Date / Venue: Sunday, May 26, 2013 - Emirates Stadium, London
It isn't every gig that causes you to almost lose your eyebrows but Muse's opening for the summer stadium tour in the UK and Europe does just that. The massive set, built to represent a stylised power station, includes an extremely long "thrust" stage that brings the band right through the centre of the pit. During the opening sequence it seems that transmission is temporarily interrupted and suddenly an explosion erupts from the end of the thrust, causing screams, flying beer containers, and a sudden decline in the number of eyebrow waxing appointments.
As everyone slowly regathers their wits, and hopefully no stray body parts, the band take to the stage and launch into 'Supremacy', punctuated to great effect by huge flames shooting out of the top of the stacks above the stage. Despite it still being daylight the impact is impressive, to say the least, and is a perfect opener for the show.
Watching this gig you get the feeling that this is a band that was born to play huge stadiums. It's a performance, a show. Actors appear during 'Animals', a track about corporate greed - a banking-type man in a suit barging his way through the crowd, showering money, before he succumbs to a heart attack; and 'Feeling Good', a staple song given a twist by the female executive strutting down the stage, barking orders into her mobile phone, only to reach her demise by drinking from the vintage petrol bowser that rises from the end of the thrust stage.
Matthew Bellamy seems to be in his element on stage these days. Gone is the nervous, angsty young man - though some would say that this was one thing the fans loved about him - and before us is a confident, interactive performer. He struts and pouts all over the set, working the barrier crowd into a lather before he heads down the steps and takes a stroll around the base of the stage, greeting and hi-fiving the masses. It should be noted that during the Coventry gig (yes, this fan girl was at that one, too) the length of the route caught Bellamy out and he had to start running to get to the right point for the song. He was heard to utter into the microphone "shit...fuck this is long...". Bassist Chris Wolstenholmespends a lot of his time on the thrust stage, too, including taking the limelight during his lead vocals on 'Liquid State', a cranking bass-driven number about the demon drink, and accompanies Bellamy on guitar during the ballad, 'Unintended'. Dominic Howard even manages to get some time out from behind his main kit and joins the others with a smaller setup. It's a fantastic opportunity to see them up-close, playing more off each other than to the crowd.
It would be remiss to not mention a key element of Muse stage shows, and that's the visuals and lighting. Oli Metcalfe, long-time Lighting Director for the band, has an impeccable eye for his craft and always seems to get the mood just right. The jaw-dropping visuals are the work of Media Manager, Tom Kirk, and his incredible team. This crew knows exactly how to create an unforgettable production.
The setlist is one that should, hopefully, satisfy even the fussiest of Muse fans. Obviously the current album features heavily but there are classics such as 'Sunburn', 'Butterflies and Hurricanes', and 'Blackout' during which a massive lightbulb floats into the stadium and an aerialist appears from the base, cartwheeling and performing above the crowd. Crowd favourites 'Stockholm Syndrome', 'Time Is Running Out', and 'Plug In Baby'have the audience bouncing and jumping en-masse, leading to Bellamy's declaration later on Twitter "These last 2 nights were best crowds we have had in years! Fakkin' lahndan rahhks".
One of the highlights is the appearance of a very large robot. Somewhere along the line he was christened Charles, possibly by Bellamy, and when Charles rolls out onto the stage during 'Unsustainable' he is greeted with a huge cheer. This track caused a bit of a meltdown amongst some fans when a teaser snippet was released and it was feared that the band had moved into dub-step. With the eventual release of the full track it was apparent that all was well and Bellamy and co were just continuing with their habit of pushing their boundaries, deciding to replicate the computer tones of dub-step with their normal instruments. Charles featured in the music video and the stadium show is his live debut.
So, was it worth travelling from Wellington to the UK to see these shows? Absolutely. I know I'll never get to see anything like this in the southern hemisphere and Muse are in their element in a stadium. They are phenomenal musicians and have been smart enough to gather highly talented technical people for their crew. I feel like I've experienced something very special...and hopefully by the time I return to New Zealand I'll have my right eyebrow back.
The 2nd Law: Unsustainable - First verse dialogue only Supremacy with extended intro Supermassive Black Hole Panic Station (visuals of dancing world leaders) Map of the Problematique - Who Knows Who outro Interlude Hysteria - Back in Black outro Animals Knights of Cydonia - Man with a Harmonica intro Dracula Mountain drum and bass jam (Lightning Bolt cover) Sunburn Butterflies and Hurricanes Montpellier Jam - drum and bass jam Feeling Good (Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse cover) Follow Me Liquid State Madness Time Is Running Out - House of the Rising Sun intro Stockholm Syndrome - Freedom outro (Rage Against The Machine) Unintended Blackout - featuring lightbulb aerialist Guiding Light Undisclosed Desires
Encore: The 2nd Law: Unsustainable - featuring Charles the Robot Plug In Baby - Sweet Child O' Mine outro (Guns N' Roses) Survival
Encore 2: The 2nd Law: Isolated System - extended version Uprising - extended outro Starlight Chop Suey! (Richard Cheese cover of System of a Down)
In the mid to late 90's, when grunge began to wither away and MTV strived to find the next easy to access label to attach to new batch of up and coming rock bands, global attention started to shine on the Alt Rock scene.
