• Muse - Rod Laver Arena, 15th December 2010

    Dic 17 2010, 7:48

    Wed 15 Dec – Muse, Biffy Clyro
    When you’ve been one of the biggest rock bands in the world for several years and consistently up the flash factor for your live shows, just how do you make sure each touring cycle is bigger and better than the last? For Muse, a band who continually raise the bar on what a modern day arena rock show should be, the answer is obvious: just go bigger.

    As one of the first countries to slowly elevate the Devon, England trio to mainstream success, Australia has had a growing adoration for Muse that has been keenly reciprocated. Tours have been frequent, including headlining this year’s Big Day Out in January. The festival stage saw a pared-down version of the spectacular set-up that had made its way through Europe as the band toured their fifth album The Resistance, but this time it has made it’s way to Australia in all it’s massive glory.

    You want to know just how a big band goes even bigger? Try towering, movable platforms encased on all sides by stunningly clear video screens, lasers, rotating drum risers and mirrored suits. Oh, and an arsenal of immense rock anthems sprinkled with old favourites, all delivered in a fashion that has become typically Muse—a satisfying balance of the class and poise that befits an experienced arena act, and the exuberance and intensity of a band who remember the days when they would lay waste to club stages with a mess of feedback and an appetite for destruction.

    An introduction that displays the visual treats that the stage set has to offer segues into album opener and radio favourite Uprising, the crowd up for a sing along from the get go. Resistance, with its arena-ready chorus, continues to showcase the more accessible new material, before a barrage of classic cuts from albums past proves to be as tight and crowd-pleasing as ever. Long-time live favourite New Born comes early, giving newer fans a chance to marvel at each member’s musical chops: Matt Bellamy’s deft piano runs, muscular riffs and impressive vocal range, Dom Howard’s hard-hitting yet musical drum style (as always, delivered with his signature ear to ear grin) and Chris Wolstenholme’s nimble bass playing underpinning it all with the necessary fatness.

    Such is the power of Muse’s individual musical components and their incredible chemistry as a band that even when the now deity-like Bellamy has his moments to shine (such as the classical piano interlude of Butterflies & Hurricanes and the solo of Hysteria, complete with guitar god rock moves) they do not take away from what is the performance of a seamlessly meshing unit. Bellamy even leaves the stage completely as Howard and Wolstenholme show off their skills with a short but impressive jam, which kicks off a string of hits that gets the building to fever pitch. Undisclosed Desires comes complete with keytar, light up drums and lasers, Time Is Running Out and Starlight are the biggest sing alongs of the night, and bona fide classic Plug In Baby is as always met with mass air-guitaring and a lively display in the pit.

    Unfortunately, Exogenesis Part 1 is not followed by the rest of the three-part symphony, and as the first song of the encore is met with ambivalence despite it’s cinematic quality providing a welcome change of pace. The epic double shot of Stockholm Syndrome and Knights of Cydonia bring things to a close on a rocking, loud note, with the latter’s ‘No one’s going to take me alive’ battle cry screamed with gusto by everyone in attendance.

    If tonight is any evidence, Muse clearly have no intention of vacating the top of those ‘Best Live Act’ lists, or abandoning any or their live edge despite their constantly growing commercial success.

    -Jess Bourrillon
  • Poison The Well @ Corner 22/10/09

    Ott 23 2009, 10:37

    Thu 22 Oct – Poison the Well, The Broderick, In Trenches
    Although it’s only been a mere 8 months since Florida’s Poison the Well last graced Australian shores as part of the Soundwave festival, the recent release of fifth album The Tropic Rot sees them return to perform their first headlining shows.
    With the album being warmly received by fans and an impressive and beloved back catalogue, the five-piece are spoilt for choice when constructing setlists. Thankfully, the one they deliver on this particular night is a blinder, drawing heavily from the aforementioned album as well as 2003’s You Come Before You. Furious cuts such as Ghostchant and For a Bandaged Iris showcase the bands unique brand of experimental metalcore and powerful live presence, each member playing with both passion and precision. The founding duo of guitarist Ryan Primack and drummer Chris Hornbrook are particularly impressive, both playing with a focused intensity and the type of confidence built by years of touring that makes pretentious showmanship unnecessary. Primack’s versatility is shown in Letter Thing’s slide guitar work, while Hornbrook is both an aggressive and skilful drummer who is a pleasure to watch, as equally adept at subtle dynamics as he is full throttle beating. Vocalist Jeffrey Moreira has just enough presence to command an audience without detracting from his bandmates and maintains a strong delivery throughout the set, while fairly new additions Brad Grace and Brad Clifford hold their own.
    The new material goes over well with the audience, with the propulsive Sparks It Will Rain and the unnerving, glacial tones of Antartica Inside Me the highlights. But it is classic material from the bands seminal debut album The Opposite Of December that garners the biggest response from the crowd, with Slice Paper Wrists and the immense Artists Rendering Of Me getting the voices raised, the fists in the air and the pit stirring, proving to stand the test of time even after 10 years. When it’s all over the band leave with as little fuss as they entered, refreshingly humble in a modern ‘scene’ rife with posturing and bravado. And with actions like this as well as finely tuned live performances it’s a safe bet that PTW will retain their longevity.