Muse at London Shepherd's Bush Empire (200005 NME article)
This transcription may be inaccurate as we have not seen an original copy.
Muse at London Shepherd's Bush Empire
OK, let's pick the most obvious and obnoxious fly out of the Clearasil first. Will we need Muse when Radiohead finally get round to delivering their next album? On the evidence of this wired, muscular and borderline demented gig - fuck yes. There's so much more going on here than singer-guitarist Matthew Bellamy's Yorko-style "Oh no, I'm suffering from almost unbearable existential angst while simultaneously experiencing soul-destroying alienation as a result of late capitalism's ever-accelerating descent into the denatured abyss of mindless consumerism" falsetto. Much more.
There's good old-fashioned, copper-bottomed cabaret here. Muse have at last half-a-dozen tunes - 'Sunburn', 'Cave' and 'Showbiz' included - which Ms Shirley Basset could turn into 'Diamonds Are Forever' killer Bond movie theme tunes with ease. And Bellamy's tortured, bog-eyed, shagged-through-a-hedge-backwards Shock-Haired Peter schtick is utterly captivating. Someone give the young man some Valium and a comb and the key to the pie cupboard, please!
And they rock. They utilise the Nirvana-patented slow & whiny bit / EVERYBODY IN THE HOUSE GO SCREAMING MAD POGO MENTAL! trick brilliantly. 'Kinnel, yes, they were only supporting Bush here tonight at this MTV-sponsored corporate cock-rock fest but to say they blew the Gavin's shite Nirvana-lite mob offstage would be a blatant understatement. They hunted Bush down, caught them, tortured them, slaughtered them, buried them, danced on their graves and then dug them up and ate them. Then shat them out and buried them again. It was like that scene in Amadeus where Wolfie Mozart utterly humiliates the balding Scarletti. (That'll be Salieri - Classical Music Ed) It was great!
The first (disappointingly slick and ever so slightly derivative) Muse album, 'Showbiz', only hints at the band's potential. They have in still-wet-behind-the-ears Matthew Bellamy - who looks and sounds as if he spent his entire adolescence listening to Nirvana, Radiohead and Hendrix while feeding his ravenous tapeworm an endless supply of amphetamines - something of a borderline genius. There are moments - as in the frenetic delivery of the killer new track 'Plug In Baby' - when he almost breaks free of the Yorkoid/Cobainian straitjacket and flies. The guitar is twisted, scratched, spanked and hammered, you can see drummer Dominic Howard and bassist Chris Wolstenholme exchange nervous glances. And of course it would be dreadfully premature and utterly, utterly stupid to whisper the words 'Jimi Hendrix Experience' here. But whisper it we will.
Muse Mark One will conquer the hearts and minds of the production-line angst-rock obsessed American Midwest with ease. One only hopes that this will not satisfy them. Muse have the potential and the ability to rip rock a new arsehole. All they need to do is jump off the giant's shoulders, spread their wings and fly.