Muse, Hallam FM Arena, Sheffield
3OH!3, Millennium Music Hall, Cardiff

Muse show how to handle a huge audience, while an American duo are small fish in a large pond

This band don't do small, and they don't do subtle. As the gig begins I am staring up at three giant illuminated tenement towers when they suddenly rip down the middle to reveal the three members of Muse – the bird-like Matt Bellamy, the elf-like Dom Howard and the dad-like Chris Wolstenholme – perched on podiums 20ft above our heads like the goodies inside the world's biggest Christmas cracker.

The we-are-Übermensch visual message is so grin-inducing that you almost don't notice that they're playing "Uprising", the revolutionary lead single from The Resistance, the trio's most political album. "They will not control us/We will be victorious," Bellamy croons, and mutters: "It's time the fat cats had a heart attack."

What's frustrating about Muse is their unwillingness to dish dirt, name names or nail their colours to a specific mast. Then again, if Bellamy can at least persuade a percentage of his hordes to be less passive and more questioning, he's made a difference.

If "Uprising" is Billy Idol's "White Wedding" through a Goldfrapp filter, then "Supermassive Black Hole" is essentially Prince's "Kiss" played by Metallica. "Guiding Light" is Ultravox's "Vienna" played by Queen, and "United States of Eurasia" is "We Are the Champions" played by a crazed conspiracy theorist, and so on.

What's guaranteed about Muse is that they will always rock, and it will always be baroque. From the big bastard riff of "New Born" through the cathartic, lung-bursting double of "Plug in Baby" and "Time is Running Out" to the berserk cavalry charge finale of "Knights of Cydonia".

You can also always be sure that their shtick is never knowingly underdone, from the duelling green lasers to the big perspex piano to Bellamy's shamelessly stagey way of drrrawing ouuut a syllable.

Breaking news: Muse in "still brilliant live band" shocker. Now, from the awesome to the merely "ossum". It's always gratifying, in some minor way, when a band who are stadium-fillers in the US aren't even club-fillers over here. When they do visit these shores, their profile is roughly on a par with other foreign acts who are punted as "The Russian Britney" but who only really play to expats in London theatres. For the time being, this is the status of 3OH!3, a duo of gonzo white rappers at the forefront of the "crunk-core" wave, whose main inspirations appear to be the Beasties before Buddhism and The Bloodhound Gang on "The Bad Touch", and whose double-handed gang sign, which involves making the shape of a gaping orifice by touching the tips of your thumbs and index fingers, leaving three spare fingers either side (three, O, three ... see what they did there?), threatens to eclipse any of their songs.

Americans, by and large, have never "got" techno, but if you stick a couple of clowns up front yelling about bitches and the like, they love it. Back home, 3OH!3 are the biggest thing to come out of Colorado since South Park. In Cardiff on a rainy Monday, they struggle to fill an 800-capacity club with a crowd so young that you need special wristbands to get served at the bar.

3OH!3 are Sean Foreman, a compact little guy with Hollywood teeth, and Nathaniel Motte, a tall skinny guy with horrible hair. They both have degrees in physics, and they both look slightly too old to be doing this.

For shows they employ a live drummer and guitarist, but the foremost element in their Limp Bizkit-go-to-clubland noise is the pre-recorded rave riffs on the backing track. Strip away all the jumping and shouting, and their actual rhymes are hopeless. The line that always gets quoted (from the single "Don't Trust Me"), is "Tell your boyfriend, if he says he's got beef/That I'm a vegetarian and I ain't fucking scared of him". But is that actually that good? Goldie Lookin Chain write funnier lines in their sleep.

They're "clever", sure, but only in the most venal sense. They're businessmen first, crunk-core MCs second. I wonder what DVDs 3OH!3 watch on the tour bus. They'd love us to believe that their favourite film is Jackass: The Movie. It's probably Wall Street.

3OH!3 ... Y-OH!-Y?

