Tim Kubick / For The Lantern
I never paid much attention to Muse until recently. I knew singles like “Starlight” and “Uprising,” but I never took the time to listen to the band’s music beyond its commercial hits.
When I finally did, I was amazed by how diverse the band’s music really is. Its ability to combine elements of progressive heavy metal, alternative rock, pop and electronic genres fascinated me. I became fixated with songs like “Knights of Cydonia” and “Hysteria” and latest singles “Madness” and “Supremacy.”
When I heard Muse was set to perform at the Schottenstein Center in support of its sixth studio album, “The 2nd Law,” I jumped at the opportunity. The band’s recordings certainly caught my attention and I was interested in seeing if it could live up to its reputation as one of the best live bands around.
I arrived at the show in time to see the opening act Dead Sara, which put on a very impressive performance. As the set ended, the seats began to fill quickly and my anticipation grew.
Muse hit the stage, opening with its new song “Supremacy.”
From start to finish, the band put on one of the most visually captivating productions I have ever seen. There was a rotating drum riser and a piano with a transparent lid that projected each individual note being played. When the stage went black, the only light came from those implanted into Christopher Wolstenholme’s bass guitar.
At one point, a beam of light shot from the ceiling and formed a mystifying ball in the hand of frontman Matthew Bellamy. The highlight of the night was the projection screens that came down from the ceiling and formed a massive pyramid structure in the middle of the stage, with drummer Dominic Howard inside it.
This led to a comical mishap by the production crew, as Howard remained inside the pyramid for too long. Bellamy calmly spoke into the microphone in the middle of “Uprising.”
“This is hilarious. The pyramid is supposed to go up,” Bellamy said. The crowd roared with laughter and after a few seconds, the pyramid began to slowly rise from the stage.
The performance captured the diverse musical style Muse is known for. It was interesting to see the band go from pop oriented “Starlight” to heavier tunes like “Stockholm Syndrome.” It also introduced a dubstep song called “Unsustainable,” which is featured on the new album.
The band uses synthesizers and back tracks to provide a richer sound that compliments its albums. Yet Muse has a unique ability to incorporate these added features and still show off the members’ musicianship. They’re certainly not the most talented individual players, but the chemistry they possess on stage makes each band member better.
There did appear to be some problems with timing between Howard and Wolstenholme on “Madness,” and Bellamy began his solo noticeably late. Other than these minor mistakes, the band was nearly flawless the entire night.
I was, however, disappointed with Bellamy’s level of audience interaction. He barely addressed the audience, and I never felt a real connection. But overall Muse met my high expectations for the live performance. In terms of musical style and stage production, there aren’t many bands that compare to Muse.