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
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister

TV reviewIt has taken seven episodes for Game of Thrones season five to hit its stride

Arts and Entertainment
Jesuthasan Antonythasan as Dheepan

FilmPalme d'Or goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Måns Zelmerlöw performing

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Norton was back in the commentating seat for Eurovision 2015

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May on stage

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The light stuff: Britt Robertson and George Clooney in ‘Tomorrowland: a World Beyond’
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Reawakening: can Jon Hamm’s Don Draper find enlightenment in the final ‘Mad Men’?
tv reviewNot quite, but it's an enlightening finale for Don Draper spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Breakfast Show’s Nick Grimshaw

Radio
Arts and Entertainment

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
'Youth' cast members Paul Dano, Jane Fonda, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, and Michael Caine pose for photographers at Cannes Film Festival
film
Arts and Entertainment
Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward and Robin in the 1960s Batman TV show

Comics
Arts and Entertainment
I am flute: Azeem Ward and his now-famous instrument
music
Arts and Entertainment
A glass act: Dr Chris van Tulleken (left) and twin Xand get set for their drinking challenge
TV review
Arts and Entertainment
MIA perform at Lovebox 2014 in London Fields, Hackney

music
Arts and Entertainment
Finnish punk band PKN hope to enter Eurovision 2015 and raise awareness for Down's Syndrome

eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
William Shakespeare on the cover of John Gerard's The Herball or Generall Historie of Plantes

books
Arts and Entertainment

Game of Thrones review
Arts and Entertainment
Grayson Perry dedicates his Essex home to Julie

Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treat

tv
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from the original Swedish version of the sci-fi TV drama ‘Real Humans’
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Hugh Keays-Byrne plays Immortan Joe, the terrifying gang leader, in the new film
filmActor who played Toecutter returns - but as a different villain in reboot
Arts and Entertainment
Charlize Theron as Imperator Furiosa in Mad Max: Fury Road
film
Arts and Entertainment
Jessica Hynes in W1A
tvReview: Perhaps the creators of W1A should lay off the copy and paste function spoiler alert
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.

    Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

    Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

    For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
    Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

    Fifa corruption arrests

    All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
    Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

    The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

    In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
    How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

    How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

    Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
    Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

    How Stephen Mangan got his range

    Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor
    The ZX Spectrum has been crowd-funded back into play - with some 21st-century tweaks

    The ZX Spectrum is back

    The ZX Spectrum was the original - and for some players, still the best. David Crookes meets the fans who've kept the games' flames lit
    Grace of Monaco film panned: even the screenwriter pours scorn on biopic starring Nicole Kidman

    Even the screenwriter pours scorn on Grace of Monaco biopic

    The critics had a field day after last year's premiere, but the savaging goes on
    Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people used to believe about periods

    Menstrual Hygiene Day: The strange ideas people once had about periods

    If one was missed, vomiting blood was seen as a viable alternative
    The best work perks: From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)

    The quirks of work perks

    From free travel cards to making dreams come true (really)
    Is bridge the latest twee pastime to get hip?

    Is bridge becoming hip?

    The number of young players has trebled in the past year. Gillian Orr discovers if this old game has new tricks
    Long author-lists on research papers are threatening the academic work system

    The rise of 'hyperauthorship'

    Now that academic papers are written by thousands (yes, thousands) of contributors, it's getting hard to tell workers from shirkers
    The rise of Lego Clubs: How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships

    The rise of Lego Clubs

    How toys are helping children struggling with social interaction to build better relationships
    5 best running glasses

    On your marks: 5 best running glasses

    Whether you’re pounding pavements, parks or hill passes, keep your eyes protected in all weathers
    Joe Root: 'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

    'Ben Stokes gives everything – he’s rubbing off on us all'

    Joe Root says the England dressing room is a happy place again – and Stokes is the catalyst
    Raif Badawi: Wife pleads for fresh EU help as Saudi blogger's health worsens

    Please save my husband

    As the health of blogger Raif Badawi worsens in prison, his wife urges EU governments to put pressure on the Saudi Arabian royal family to allow her husband to join his family in Canada