Muse, SECC, Glasgow, Wednesday 24th October

4.00

 

For a band who fully embrace every ounce of intergalactic pomposity sci-fi rock has ever conjured, Muse’s core trio (plus keyboard player) appear somehow smaller than life onstage. Yet playing within their own mini-amphitheatre, a three-quarter-circle of upturned screens, blazing laser lights and metallic gangways which come together in a dual-podium pincer like the spacecraft from Prometheus, their show was never going to be about personality over pyrotechnics.

When singer and guitarist Matt Bellamy utters a weedy “thank you very much, Glasgow,” it’s like watching the footage of Darth Vader speaking with David Prowse’s accent. His cause isn’t helped by the fact that most of the SECC’s crowd, expanded to its full, all-standing capacity for this first UK date of the band’s 2 Law tour, enjoy at best only an obscured view of the figures on stage, such is the angle of elevation and the glare from the moving arrangement of screens dripping from the ceiling like a mechanical stalactite. But then, who goes to a Muse concert expecting intimacy or understatement?

There’s precious little subtlety to be found here, but as an example of the modern arena show’s bombastic spectacle, their set is surely one of the world’s leaders. Crucially the music is also up to the challenge of soundtracking such an epic production, from the urgent grandeur of Supremacy to Supermassive Black Hole’s muscular grind and even the Radiohead-like delicacy of Ruled By Secrecy.

What entertains most in listening – aside from the battering and difficult-to-resist riffs of, for example, Time is Running Out and Plug In Baby – is the constant stream of real or perceived influences professionally smelted down into one Muse-like whole: the Goldfrapp-style electronic bass murmur meets I Want to Break Free soloing of Madness, the techno meets Jean Michel Jarre fusion of Follow Me and Undisclosed Desires’ unlikely recreation of Talk Talk invested with a powerful macho bombast.

Bassist Chris Wolstenholme’s underpowered singing turn on Liquid State reveals Bellamy’s true value to the band, as a powerful vocal performer if not a magnetic frontman, while Uprising and Knights of Cydonia are well-placed together in the encore as the only songs in their set which break the bounds of lyrical neutrality with a certain indistinct anti-authoritarian undercurrent. Yet the second encore of Starlight and Olympic anthem Survival, and the associated bursts of air guitar and drums around the room, reveals them for what they truly are - the world’s biggest-ever edition of Guitar Hero.

Arts and Entertainment

Great British Bake Off
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

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

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

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

    The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

    They fled war in Syria...

    ...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
    From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

    Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

    Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
    Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

    Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

    Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
    From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

    Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

    From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
    Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

    Kelis interview

    The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea