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Live Review: Muse, Nothing But Thieves

20 December 2017 | 1:50 pm | Bryget Chrisfield

"We're thrilled Muse include their cover of 'New Kind Of Kick' by The Cramps, which includes visuals of Elvira, since it shows the band's grittier side."

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Dear Nothing But Thieves: you should never have to ask for people to get their phones out and hold them aloft, that should happen naturally. Fucking KILLER band, though! 

Lead singer Conor Mason's voice is technically on-point, but those '90s Adidas tearaway tracky dacks could be replaced by more appropriate stage attire. Their song Amsterdam is an absolute belter and we're already on the Google listening to their stuff while writing this review so bloody well done, lads! We're very pleased to make your acquaintance.

Our expectation going into Muse's set is that we'll witness the best production values we've seen to date as well as the finest musicianship. Their stage dressing is probably less elaborate than we're used to from the band, so we suspect there will be many moving parts. Once the trio (plus one extra member lurking in the shadows occasionally) appear and launch into their latest single Dig Down, the necks of their guitars are illuminated like lightsabers and the outlines of these instruments' bodies are also lit-up. Matt Bellamy wears a beautiful black-and-gold bomber jacket (probably Saint Laurent), fancy black pants with zip detail around the knee region and sunnies with lenses that feature illuminated strips - it's all happening! That drill sergeant leading into Psycho - "If you do not do what you are told to do when you're told to do it, you will be punished. DO YOU UNDERSTAND?" - is absolutely terrifying. It's only song two and we actually can't cope with how good this is. Red lasers slice through the space and ever-changing visuals grace a backdrop that resembles stacks of television sets.

We can remain seated no longer since Hysteria's dirty riffs should not be taken sitting down. "'Cause I want it nooooooow!" - they even include a nod to AC/DC via this song's Back In Black outro. Bellamy is an absolute beast on the axe and his vocals are pure perfection. We could do without the barrel jumps Bellamy attempts to execute while playing, however - not necessary. Plug It In melts faces.

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Muse are a bunch of freakishly talented blokes who have obviously spent way too much time behind closed doors perfecting their playing over the years. It takes a certain kind of frontman to pull off lyrics such as, "Behold my transformation," and those super-high notes in The Handler don't even seem to stretch Bellamy. Bassist Chris Wolstenholme's BVs are everything during Supermassive Black Hole and Dominic Howard's powerful drumming is relentless. We're thrilled Muse include their cover of New Kind Of Kick by The Cramps, which includes visuals of Elvira, since it shows the band's grittier side.  

Bellamy's chord progressions always explore the unexpected, but during Stockholm Syndrome the melodies are actually capable of conjuring real tears! We discuss how much Howard probably hates punters clapping along to Starlight's intro. Balls with confetti inside are volleyed out into the crowd and then Time Is Running Out completely destroys us before Mercy pulls out all the stops - confetti cannons detonate, streamers explode and then we notice that the ticket tape raining down on us is shaped like little armless grey men walking (as featured on the Drones album cover) - how's that for attention to detail?

We're pretty relieved to see a piano appears onstage, because it just wouldn't seem right to miss out on Bellamy in piano virtuoso mode (The Globalist). However, the instrument isn't quite as glorious as the custom Baby Grands we've admired during previous Muse shows.

The Doctor Who-ish Uprising kicks off our encore and it's mass singalongs: "They will not force us/They will stop degrading us!/They will not control us/We will be victorious." It goes without saying that Muse are victorious. True to form, they present us with shit we've never seen before: the screens move around the stage, the lighting rig moves up and down - what next? The band also play with baffling flawlessness. Muse are kinda like a band from the future and could feature in the next Blade Runner as house band. The only other band we've seen in this venue that sounded better than Muse was Black Sabbath, which speaks volumes.