Archive for the ‘Muse’ Category

[ATTENDED: April 7, 2019] Muse

Three years ago (I can’t believe it was that long), I saw Muse at this very arena.

It was an incredible spectacle.  And I knew that I would see them again if they came back.

And here they were.

The last tour was in support of their Drones album and it was a marvel of technological excess–drones floating all over the place and marvels of wirelessness.

They had said that this album and tour was meant to more humanizing.  But that did not mean less spectacle! (more…)

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[ATTENDED: April 7, 2019] SWMRS

I was unfamiliar with SWMRS when I heard they were announced as Muse’s support act.

They formed in 2011 as Emily’s Army.  They recorded two albums under that name, then changed it  to SWMRS.  The band features brothers Cole and Max Becker (They are both singers and guitarists, with Cole taking more lead vocals (and hypeman) and Max playing more lead guitar).  The drummer is Joey Armstorng (obligatory mention that he is Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong’s son).  They also have had Joey’s brother Jakob on rhythm guitar.  Brother-to-no-one Seb Mueller is the bassist.

But it was their politics that made me excited to see them.  From a bit in Rolling Stone:

the subversion of patriarchy is part of what drives the band. They are a product of their respectively progressive upbringings in Oakland, where the young band members grew up loving riot grrrl and entrenched in feminist teachings. “I became aware at a pretty young age that I was benefiting too much from the patriarchy,” Becker, a current Berkeley student, explains. “It’s one of those things where you don’t think about it until you play a hundred shows and only see aggressive, hyper-masculine dudes crowd surfing on top of 14-year-old girls. We feel like it’s our duty to uplift the voices that aren’t as easily heard as ours.”

That’s pretty awesome.  And an encouraging sign for the youth of tomorrow. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: July 12, 2018] Muse: Drones World Tour

I really enjoyed the Muse concert that I went to.  I imagined that C. would have enjoyed it too.  He has been getting into some heavy melodic music and I thought Muse would fit into his tastes pretty well.

So when Muse announced the one-night only screening of this tour film, I decided to take him to Bethlehem to watch it.

I wasn’t sure what to expect.  Was it going to be concert footage and interviews?  Would there be interstitial pieces?  Would it be weird and stilted or would it just rock?  How long would it be?

Well, the last questions was answered first–it would be around 90 minutes.  Perfect.  The usher also told us that Muse would be giving us a special thank you for coming out.  But he also very kindly told us that it wasn’t that exciting–only about 90 seconds long.

The other questions were answered soon enough.  It was going to be all music.  They pieced together the best songs from several European shows and edited down the “dead air.”  There also was very little banter.  It was 90 minutes of intense Muse music. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: OK GO-Tiny Desk Concert #278 (June 3, 2013).

I love OK Go’s music videos.  They are stupendous. I have watched all of them several times.  And yet I can’t remember a single song.  But that doesn’t diminish my appreciation for them.

When NPR was moving offices, they made a “Tiny Desk Concert” of the band proceeding from their old location to the new one.  And in OK Go fashion, they made a great video to go with it.  The music is live (I believe), even though they must have shot the footage hundreds of times.  It’s sort of a stop motion video, except that it’s not single frames but short 2 second clips spliced together.

You can watch as the old office is dismantled, as they walk through the halls to the moving truck.   As they play on the truck in the streets of D.C. and then as they enter the new building.  There are cameos from NPR colleagues: Ari Shapiro, Audie Cornish, David Greene, Guy Raz, Scott Simon, Alix Spiegel, Susan Stamberg and more.  There’s a hilarious moment with Karl Kassel who gives them a dirty look.  And then they march through the offices, the news room and into the new Tiny Desk location where they finish the song.

The song is fun and catchy and even has new lyrics that reference the NPR move.  It has to be seen to be appreciated.

And if you like figures here are some details from the shoot:

  • Number of video takes: 223
  • Number of seconds Carl Kasell spent in the elevator with OK Go: 98
  • Number of times Ari Shapiro played the tubular bells: 15
  • Number of days it took to shoot: 2
  • Number of cameras: 1

Incidentally, NPR and I are out of sync with our counting of Tiny Desk Concerts.  I can’t figure out what happened.  The reason mine is correct is because I have written down every concert and numbered them.  So I feel that for them one doesn’t count?  They say this was number 277.  Someday they’ll read this and we’ll get to the  bottom of everything.

[READ: April 1, 2016] No Mercy Vol. 1

Because of the way books are being handled at my work now, I don’t get to see as many books as I used to. So i was pretty delighted to get this graphic novel on my desk.  Even if I didn’t quite know what it was about, I wanted to read it.  And boy did I enjoy it.

