Muse : Edinburgh, Corn Exchange

Muse pomp up the volume...

Muse‘s new stage show is the biggest pomp-rock pantomime since Rick Wakeman got his beard trapped in a giant rotating armadillo in 1973.

To your left, ladies and gentlemen, you will see a large glowing egg. To your right, an elevated, strobe-stroked platform. And that tiny figure, leaping and squat-thrusting like a jazzercising fieldmouse? Why that’ll be Matt Bellamy

– avant-indie-rock’s very own Jimi Hendrix.

Bellamy doesn’t say much. But then, he doesn’t need to. One of the finest guitarists of his generation, the spiky-bonced tyke lets his fingers do the talking; storming through ‘Micro Cuts’ and newie ‘Dead Star’ in a blur of flamboyance. AndMuse, lest we forget, do Tunes like nobody else. ‘Plug in Baby’ is like being trapped inside Wagner while being bullied by metallic ants, and ‘Sunburn’ is still the greatest song to warn of the dangers of UV exposure (possibly) while sounding like God ‘s own wake-up call, like, ever.

Even when their pomp-ometer swings towards self-parody with a piano-hammering

encore of Nina Simone ‘s ‘Feeling Good’, it’s more an act of bloody-minded bravado than an indulgence. A final, cacophonous ‘Bliss’ is, meanwhile, the perfect reminder of Muse‘s blinding ability to tease grunge into seemingly impossible peaks of neo-classical glory.

Many mock the trio for their bluff ambition and occasionally ludicrous exhibitionism.

But while NAM ‘s footsoldiers bleat like weeping lambs, only Muse – enemies of complacency, spearheads from Planet Pretension – dare to play like they’re the last band on Earth.

Sarah Dempster