases for the shows are saying that Massive Attack are playing live, I have to question exactly how "live" that will be. Winston Blissett, Massive Attack's long-time live bassist tweeted back in March that he would'nt be required for the shows this year, saying that everything will be performed 100% electronically. His tweet is embedded below -

So going by that tweet at least, if your expecting the full live band experience, which Massive Attack have performed live as for almost the last 20 years, your going to be a bit disappointed. I think if this is indeed the case then they should have been a bit more upfront about it.

Regardless, I'll be reserving judgement until after I see the show for myself. All I know for certain, is that it is going to be a unique live experience. Hopefully, a very memorable one! I'm going to the last couple of nights of the MIF performance, so will likely have another blog post about my experiences at the shows after that.

I'll sign off this post with the following two quotes from Mr. Curtis and 3D respectively. I believe they offer a good summation of what to expect from this year's shows. Have a good time everyone who is attending one of them!

The show will be a bit of a total experience. You will be surrounded by all kinds of images and sounds. But it is also about ideas. It tells a story about how a new system of power has risen up in the modern world to manage and control us. A rigid and static system that has found in those images and sounds a way of enveloping us in a thin two-dimensional version of the past. A fake, but enchanting world which we all live in today - but which has also become a new kind of prison that prevents us moving forward into the future.
— Adam Curtis (BBC Blog - June 2013)
We are going to be doing something we’ve never done before and we will be messing with music we’ve never even gone near before. There’ll be other people’s music, some classical pieces, the like of which we’ve never attempted and I’m still not sure how we’re going to actually play! This show feels to me like a part of Massive Attack’s timeline, a part of our history. The strange thing is that I have this sense of nostalgia, as if I’m already looking back at it, even while I’m doing it.
— Robert Del Naja (The Guardian - May 2013)