I had no idea that the cast was a group of aspiring Princeton University students on a per-freshman trip to an underprivileged county (I like the t-shirts that say Building Bridges Helping Hands with a kinda Princeton P on the front.

We meet the cast in a cool way–each one steeping forward a bit in the crowd and giving a bit of information about themselves…mostly through text messages. Oh and I loved the way the opening colophon pages looked just like Facebook (or whatever) with a timeline photo and then on the right side–sponsored images with drawings of the author and the illustrators and an ad for an other Image comic by Alex de Campi called Valentine–genius layout idea.

There’s also a comment under the photo which says “OMG how sad, they were also young.”  So you know something bad is going to happen these poor kids. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: April 28, 2016] Pearl Jam

pjphilyWells Fargo Center is becoming one of my favorite venues.  Not because the acoustics are so good (although they are pretty good), but because now I’ve seen three of my favorite concerts there: Rush, Muse and now Pearl Jam.

I’ve been a fan of Pearl Jam for nearly their entire 25 years of existence.  I loved their first few albums, lost my way a bit in the late 1990s and then came back big time in 2001 when I enjoyed listening to their Live bootleg series.   Their live shows sounded amazing–super long, playing different songs every night–and making all of their songs sound more alive than on record.  They just sounded amazing.

And yet I had never seen them.  I should probably have gone on the 2003 tour but didn’t.  And then I met Sarah and Pearl Jam was one of her favorite bands, but she’d never seen them either.  Since we’ve been married they’ve toured near us 6 times.  We had some excuses of little babies for a couple of those tours, but we should have certainly gone in 2013.

Well, here it is, their 25th anniversary tour and Sarah and I finally got to see them.  And, although I do wish we’d gone before, was it ever worth the wait. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: January 31, 2016] Muse

2016-01-31 19.03.02I have liked Muse since their debut album, although I really got into them with Origin of Symmetry.  Given their over the top sound and Radiohead meets Queen meets really heavy metal I am astonished that they are as popular as they are.

I wished that I had seen their previous tour because I really liked their last album, and while I enjoyed Drones, it was a bit more basic than the over the top sound of The 2nd Law.  Nevertheless, I was pretty excited to see them live, especially when my friend Joe said they were the best show he has ever seen.

And I have to concur with him.  This show was outstanding.  There was nothing disappointing about this show at all.  Even before the show started, they had a Drone Processing Entrance for anyone with general admission seats (I didn’t know there was such a thing, but they all got to stand on the floor inches from the band, which is pretty cool).  2016-01-31 19.23.49The stage setup itself was spectacular–a circular stage with two catwalks extending out to either side–like a bow tie–which guitarist/singer/superathlete Matthew Bellamy and bassist (and growler) Chris Wolstenholme ran to throughout the show.

2016-01-31 20.15.57Just before the band came out, a dozen stormtrooper-looking guys with batons and blue glowing lights came out to “patrol” the perimeter while they played “Straight Outta Compton.”  And then the lights went out.

The giant orbs lit and up descended from the rafters while the prerecorded “Drones” played.  These drone balloons had lights on the bottom which scoped out the audience.

And then the band came out and launched into “Dead Inside” while the drones floated around above them.  It was cool to see Wolstenholme’s bass with the led lights on the fretboard.  And before I forget, drummer Dominic Howard is a monster.  His set was right in the center of the stage anchoring the whole business. And his drums were loud and impressive and super fast when needed.  I also liked that at the end of the show, he ran to both sides of the bow tie stage to wave to fans. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: January 31, 2016] X Ambassadors

2016-01-31 19.33.02I have had a great string of luck with opening acts in the last year.  But that more or less came to an end with X Ambassadors (the first half of the tour had Phantogram as the opening act, whom I would have been pretty psyched to see).  I didn’t know X Ambassadors at all before seeing this show (although I understand that they have a number of singles out).

It’s not that X Ambassadors were bad, because they weren’t.  It’s not even that they didn’t fit with Muse, although really they don’t.  There was just something flat about them.  And that is really surprising because they sure looked and acted like they were ready to be huge.

They played the center circular stage.  Noah Feldshuh on guitar was at 9:00 as I looked at the stage.  Keyboardist Casey Harris was at 6:00 and drummer Adam Levin was at 3:00.  Lead singer Sam Harris was all over the place.  He ran around, jumped and bounced and really got the crowd into it.  I assume they were into it.

Sam Harris has a great voice–he can wail, he can hit high notes, he can croon, he can do it all.  He might as well be a star on a TV music show.  And I think that’s where the problem with the band is for me. They are playing a show with Muse and they have a sound that is kind of heavy.  But I think they’d be better suited with a less “alternative” rock sound.  I think an RnB vibe would suit his voice better. (more…)

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