Muse

T on the Fringe reviews

published: Tue 29th Aug 2006

Friday 4th to Wednesday 30th August 2006
various venues, Edinburgh city centre, Scotland, Scotland MAP
varies, dependant on event
last updated: Thu 17th Aug 2006

Although the Edinburgh fringe festival is coming to an end, the T on the Fringe bill still promises a large line-up of musical talent, including Paolo Nutini, Simple Minds, Belle & Sebastian, and tonights two bands, My Chemical Romance and Muse.

The stadium was absolutely packed for the gig, one of the hottest tickets of the festival, and deservedly so – Muse have won award after award for their spectacular performances, and with the release of their fourth album “Black Holes And Revelations”, a renewed vigour in pushing the prospect of what a live show can entail.

American emo-popsters My Chemical Romance opened proceedings, and proceed in producing an outstandingly ordinary set of material taken mostly from “Three Cheers from Sweet Revenge”, and some incredibly similar new material. Only the fantastically trashy “I’m Not Okay (I Promise)” provides any sort of entertainment.

By the time Muse are set to step onto the stage, the stadium is very nearly full, ready for their first Scottish show in over two years (not counting their brief half-hour set at the Radio One Big Weekend).

What sets Muse apart from the rest is that when you think that you’ve got them figured out, they go and throw a complete curveball, and tonight is no exception. It should be almost elementary – as they’ve always done recently, they should be opening with “Take A Bow”. It’s this that makes the opening chords to “Knights of Cydonia” – their usual set closer – an even bigger surprise to the start of the set.

It says something about the quality of the band when they can follow this song with two huge singles – “Hysteria” and “Supermassive Black Hole”, which results in a level of adoration from the audience that is frankly beyond possible human levels – from the get-go to the bitter end, Matt Bellamy has the crowd in the palm of his hands, throwing himself around the stage, revving up every single riff on his guitar and singing every word with a backing group of fifteen thousand people who are ecstatic to be seeing their heroes.

The actual stage set-up has been cut back from the Absolution tour – there are no huge balloons bouncing over the crowd, no confetti cannons, however there are several small screens behind the band, and giant translucent tubes with a spiral design, and this brings the focus back on the music and the band, who are on top form.

No part of the set is short of amazing music – older numbers such as “Showbiz” sit amongst newer material like the gorgeous “Invincible” in the middle of the performance – set over a military style beat and the simple conclusion of “Together we’re invincible”, and the quality of musicianship is impossible to fault- Dominic Howard in particular has become a complete demon on the drumkit.

The band begin to wrap things up with upcoming single “Starlight”, the classic “Plug In Baby”, “New Born”, and an encore of “Time Is Running Out” (which has to be restarted after Bellamy has a problem with his guitar), “Stockholm Syndrome” and traditional show opener “Take A Bow”, and as they leave the stage, the crowd show their appreciation for an outstanding showing from the Devonshire three-piece.

Sure, there’s no “Muscle Museum”, “Sunburn” or “Sing for Absolution”, but Muse have enough strong and original material to leave songs like these out and still leave everyone happy. By cutting back from the excessive stage show of previous years, the band have ensured that it’s now what they play that is the focal point, and this has improved to a whole new level.

Muse – simply out of this world.
review by: Matthew Shaw

Friday 4th to Wednesday 30th August 2006
various venues, Edinburgh city centre, Scotland, Scotland MAP
varies, dependant on event
last updated: Thu 17th Aug 2006


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