Live - Muse @ Concourse Exhibition Design Center | SF

The life of a concert reviewer - arrive, scope out the scene, maybe make fun of some concert goers. The show starts, and there you are with a little notebook as to be inconspicuous and scribble notes on songs (unless you have a photographic memory, of which your time can be spent consuming more beer).

There are few bands that make me want to be close to the stage, or even on the floor. Looking upon the mosh pits and the sardine can-like atmosphere, I like to have my space and be off to the side or in the back.

But noooooooo. I had to be on the floor for Muse (Tuesday, July 18).

I pushed. I pulled. My pants were getting tugged down. A crowd surfer almost fell on my head. My hips were locked in a fashion of awkwardness with the person next to me. When I finally escaped after the encore began, it looked like I had walked through the sprinklers 11 times and that my hair was freshly washed. When you're jumping up and down, and the dude next to you is shirtless and sweaty and your arms are sliding against each other smoothly due to the perspiration, there is a major problem.

As a result, though, it made Muse's performance that much better.

It's hard to watch a band and not know anything about them or what their sound is like. The potential to write them off is high and most people would use the time to get in their potty break before the headliner. I was pleased to view NYC's The Cloud Room - they seemed tight and looked like they were having a blast on stage.

The attitude shifted from eager to expectant as the threesome from the UK took stage. The crowd went ballistic as opener "Knights of Cydonia" was launched, with middle verse, "The time has come to make things right/You and I must fight for our rights," scrolling behind them on screen, and everyone knew the words - a refreshing sight. And it seemed the audience's enthusiasm was only upping as the show went on. "Hysteria" received a loud applause and cheer, and then "Map Of The Problematique," which is a showcase in how singer Matt Belamy is one of the best multi-taskers on the planet in voice distortion, piano, and guitar.

Muse delved into mostly new tunes from Black Holes And Revelations. "City Of Delusion" was an incredible sight to see, with the dual genius of Bellamy's vocal department and Chris Wolstenholme's guitar skills standing front and center. The best thing about seeing Muse live is their theatrical component. In particular with this newest release, the sound from start to finish is fairly opera-esque. They pour a lot of time into their light, screen, and special effects show, and the end result is a perfectly coordinated performance of sound distortion and showmanship.

Older favorites such as "Plug-in Baby," "Time Is Running Out," "New Born," and "Stockholm Syndrome" were pulled off flawlessly, and newer songs "Starlight," "Exo-Politics," and "Invincible" completed one of the best shows of this year. The Concourse is one of the worst venues in the city to see a show due to their weird sound system, but amazingly enough, the sound for Muse came out wonderful.

So I had to air myself outside afterwards... big deal. It was worth it every step of way.

I may be getting too old for this, but I don't think I will ever outgrow Muse.


by Jenn Hernandez

Live - Muse @ Concourse Exhibition Design Center | SF