MUSE and SOULWAX - Torquay Riviera Centre 21/6/2000 (Showbiznet page)

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MUSE and SOULWAX - Torquay Riviera Centre 21/6/2000

Teignmouth, Torquay, Devon for that matter, is not a gig place. Tonight's gig at the Riviera centre is the first taste of real entertainment the area has had in months, and boy do the people here need it. It's as if the area is suffering from such a lack of music that tonight's homecoming visit from Muse attracts one of the most excited audiences I've witnessed in a long while.

Support comes from Belgian rock outfit Soulwax, who's smartly dressed appearance and flashing light sabre microphone stands compliment the punky-pop style of their music brilliantly. New single 'Much Against Everyone's Advice' stands out, even bettering their last two efforts, but the biggest crowd reaction is for the introduction of the Casio guitar; You wanna buy a watch, buy a Casio watch, you wanna buy a guitar, buy a Casio guitar...They have built in rhythm machines don't you know, we are informed before a bizarre but very funny mix of Backstreet boys and plain old D.I.S.C.O has the audience in stitches. So, despite being classed as miserable, Muse fans do have a sense of humour after all.

Another revelation - Matt Bellamy is enjoying himself. After Colin from Radiohead's comments in the NME last week that Muse are 'miserable' and 'should learn to enjoy themselves', you'd expect this to be a pretty dark affair. Not so, in fact Matt seems incapable of wiping the smile off his face. Genuinely taken back by the adoration of the home crowd, Matt says how good it is to be home and calls this 'the best show for ages', and he isn't wrong.

The new songs all sound stunning, especially opener 'New Born' and the sublime 'Plug In Baby' which could possibly be the song that makes them break the top ten. Also featured is a fantastic cover of Nina Simone hit 'Feeling Good', debuted on a Radio 1 session last year, which Matt assured me would see the light of day either as a B-Side or on an EP sometime soon.

Nothing amazingly different but more of a logical progression from what preceded them, the new songs fit in nicely between tracks from the debut album 'Showbiz'. Most of the favourites are played, heavier tracks like the angst-ridden 'Uno' and 'Cave' and an especially beautiful version of latest single 'Unintended' being highlights. Radiohead couldn't get away with something as good as this.

It all builds up to an epic 'Showbiz', complete mayhem descends in the moshpit, something bassist Chris Wolstenholm liked the look of so much he decided to jump in himself and go crowd surfing, bass still strapped on. Somehow he found his way out to finish the song, before playing a huge thumping riff whilst Matt went over to punish his guitar for slight technical difficulties earlier by smashing it repeatedly into his amplifier. Once well and truly dead, guitars are sent flying into the drum kit by Chris and Matt, narrowly avoiding drummer Dominic Howard. The sound of broken guitars and distortion continues, the crowd stand chanting for and encore, but Muse bid Devon goodnight and make their way offstage. It would be impossible to come back after such a fantastic finish to a gig which will live in my mind as equally the best I have ever witnessed.

Devon needs Muse more often. So does the rest of the world. After the show Matt talked of maybe a one off EP to fill the gap before the next album, all we know is we need more and we need it soon. What we have presently isn't enough, but it's far more than we deserve.


The above review was written by Tom Hannon (thankyou very much)

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