Osaka gig review (200010 NME article)

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This transcription may be inaccurate as we have not seen an original copy.

Osaka gig review

Muse indulge in more glamorous guitar gorging

A guitar squeals unbridled as Matt Bellamy, mounted obliquely on his bass player's shoulders, spins violently into the drum kit. Muse pick themselves up laughing to spray the crowd with Moet & Chandon like Formula 1 champs. Twelve months ago, they were the deathly serious challengers for the angsty hearts of misunderstood social sideliners. Today, Muse are not far short of glam rock pigs.

Fame, champagne and the need to step out of long shadows can force men to change quickly. Subtle this is not. Bellamy's dancing fingers cover every inch of the fretboard in ostentatious, frenetic displays of skill. 'Cave' and 'Showbiz' howl majestically, ebb and climb to stirring crescendos. Nigh on every song is embellished with dextrous flourishes and stadium rawk theatre.

A gust of contorted noise from the speakers is cut short to reveal the delicate prelude to 'Sunburn'. 'Sober' exhibits a splendid falsetto desperation and brawny instrumental undercurrent. Despite all of this skinny, pallid virtuoso's star potential, Bellamy approaches the red zone on the guitar wank-o-meter far too often for comfort. The boy is good, he knows it and he wants to flaunt it. On the basis of new ones like 'Plug In Baby', the future is almost assured but how long before the guitars eat these songs whole?

As a spectacle, Muse are as glamorous a prospect as any. The flat moments will be weeded out in time as new material merges into the set. The act will be honed to make the most of some undeniable talent, a transcendent voice and the charismatic nature of triumphant youth. Or they'll end up synonymous for pop excess beloved of long-haired guitar magazine aficionados.

It was undoubtedly an engaging show with drama and glitter and some adroit songs. Still deserving contenders finding their own way then.

See also

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