Friday, April 2, 2010

If you look up awesome in the dictionary: a muse concert would be the first entry.

Honestly, probably the best quote of the night, courtesy of my mother who had a surprisingly great time.

Yes, I’m lame. I went to a concert with my mother. Shut up.

When Muse were first announced at least three months ago that they were coming to Vancouver, I was excited--despite my sadly dwindling excitement for the band. I texted my two best friends, hereto known as M and G, and asked if they wanted to come. They, of course, thanks to me, have been fans since high school (M) and since he met me (G), were of course interested. Bought the “best available” and thought nothing of it until April.

Yes, I full on admitted it. My love for Muse, while still there was lacking the same enthusiasm that I had once felt.

In my last few years of high school after being introduced to them by a then boyfriend (the music was probably the best thing about that relationship--that and the live Muse dvd I got in the end), I was full on obsessed. When I got into them, Absolution was their latest record and I was soon obsessed, snapping up their previous two albums as well, despite the then expense as North America didn’t have any copies at the time and we had to order them from Australia. Matthew Bellamy soon became a number one on the freebie five and I was introducing them to my friends.

The relationship with that boyfriend soon ended but I was left a long time fan of Muse and they would always remain on my favourite band list. Despite all this, I will admit my love did wan a bit. I still love all their music, don't get me wrong but nothing captured me like Absolution did and while their next two albums did become more over the top and more experimental in some ways and more sleek and polished in others, they weren’t always on heavy rotation on my ipod.

So you can imagine my slight apprehension in going to the show. I was excited, don’t get me wrong; I was devastated when they first came here and I was underage and couldn’t go. Concerts are almost always great. It probably didn’t help that the day leading up to it was depressingly slow and I woke up in an immediate funk. That and the fact that G couldn’t be there was just adding to a list of things that were dampening my spirits. Still, the evening came and I couldn’t help myself but be a little excited.

Arriving at the venue didn’t help matters. The place was crowded and while row 11 sounds SUPER close, when you’re on the second tier, it’s not really that great of seats. Apparently “Best Available” really isn’t always the best option.

My apprehension doubled when I found out exactly who was sitting around us. The one thing I hate about concerts is figuring out how many douche bags also like the same music you do. Cue the jackass behind us who wouldn’t shut up. A real know it all who I’d hope/figured would shut up once the music started. About five minutes into the opening act I knew this would be a mistaken assumption.

Silversun Pickups opened the show. I’m not a super fan by any means, however I do enjoy a couple of their hits here and there. Unfortunately, I’m not sure if it’s their sound guy or just the venue but their sound was definitely a bit off. There was too much focus on the drums and on the bass so that you could barely hear the singer or any of the other music. Although after reading a review it seems like maybe it's just not the sound guys fault but rather the singer's voice isn't up to making it up all the way in the nosebleed section.

Despite not being a huge fan (mostly due to lack of exposure than taste), it made me really sad that this was their first impression on a lot of eager fans--although these fans were expecting more glam rock in the same vein as Muse's latest albums I'm sure so maybe the indie band wasn't exactly the perfect fit.

And on a perfectly shallow note--while I was not close enough to check out the bassist for a co-worker, she does seem pretty hot in their videos and the dress she wore was adorable. However, her--and even the band’s as a whole had an awkward stage prescience. Which, I get. You’re indie and it’s all about the music, but a little more than awkwardness would be appreciated.
Although I will admit that they were perfectly charming with the short interactions with the audience and a crack about the flashes of cameras being their light show. And despite the rough start, by the end of their set they finished off with my favourite song of theirs “Lazy Eye” and it managed to sound spot on. Hopefully this type of exposure will open them up for a bigger show and more experience. Or at least a different venue, perhaps with someone opening for them that suites their style a little more.

Now, on to Muse.

Well, not really. There was a good HOUR in between the two acts. Yeah. My doubts about the concert were in full on rage mode by then. There was no explanation and very little to do in between the two sets--aside from a weird seating issue with the people beside us, there wasn’t much to do.

However, once they started---wow. I cannot say enough how much it was worth it. The stage was equipped with three long columns that looked like buildings. Pictures of men walking up stairs were projected onto the three and came tumbling down as their intro launched into their first song. The lights dazzled on the sheer material as the opening notes of ‘Uprising’ played and as the columns dropped with the the sheer material and revealed the trio, each on their own platforms I knew I was in for a show.

While Silversun Pickups were definitely made for a smaller venue, Muse knows how to put on a -show-. Combining lights, oozing sex appeal, amazing guitar riffs and brilliant sound, this type of venue was made for them.

My worries for sound were the furthest thing from my mind as I sang--albeit, extremely off key, with the music and swooned at Matthew Bellamy, decked out in typical glam, over the top rock star attire. Bright pink pants that could be seen even from way back in our seats, typical metallic shades and a blazer to die for, you couldn’t help but want a piece.

It really is no wonder why they have picked up an award for their show. Muse has mastered the art of a live show. They had a perfect blend of old and new, anything from their cover of “Feeling Good” to their latest single and did it all with a flair that is uniquely their own.

Despite what could have been a hindrance with the extraordinary visuals, Muse never managed to be taken over by the flashy light show. No matter if it was projections on a screen (a combination of stock footage of anything from the universe and space to the stock's numbers and dna diagrams to lyrics of songs, angles of the band members and the audience), lasers shooting in the audience or giant eyeballs floating from the ceiling there was never any doubt who the true stars of that arena was. Nothing made the crowd shout louder than Bellamy dropping to his knees in a guitar riff or Howard beating away at his drums in an epic solo. Even during cuts between songs when Bellamy changed over instruments the guys never stopped playing. There was no filler, no lame stories from their childhood, they kept all their talking short and sweet and gave us what we wanted: sexy guitar riffs, a killer drum and base solo and a concert that blew the entire audience away.

The night, suffice to say was unbelievable and the band did an amazing job of not only putting on a spectacular show but having the substance and the musicality to back it up. After all, when all you have is prettiness you have a movie like Avatar. All pretty, no soul. Muse on the other hand knows the right balance; these guys have been making music since ’94 and you can tell they love it and understand what entertainment is made of.

I think one of the most memorable moments of the night (besides their rendition of my favourite song, Time is Running Out which made me squee like a fan girl in heat) is the perfect metaphor for it, a time between songs with the staged blacked out minus the spotlight on drummer Dominic Howard and Chris Wolstenholme standing on the centre platform with their backs to each other doing a bass and drum solo as the platform slowly rotates them up and then down.
There is no one star for this trio and they don’t take themselves too seriously, they have a blast doing what they do and they do it all effortlessly.

And isn’t that the very definition of ‘cool’?

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