Rouen Exo 7 (2000-01-17 Le Cargo article)
Translated review of the 2000-01-08 gig at Exo 7, Rouen.
Muse - Exo 7, Rouen - 08/01/2000
Madness and controversy
How does one become a mini phenomenon in a few months? To tell the truth it is often incomprehensible for a rock band that does not have the promotion of a boy band or futures "to be number 1", I must tear my jaw and your ears at the same time... "hits parades that majors love to format. Despite what you might think, the promotional Muse campaign was not excessive. When we asked, for example, those who worked with The Eels at the beginning, no one had any real explanation for the 100,000 copies sold of their first album. For Muse there are only 42,000 albums sold. It's true that it's not bad but it's not huge. For now the Muse phenomenon is more in the concerts and the blah blah around the band that we can see it. At Exo 7 in Rouen fabulous groups have passed. Black Desire or My Bloody Valentine for one of their rare concerts in France or more recently Supergrass. Concerts that have almost filled up - like Muse that was not quite full - but none of them have seen such a dense crowd two hours before the concert. When I arrived at 5:30 pm from Paris to interview them there were already people in front of the room (which a lot of Parisians who had made the trip and who will surely see them at the Bataclan and Elysée Montmartre). Coming out of the interview around 6:45 pm we were surprised to see the crowd spread over a hundred meters waiting in the cold Rouen. Muse with these two complete Parisian concerts is not just a phenomenon on the capital, madness and controversy Muse have also won the province.
After an interview - which you will find of course on The Freighter - a bit too conventional and professional - we would have liked the group to loosen up a little but it's not their kind of home and besides the band frankly didn't want to do the interview - after a barely-edible burger - and again - and an hour of waiting in the cold for photo-pass and ID card stories - I will not tell you about our life's stories at the Exo 7... well after all that we finally enter the room... great small room, good atmosphere, many members of the public but we could easily get closer to the scene and atmosphere pogo / slam enough friendly. No collective hysteria as could be feared after their delirious showcase at the Fnac and MCM Cafe packed with young girls ("Bruelliques"), just a public, a young audience, happy to be there and, it is inevitable, some people superficially happy to see "the next big thing"! And the concert... in the image of precedents and their album, a little bit of everything, the excellent, the awesome, the annoying, the inflated, the swelling...
Starting with a cover, played on the keyboard by Matt and sung to the megaphone we take full ears - an excellent piece that shows us the group in a slightly different light. The case is clear, this is their first concert in France headlining outside the promotion and Muse wants to offer us something different. It is one of their true qualities, to surprise and surprise us, to play the songs differently not only from the album but also at each new stage of their tour. Few groups dare to take the risk that sometimes can give the best as the worst but that in any case force the respect. But alas that is not enough to make great concerts... for Muse there are some gaps: - no beautiful walks: the two of the album ("Falling Down" and "Unintended") are not far from being terrible, even if one of them is played on acoustic, followed by a second new piece on acoustic too, more pleasant but a little too long... - no communication with the public. In some shows it doesn't bother me too much, but they're young guys who play powerful music, which moves the crowds, it's a little weird. It is not Nirvana who wants two, or three "thank very much indeed..."'s or a "pleased to be here", it's a bit phony and that's it.
Not a word, not a bullshit, a few glances towards the public. It's a shame, no complicity is installed! All that lacks a little heat ... obviously we are a little tempted to compare with the band that was there a month before; The Supergrass. And this is blatant, it lacks communication and therefore and above all humor. For an English band it's really a pity, we can not say that the band does not have any when we come to discuss with them, this British humor, this derision that we never know how to take... but on scene they forget everything, we are there for the music, for the emotion, for, maybe, to take a little too seriously... but with Muse there are also too many: too much vocalize, too sharp, we know that you have an amazing voice, but we must not turn to the demonstration, no need to push us ululations all the way.
Too much feedback - seems that the day before in Brussels was OK, but for now I'm not so lucky when I see them, sometimes it's quite painful - besides the sound was too loud, really too strong - even if the scales were quite acceptable - one too ... we come out with the ears buzzing ... but beware, there we romp on the sides a little annoying the group because muse draws a little - enough to see the debates between those who already adore them in a totally disproportionate way and those who hate them mainly for the reasons that drive us to love them. But Muse in concert it's still pretty incredible, more than once we taped on the spot. Because there is also and especially with Muse's "Fillip", "Cave", "Uno", the excellent "Muscle Museum" and the awesome "Showbiz" (with its apocalyptic ending that looks a lot like the "Demolition Guitar" that Nirvana played at the end of their concerts). Songs that are moving, incredible power, relentless choruses. Real gems, that the group takes an incredible pleasure to play. Chris the bass player, who seemed a little sleepy part of the concert, especially for the quietest songs, wakes up for all the titles I just mentioned and some others, like the two new songs that the group plays tonight (between some previously unreleased b-sides there are also two new tracks which were very nice, including an instrumental late in the concert). During these moments we stay nailed on the spot, there we understand why we come to see Muse. To get your head full, for English pop rock in all its splendor. Powerful and melodious. If the whole concert resembled his final "Showbiz", we would sign with our eyes closed. It's true that for now we like Muse for their qualities and even for some of their faults, but, if you can afford, be less thoughtful guys, remember that you are 20 years old. Do not forget to fuck the brothel and have fun, because in France you will be expected to turn surely more than anywhere else.
Published by Renaud de Foville the 17/01/00