Muse Dublin Olympia

Mostly, it's been weird...

We’ll get to Muse later, but firstly today has not been a good day for [a]JJ72[/a]. It could’ve been a great day. A

hometown show, a big stage, a partisan crowd and a support slot with one of

their keenest contemporary rivals and instrument-smashing peers. The scene

was set, and the lighting was perfect, but it was not to be. They have no

back-line. Yes folks, the guitars and drums and big silver boxes are

languishing lost in Heathrow, or gobbled up by a tornado somewhere over
Devon. But they soldier on, or, at least, pixie indie pin-up Mark Greaney

does. See, Mark‘s got the tunes and the wailing larynx, and he can bash out

some rough-cut versions on the old acoustic, get a bit of a sing-song going,

a pat on the head, and stride off knowing he’s done his best under trying


But it’s not as simply as that. A good hearty strum-a-long through ‘October

Swimmer’ is in full effect, and then suddenly, “TWOOONNNGGG”, string breaks.

Oh dear. There’s some confusion, some ruffling about backstage. Mark returns

with new guitar, apologises, and off he goes again. But it’s all a bit flat.

He sings ‘Snow’. But it’s lost. He plays ‘Oxygen’. But where’s the bluster

and boom? Meanwhile, the kids are loving all this. He swings the guitar

around the stage, and they shout “Smash it!” But he’s only teasing. “I would

do”, he says, “but it’s not mine, I borrowed it from Matt from Muse“. So

much for the rivalry, so. And so much for the rebellion. But Mark is

cheered, not jeered, off-stage. In fact, you get the impression that if he

farted into the microphone for five minutes, they’d still shout for an


Nonetheless, the show now belongs to Muse, and they don’t hold back,

literally stomping onto the stage with furious venom. Matt Bellamy wrings

his guitar neck like he’s strangling a chicken (and, no, of course that’s

not a reference to either his or Greaney‘s voice). And from the opening

prog-rock-flamenco-metal romp of ‘Uno’, this whole set feels like we’ve

gatecrashed a private exorcism. The crowd are pogoing, moshing, surfing,

but onstage, Muse are doing their own thing, fighting their own demons,

rendering their verse-chorus-verse/ quiet-loud-quiet tunes into sheets of

distortion pillaging metal.

‘Sunburn’ is thunderous. ‘Unintended’ is unfiltered negative energy rock,

complete with scary/silly falsetto. There’s at least three new ones in

there somewhere, beneath the self-loathing din, on/off flickering references

to Nirvana, Buckley, Radiohead, and, er, Peter Frampton. They finish with
‘Showbiz’, Bellamy‘s bony, pointy frame flying around the stage like a

possessed skeleton, Chris Wolstenholme bent 90 degrees over an overloaded

bass, and Dominic Howard impetuously kicking over his drums one by one. It’s

been theatrical. It’s been angsty. It’s been sometimes dull. Sometimes

great. But mostly, it’s been weird.
Leagues O’Toole