British band Muse lights up local stage

By Justine Stayman

Muse might not be a household name in the US, but the internationally known British band summoned enthusiastic fans from CHS and all over the D.C. area to rock the Patriot Center in Virginia on March 1 and the First Mariner Arena in Baltimore on March 3.

 As the Muse trio, which consists of drummer Dominic Howard, bassist Christopher Wolstenholme and pianist/guitarist/lead singer Matthew Bellamy, first took the stage with their fist-pumping and irrepressible album opener “Uprising,” the entire audience was swept into a musical revolution. The words “They will not control us! We will be victorious!” flashed from three suspended towers over the stage while 10,000 voices sang passionately along, punching the air in unison to the emphatic beat.

Although the effects were spectacular, including lasers, jets of smoke and three independently moving towers from which the band occasionally played, what made the show stand out was the energy, virtuosity and talent of the band itself.

Movement on stage never ceased, and front man Bellamy was able to whip the crowd into a frenzy, dashing around the stage in bright silver Converses, jumping up and down, playing behind his back and even allowing the audience to enjoy a vocal solo for a few classic choruses.

“I can’t pick a favorite [song],” sophomore Dina Trembisky said after attending the Virginia gig. “It’s between ‘Undisclosed Desires’ and ‘Stockholm Syndrome,’ they’re on different ends of the spectrum, but they’re both amazing.”

If one tried to define Muse by labeling them with stereotypical genre title such as rock, metal or even alternative, they would find it almost impossible. One particularly eclectic song off its latest album, The Resistance, boldly titled “United States of Eurasia,” combines a Middle Eastern vibe with classic Freddie Mercury style vocals, and wraps up with a rendition of Frédéric Chopin’s “Nocturne in E minor.” However, the strange combination of styles worked perfectly together and resulted in a sound that can only be described as flamboyant, apocalyptic rock; a soundtrack to the end of the world.

While the band has topped the charts in 18 different countries with The Resistance and sold out the new 90,000 seat Wembley Stadium in London two nights in a row, Muse appears almost unnoticed in the US by comparison, never having reached a number one record and touring much smaller venues like the Patriot Center, which is generally used for basketball games and located on the campus of George Mason University.

Perhaps the omnipotent and market focused media of the US is to blame, but since the release of their first album Showbiz in 1999, it has taken almost a decade for Muse to make their way to American television and radio. Their US television debut only took place a few months ago on the popular Video Music Awards.

Although Muse might not be what kids these days like to call “mainstream,” it didn’t stop many CHS students from attending the concert and returning to school the next morning sporting tour shirts, hoarse voices, tired eyes, big grins and memories of a truly epic concert that has yet to stop replaying in their heads.