Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Muse at the Shepherds Bush Empire: Muse-tastic
You see this, Matt Bellamy? This is my right ear. It no longer works, thanks to the spectacular performance you and the boys put on tonight.
So despite my fears yesterday, Simon and I managed to get in without any problems. In fact, I reckon he could've been a 75 year old Polish woman in a bright purple leotard and would still've gotten in. But he's not, so there you go.
Look - we had fashionable wristbands:
Well, what a night, what a night! The last time I saw Muse was at Earls Court in 2004, and we were so far back that Matt Bellamy was just a tiny figure in the distance; in fact, it might not've even been him for all I knew. This time, they were playing the Shepherds Bush Empire, which is not only my favourite venue, but is also conveniently located almost within spitting distance of my office. The Empire was packed full of eager Muse fans, all of whom were forced to pay around £3.40p for a pint. Whoa! Seriously?! Oh yes - Simon was not a happy bunny. They didn't draw a clover on the top of his Guinness either; for £3.40p I'd want the friggin' Mona Lisa on it.
Anyway, I was immediately drawn to the stage design - it was like something out of Doctor Who, and I don't mean new Who, I mean old, kitsch 50p-budget for the series Who with twinkly lights that surely didn't serve any useful purpose other than they twinkled. They also had funky plastic tubes that looked just like the transport tubes from Futurama:
This led me to believe that the Muse boys would shoot down onto the stage; alas, it was not to be, and they merely walked on from the side like everyone else. But who cares when they played such a barn-storming set as they did tonight?! I could not have asked for more - all the hits and loads off the new album, which, it must be said (no, it really must) stood up perfectly next to the established tracks. Supermassive Blackhole was incredible - Chris Wolstenholme's backing vocals were spine-chilling; imagine Steven Hawking's voice box on helium spinning a foreboding tale of the end of the world! I think Simon summed it up best by saying that their sound was "immense," but then he had had a few pints, and although Sarah Cawood was standing behind him, I really don't think she was touching his bum as he claims. More than likely it was her fella pushing him away from her.
A few complaints: why is it, that whenever you go to a gig, some huge mutant gigantor measuring about 9ft tall comes and stands right in front of you just before the band comes on? Despite my best flirtatious efforts with the lovely bar lady, she wouldn't let me sweep the plastic glasses onto the floor, clamber up onto the bar, and dance my little heart out, so I just had to find a better standing spot. And I could've done without the old guy in the suit dad-dancing in front of me, doing the ol' 'lean back, right hand in the air, right hand down, left hand in the air, left hand down; repeat as necessary (Wasn't dad-dancing banned about 1993? Luckily he buggered off after a while - probably put his hip out). Oh, and someone kept letting incredibly toxic farts off - I almost passed out at one point.
I'm still a bit post-gig jittery (in a VERY good way), and at the moment my efforts to remove my wristband without cutting it have led to it being stuck halfway over my hand; it makes it look like I have crip-hand, or a cloven hoof, and it's going blue. It's a bit like I'd imagine typing with a beak would be like, so here's some pictures so I don't have to type anymore:
And although it's not clear here, Chris Wolstenholme has grown the most fantastic moustache outside of the Village People. I wonder if they're back in fashion this year? Should I grow one?! (I've got shitloads more - photos, that is, not moustaches, and a weird little video clip too if anyone's interested)
All in all a superb evening - and free, too! Bonus!