The I Love The 90s Tour returns to Auckland next year March 23rd at Auckland’s Spark Arena, with a completely off the chain lineup featuring classic Hip Hop crew Naughty by Nature. Vin Rock from the Grammy Award winning rap group speaks fondly of this country and love of our people.
The Soundsplash Festival is returning to Raglan in January 2018. Local reggae favourites Katchafire are returning to feature on the bill. We sent a few questions over to lead vocalist Logan Bell ahead of the festival.
Following 2015’s Kitty, Daisy & Lewis'The Third', the sibling trio are back stronger than ever, harnessing their ability to create pop-infused soul, blues, rock n roll and a large mix of genres to perfection, in the shape of their fourth studio album, Superscope.
Kylie Price has just released her new album Bones. Last week she appeared on theNZ Entertainment Podcast, where she sang a new song I Dont Want To Go off the album while talking shop about her dream gig to play with Ed Sheeran and her Philipino roots.
Last week I caught up withPeter Hook ahead of returning down under for Australasian leg of the Joy Division and New Order Substance tour. We had a great chat about the spirit of punk, what it takes to write a book and why shows like the X-factor are so unhealthy…
Long established as one of New Zealand’s finest acts, South Pacific reggae-soul legends, The Black Seeds are set to tour the country in September, following the release of their long awaited 6th studio album Fabric, (out today - Friday September 8th).
Jacqueline Nalpant is a Booking Agent for the Paradigm Talent Agency, and is heading to New Zealand early next month where she'll be one of the speakers for the Going Global Music Summit (Friday 1st & Saturday 2nd September at Roundhead Studios, Auckland).
Since making her musical debut with her song Drift early last year, fast attracting a solid fan base and over 1 million plays across Spotify and Soundcloud in just a few months, Madeline North, better known by her musical moniker So Below, has once again blessed us with a moodier, masterful electro-pop banger, titled Ruin.
Since forming in 1998, the Antwerp, Belgium based trio Triggerfinger have long become a mainstay on the rock scene, building a solid reputation across Europe, the US, Canada and beyond, as one of the hardest-driving and sharpest dressing bands around.
Popular metalcore group Northlane are on their way to New Zealand. The Sydney band are touring North America taking in countries like Chile and Mexico as they head our way down-under next month to play Wellington’s San Fran then Auckland at the iconic Kings Arms.
Returning to New Zealand for the first time in three years, Australian metalcore band In Hearts Wake are on their way to our shores next month for a quick run of shows supporting their label cohorts Northlane.
Courtney Marie Andrews has landed in New Zealand, and set to play two concerts this week with Joe Pug - tonight at San Fran in Wellington (Wed July 19) and tomorrow night at The Tuning Fork in Auckland (Thu July 20).
Auckland two-piece Skinny Hobos, Alex Elvis and Texas Holdom, are heading on a 5 date New Zealand tour with headliners Decades, Bakers Eddy and Dead Favours. Kicking off tonight in Hamilton (July 14), the tour will also take them to Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and finishes up in Dunedin.
Have you ever considered sharing your most personal experiences with the entire world? Well come this Friday 14th July, that’s what Emma Cameron, the rocking front-woman of kiwi band Decades is about to do, when they release their long-awaited full length debut album, The Truth And Other People, so we sat down with the cheerful front woman to discover just what truth this album reveals..
Whilst Sonny Landreth is a well known slide-guitar master, zydeco enthusiast and phenomenal blues legend, what you may not know about him, is that he is one of the nicest gentlemen in the entire universe.
He was always the boy next door type energy, that type of person you just always wanted to be around. From day one, Shay Taylor has always been one to break the mold and live life in such a vibrant and contagious manner, that no matter who he spoke to, they walked away feeling great!
After a stand of three Auckland concerts that sold out in minutes in January, Connan Mockasin is hitting the road across Aotearoa for the first time in eight years this summer for a select run of headline shows.
They immediately sold out Sydney and Melbourne dates earlier this year, and now LCD Soundsystem are returning to Australia and New Zealand for their biggest headline shows ever this summer – touring February 2018!
To celebrate the recent announcement of their debut album Idiot Proverbs, set for release on Friday 12 January, Tiny Little Houses have revealed both the music video for their single ‘Entitled Generation’ and their highly anticipated Australian album tour for February and March 2018.