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
'Banksy Does New York' Film - 2014

Art Somebody is going around telling people he's Banksy - but it isn't the street artist

Arts and Entertainment
Woody Allen and Placido Domingo will work together on Puccini's Schicchi

Theatre

Arts and Entertainment
The sixteen celebrities taking part in The Jump 2015

TV

Arts and Entertainment
British author Helen Macdonald, pictured with Costa book of the year, 'H is for Hawk'
booksPanel hail Helen Macdonald's 'brilliantly written, muscular prose' in memoir of a grief-stricken daughter who became obsessed with training a goshawk
Arts and Entertainment
Tom DeLonge has announced his departure from Blink-182

music
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
In the picture: Anthony LaPaglia and Martin Freeman in 'The Eichmann Show'

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Anne Kirkbride and Bill Roache as Deirdre and Ken Barlow in Coronation Street

tvThe actress has died aged 60
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Marianne Jean-Baptiste defends Joe Miller in Broadchurch series two

tv
Arts and Entertainment
The frill of it all: Hattie Morahan in 'The Changeling'

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny may reunite for The X Files

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Jeremy Clarkson, left, and Richard Hammond upset the locals in South America
TV
News
A young woman punched a police officer after attending a gig by US rapper Snoop Dogg
people
Arts and Entertainment
Reese Witherspoon starring in 'Wild'

It's hard not to warm to Reese Witherspoon's heroismfilm
Arts and Entertainment
Word up: Robbie Coltrane as dictionary guru Doctor Johnson in the classic sitcom Blackadder the Third
books

Arts and Entertainment
The Oscar nominations are due to be announced today

Oscars 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Hacked off: Maisie Williams in ‘Cyberbully’

Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challenge

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne in The Theory of Everything and Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game are both nominated at the Bafta Film Awards
Arts and Entertainment

Academy criticised after no non-white actors nominated

Arts and Entertainment
Damian Lewis shooting a scene as Henry VIII in Wolf Hall
TV

Arts and Entertainment
A history of violence: ‘Angry, White and Proud’ looked at the rise of far-right groups

tv

An expose of hooliganism masquerading as an ideological battle

Arts and Entertainment

art

Lee Hadwin can't draw when he's awake, but by night he's an artist

Arts and Entertainment

TV

Arts and Entertainment
Michael Keaton in the 1998 Beetlejuice original

film

Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman and David Tennant star in 'Broadchurch'

TV

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Greece elections: In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza

    Greece elections

    In times like these, the EU has far more dangerous adversaries than Syriza, says Patrick Cockburn
    Holocaust Memorial Day: Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears

    Holocaust Memorial Day

    Nazi victims remembered as spectre of prejudice reappears over Europe
    Fortitude and the Arctic attraction: Our fascination with the last great wilderness

    Magnetic north

    The Arctic has always exerted a pull, from Greek myth to new thriller Fortitude. Gerard Gilbert considers what's behind our fascination with the last great wilderness
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    Homeless in Wales can find inspiration from Daniel’s story
    Front National family feud? Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks

    Front National family feud?

    Marine Le Pen and her relatives clash over French far-right party's response to Paris terror attacks
    Pot of gold: tasting the world’s most expensive tea

    Pot of gold

    Tasting the world’s most expensive tea
    10 best wildlife-watching experiences: From hen harriers to porpoises

    From hen harriers to porpoises: 10 best wildlife-watching experiences

    While many of Britain's birds have flown south for the winter, it's still a great time to get outside for a spot of twitching
    Nick Easter: 'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

    'I don’t want just to hold tackle bags, I want to be out there'

    Nick Easter targeting World Cup place after England recall
    DSK, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel

    The inside track on France's trial of the year

    Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Dodo the Pimp, and the Carlton Hotel:
    As provocative now as they ever were

    Sarah Kane season

    Why her plays are as provocative now as when they were written
    Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of a killing in Iraq 11 years ago

    Murder of Japanese hostage has grim echoes of another killing

    Japanese mood was against what was seen as irresponsible trips to a vicious war zone
    Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

    Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

    One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
    The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

    The enemy within

    People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

    Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
    Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

    Autumn/winter menswear 2015

    The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore