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Concert Reviews:
Muse Makes Minds Blow At The Palace

of the Oakland Press

Posted: Sunday, March 14, 2010

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AUBURN HILLS -- Silversun Pickups frontman Brian Aubert gestured to three large "skyscrapers" behind him on stage Saturday night (March 13) at the Palace and noted they belong not to his band, but to headliner Muse. "The show's gonna blow your brains out," he promised.

Truer words have seldom been spoken at a rock 'n' roll show.

Over the course of 11 years and five albums, Muse has established itself as quietly growing, high-cred stars in the modern rock world. A seamless blend of Pink Floyd, glam rock (David Bowie, Queen), Depeche Mode and Nirvana influences certainly helps; so have appearances on the soundtracks for the first two "Twilight" saga films, which add a teen and tween component to British trio's fan base.

And then there's the live show, a descendent of the opulent prog-rock productions of the '70s and beyond -- though more focused on lighting and stage effects than, say, flying pigs or dancers. Each time out Muse sets another mark to beat, and Saturday's show, supporting the group's 2009 album, "The Resistance," was, characteristically, its most dazzling yet.

The three Muse members emerged within the "skyscrapers" -- actually hydraulic lifts hoisting them above the stage -- playing "Uprising" and "Resistance," the two chart-topping anthems from "The Resistance," as video images swirled above and below them. Lasers and strobe lights flashed throughout the show, the production effectively accenting but never eclipsing the music. And when a batch of eyeball-shaped balloons stuff with confetti were dropped on the crowd of 12,000-plus during "Plug In Baby," it was perfectly in keeping with the high spirits of the evening.

For all of the eye candy, however, Muse also delivers for the ears -- in a big way. The songs are strong, and the trio, augmented by a fourth touring musician in the rear-stage shadows, offered up 19 winners from its catalog, from the pounding attacks of "Map of the Problematique," "MK Ultra" and "Unnatural Selection" to the big-beat rock of "Hyseteria," the funky industrial tones of "Supermassive Blackhole," the '80s synth-pop flair of "Undisclosed Desires" and "Starlight," and the melodic drama of "United States of Eurasia," with frontman Matthew Bellamy playing touches of Ravel's "Bolero" on a grand piano. Muse also offered up its rendition of "Feeling Good" from the mid-'60s musical "The Roar of the Greasepaint" and closed with a heady, sci-fi flavored encore of "Exogenesis Pt. 1," "Stockholm Syndrome" and "Knights of Cydonia," with columns of carbon dioxide smoke rimming the stage during the final notes.

It was a mind-, if not brain-, blowing night, one that bolstered Muse's reputation for spectacle and kindling interest for whatever the group brings next time around.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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