Concert review: Muse at 1st Mariner Arena
From the first notes of the fist-pumping protest anthem "Uprising," Muse set the dial at 10, where it stayed for the rest of the 100-minute show.
The British power trio has a sound tailor made for arenas such as 1st Mariner, where they played last night. It was a night of colossal riffage and manic special effects, from frantic laser lights to disturbing videos.
"Rise up and take the power back it's time the / fat cats had a heart attack we have to / unify and watch our flag ascend, so come on," lead singer/guitarist Matt Bellamy (pictured) sang.
Did he mean it? With his turquoise pants, sparkly silver shoes and Kanye West glasses, it was hard to tell.
After the show, more people probably watched the Maryland-Duke game or grabbed a snack from McDonald's than rose up to overthrow the fat cats. I'll bet most folks came to rawk, and rawk they did ...
Bellamy filled the arena with feedback and aching falsetto, and occasionally conjured flurries of distorted notes. Bassist Christopher Wolstenholme and drummer Dominic Howard held down the driving rhythms, reminiscent of '90s alt-rock (before all those pesky emo bands went mainstream).
The show, which started at 8:50 p.m. and ended at about 10:30 p.m., had several tunes from their latest album, "The Resistance" but also spanned Muse's past few albums, with songs like "Starlight," "Super Massive Black Hole," and "Hysteria"
The staging was quite the sight: The band members stood on three tall pillars, which rose and retracted, depending on the song. They'd stand on the stage for a couple songs, and then the columns would come up from the floor and lift them 20 feet above the audience. I've never seen anything quite like it; someone clearly put a ton of time and effort into its design.
The columns also displayed video on their sides, and some of that video was freakish -- hundreds of giant black and white eyeballs, blinking at us, and, at one point, faceless naked bodies (parts and all) spinning around. Yeah.
While a few of Muse's songs were bookended with short instrumental jams, Muse kept the set tight, taking only short pauses between songs. If they had played much longer, the show might have grown monotonous. As it was, they hit Baltimore with a heavy dose of melodic, metallic rock 'n' roll.
(Photos of Muse performing in January at the Big Day Out 2010 Music Festival by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)