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ACL Live Shot: Muse

Epic UK trio won’t be shut down

By Michael Toland, 9:14AM, Sat. Oct. 5, 2013

Muse lifts off, 10.4.13
Muse lifts off, 10.4.13
photo by Gary Miller

At the very start of Muse’s third appearance at ACL Fest, bandleader Matt Bellamy hit maybe three chords before stage power shut down like a California grid.

Broken generator fixed some 20 minutes later, the UK trio relaunched “Supremacy,” a pompous Olympic anthem from its latest LP, The 2nd Law. And in case you don't know, calling Muse pompous is like calling a banana yellow. It’s a statement of fact, not a value judgement.

Accompanied by acid geometry visuals, Muse reveled in melodic melodrama. Glitchy synths paved the way for the neo-classical riff of “Plug In Baby,” while ambient instrumental “The 2nd Law: Isolated System” accompanied apocalyptic film clips and prefaced glam-beat sing-along “Uprising.” Bellamy wrung out Hendrix’s version of “The Star Spangled Banner” prior to crashing into danceable groove skyscraper “Hysteria.”

This band holds nothing back when it comes to onstage bombast, and the legions wouldn’t want it any other way. The sea of bodies swooned to every classical flourish and wigged-out guitar solo, greeting the radio hit “Madness” with joy and singing the bridges of “Time Is Running Out” and “Starlight” unprompted. It just makes sense to get swept up in Muse’s grandiosity.

Besides, the band has enough sense of humor to use cheesy animated dancing frogs as accompaniment to “Panic Station.” Another power outage clipped penultimate song “Survival” before it climaxed, but several minutes of dead air didn’t blunt the impact of encore anthem “Knights of Cydonia,” the brilliantly excessive mini-epic crossing Ennio Morricone with Queen. That’s what Muse is all about.


For more ACL Fest coverage, see austinchronicle.com/acl. For photo galleries from the fest, see austinchronicle.com/photos.

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