Muse Pack Arena-Size Anthems Into Surprise SXSW Show

March 20th, 2010 by Steve Appleford Leave a reply »

Photo: Webber/Getty
Muse are a band that like things on a massive scale, igniting big sounds on the biggest stages, with the kind of big visual effects known only to the likes of Pink Floyd and Daft Punk. That’s the Muse comfort zone, but the British trio’s special appearance Friday on a much smaller stage at a MySpace Music-presented South By Southwest show traded grand gestures for relative intimacy, without deflating the band’s soaring post-punk prog sound.

There were still laser-beams and songs delivered at arena-rock size at the outdoor amphitheater of Stubb’s BBQ in Austin, but singer-guitarist Matt Bellamy embraced all that is the ground-level nature of the annual SXSW music festival. “We’re feeling good vibes in this town right now,” he told a packed crowd.

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The band’s hour-long set began with the ominous keyboards and revolution rock of “Uprising,” a track from last year’s The Resistance, calling for “fat cats” to succumb to heart failure while promising, “They will not degrade us, they will not control us…” The band stretched out in a variety of disparate sounds and directions, usually within a single song. Bellamy led the crowd in clapping to the straight-ahead heartbreak beat from the ’80s-style pop hit “Starlight” (from 2006’s Black Holes and Revelations), but also unfurled the galloping Spanish surf-guitar vibe of “Knights Of Cydonia,” sounding like something Dick Dale and ELP might have cooked up together for a Spaghetti Western soundtrack, before Muse slipped into the Queen-like vocal harmonies of “You and I must fight for our rights / You and I must fight to survive.”

There was a welcome bit of funk in some of Muse’s prog,...

Article Source: Rolling Stone : Rock and Roll Daily


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