review: Muse – Electric Ballroom, Camden – September 11th 2015

Muse, one of the most successful British rock bands of our generation, last night frustrated a lot of fans. Namely those fans who don’t live within a reasonable commuting distance to Camden’s infamous Electric Ballroom; a venue that’s had an interesting week to say the least, considering the Libertines’ unannounced absence on Thursday night and now a surprise, intimate gig from none other than Matt Bellamy and co. The announcement came via social media at 11AM yesterday morning, and by 3PM when the box office opened 1000 or so devotees were queued along the length of Camden high street, nervous about their chances of grabbing a much sought after ticket.

This secret show rides on the back of their BBCR1 Live Lounge performance and tour announcement from the same morning, as they will be playing a ‘Drones’ world tour that spans primarily Europe and North America – much to the dismay of any fans outside those continents – dedicated to their newly released ‘Drones’ album. Rumour even has it that the live show will be complete with life size drones akin to the usual Muse super production.2a62ea_c36b51a5476243568eb2ecb9915c08fc.jpg_srb_p_309_309_75_22_0.50_1.20_0.00_jpg_srb

As heavily suspected they launched into the set with new songs ‘Reapers’, ‘Psycho’ and ‘The Handler’, all well received by the already sweaty and frenzied crowd, only to take things back further than a decade to the unmistakable ‘Hysteria’ intro, further exciting everyone who was lucky enough to be  part of tonight. Even though Bellamy’s interaction with the audience is kept to a minimum in aid of them roaring through a set of beloved hits, he manages to breathe ‘Okay Camden, gonna take you back here’ as an opening to ‘Plug in Baby’ , followed by ‘Supermassive Black Hole’ before returning to Drones for ‘Dead Inside’, a track that sounds as though it has already cemented itself firmly in their huge back catalogue of hits with its laid back 2/2 time signature and heavy distortion. The set never loses momentum as they captivate the audience with pitch perfect renditions of ‘Time is Running Out’ and ‘Starlight’, a testament to Matt Bellamy’s wide tenor vocal range and virtuoso standard of guitar.  The encore is a trio of the crowd-pleasing ‘Supremacy’, ‘Uprising’ and answering to the incessant ‘Knights of Cyd’ chants of the crowd, they finish on a huge ‘Knights of Cydonia’, complete with harmonica and unrivaled stage presence.

Their live show, already incredible in so many ways, compressed down to fit the Electric Ballroom and exempt of all the needless embellishments, relying solely on showmanship and talent – this is Muse at their best; and believe me, their best in unbeatable.

Photography credits to Ollie Farnden – @olliefarnden on Instagram (go check him out, he’s really good).

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