by Jeff Niesel
Muse’s “Uprising,” the single from its 2009 album The Resistance, is one of rock’s greatest anthems, and the band delivered it with plenty of energy last night during a nearly two-hour show at Quicken Loans Arena. Singer-guitarist Matthew Bellamy emphatically thrust his fist into the air as the methodical, almost-tribal drumbeat commenced. “They will not force us,” he crooned. “They will not control us/We will be victorious.” Mixing together Freddie Mercury-like vocals with proggy synths and a few fierce guitar riffs, the song instantly brought the audience to its feet and put a punctuation mark on a very solid, often thrilling performance.
The rest of the concert certainly wasn’t short on theatrics. A giant structure/video projection screen that resembled an upside down pyramid hung above the stage and constantly changed shape throughout the concert; at one point, it even rested on the stage and appeared to swallow up the band, adding a compelling visual element to the show. And throughout the night, blasts of smoke and flickering lasers accentuated the music. Bellamy was certainly an engaging front man, too. Though he didn’t speak much to the audience between songs, he was a consummate performer, easily slipping into a falsetto for the funky, Prince-like “Supermassive Black Hole” and evoking U2’s Bono on the moody “Madness.” Only a handful of tunes (“Uprising” and the Queen-like finale “Survival”) had memorable melodies, and the band often put too much emphasis on texture. Still, these guys are consummate musicians (jumpsuit-clad drummer Dominic Howard played relentlessly throughout the show) and their musicianship carried the concert.
Openers Dead Sara opened with a 45-minute set that showcased singer Emily Armstrong’s powerful voice; she alternately evoked punk poet Patti Smith and classic rocker Janis Joplin. The band concluded its set with the hard rocking “The Weatherman” but diluted the track’s power a bit by inserting a spacey mid-song jam.