XFM online 2003-12-03 – Muse, Cardiff IA, December 1 2003

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Review of the 1st December 2003 concert at Cardiff International Arena on Xfm's website.

Muse, Cardiff IA, December 1 2003

It’s always good to have at least one band you can go absolutely gibbering’n’shaking mental over, kickboxing the living shite out of your larynx during every song, mining your way to the bottom of your lungs at the end of every song.

Having built up a twisted, dedicated and deranged following over the past 6 years, The Cult Of Muse is going inter-global. Tonight, each and every worshipper screams ‘til their throat burns like an industrial incinerator and claps like their hands have been possessed by two sworn enemies diving into bloody war. Muse deserve no less brutal appreciation.

The militaristic march of Apocalypse Please is the sound of Doomsday if it was a gravity-defying ride at Alton Towers, Hysteria resembles the Big Bang as imagined in a brainstorming session by Queen and Rage Against The Machine. The bit where New Born detonates it’s pummelling guitar-riff, meanwhile, sees Cardiff used as a launchpad for the end of the world and the beginning of Chaos, whilst the baroque’n’roll of Space Dementia is set against a literal hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy (the giant screens behind the band depicting a Millenium Falcon-esque bolt through the space-time continuum). The show’s centrepiece, however, is Butterflies & Hurricanes, it’s slow-burning beginnings build up to a rallying, urgent manifesto. "Best, you’ve got to be the best!", wails Matt Bellamy in a chorus that would be the ideal theme tune to Record Breakers if it was set in the apocalyptic war in the Terminator movies.

This is rock’n’roll grabbed out of its cradle, strapped into the frontseat of a DeLoreon and speed-balled to 2450. By the time Stockholm Syndrome brings everyone’s eardrums to bleeding, pleading knees, there’s been balloons, bigger balloons and ticker-tape falling from the skies – all clear proof that the post-Muse fallout has begun. They’re a joyous, raging celebration of life, death, love and hate filtered through pomposity the size of Chris Eubank’s wet dreams. And, unlike most of today’s faux-rockers, Muse practice what they preach. They’ve got to be the best. And they are.

Niall Doherty

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