Hooray! Another new venue last night! God, I am SUCH a dork. After closing down late last year as the Marquee, the space in Islington, London, has now been reborn as the Carling Academy. It wasnít just a new venue for me, it was a new venue for almost everyone in the building, for last nightís day-of-release Muse live showcase for contest winners, fanclub members and journalist suckers such as myself. The weather has finally turned here in London and after raining all day, it was quite chilly and I didnít really want to leave the house. However, knowing Iíd be seeing the fantastic Muse in front of a mere 800-strong crowd at the showcase, I pushed my lazy ass out the door and up to Islington.
I walked up the stairs to the VIP upstairs area just as the trio took to the stage and noodled about prior to kicking into ìHysteriaî a track off their wonderful third album, Absolution out this week in the UK. The upstairs area hung over the main floor, to the point where we were almost on top of the band, and even if you couldn't see over the amassed scenesters, there were TV screens with multiple cameramen constantly changing the feed. I hadnít seen the threesome since two shows in 1999, one at popscene in SF and the other the stellar Muse/Feeder/Remy Zero showcase at CMJ, and I had forgotten the sheer power generated by just three men. Frontman Matt Bellamy is a manic as ever, alternating between mind-blowing falsetto and lower tones, all the while chugging out riff after complex riff. The gig was a short one, just to reward fans and to air out the new tunes live, but it was amazing, nonetheless. Half the set was dedicated to further Absolution numbers, with ìThoughts of a Dying Atheist,î ìBlackout,î ìButterflies and Hurricanes,î and
ìTime Is Running Outî all in the mix. Bellamy is like a mad scientist of the new age, mixing complex guitar bits with symphonic piano arrangements, a manic metal Mozart, if you will.
ìStockholm Syndromeî was the insane set closer, in all its hornetís buzz/ symphonic glory. It sounded like there were three guitarists on stage, but it was just Bellamy, firing off riffs like shells, taking all comers. When the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse come, itís going to sound like this: huge and all-encompassing and overwhelming and impossible to fight. ìNew Bornî from 2001ís bombastic Origin Of Symmetry led off the encore and the night was complete with a touch of the thrash that is ìThe Small Print.î Yet again my faith in live music has been renewed, with the best show Iíve seen all year. Muse live = just purely incredible. Much love to Alex Wall for shoehorning me into this very intimate gig.
Set list for Muse fanclub/contest winner album showcase at Carling Academy, Islington:
ìThoughts of a Dying Atheistî
ìButterflies and Hurricanesî
ìTime Is Running Outî
ìPlug In Babyî
ìThe Small Printî