August 13, 2007

Los Campesinos!

Posted in Music at 10:44 pm by Calico Jack

Apologies to all for the light posting this past month. Things should be picking up shortly. In the meantime, here’s the indie Cardiff band Los Campesinos!’ addictive single, “You! Me! Dancing!”

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August 4, 2007

Muse!

Posted in Music at 11:26 pm by Calico Jack

Two nights ago I was able to check off another one of my “things to do before I die” list: seeing Muse live in concert. They’ve been my favorite band for four years now, ever since I saw a clip of their song “Sing for Absolution” all the way back in 2003 on the BBCAmerica channel. Their latest album had been released in the UK only two weeks before, so I picked up an import copy…and the rest, as they say, is history.

Muse was headlining a concert with three other bands as openers: Cold War Kids, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, and Social Distortion. The Cold War Kids put on a decent performance, although I think their set suffered from being early in the afternoon before most people decided to show up. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club was pretty good: catchy ’70s-inspired rock, very reminiscent of Jet and The Black Keys.

Social Distortion, on the other hand, was a complete disaster for me. Way too loud for what they were doing — uninspired punkcore by a bunch of guys well past their prime. Many people were at the ampitheatre just for Social Distortion, but my brother and I skipped out halfway through to save what was left of our hearing for Muse. SD also had problems with their sound checks, and as a result their set ran about a half hour longer than it should have.

After what felt like an interminable delay, the lights dimmed…and I started screaming my lungs out. We were fewer than thirty or forty feet from the front of the stage, a mere thirteen rows back. You couldn’t ask for much better seats than what we had.

All pictures were taken by my brother, who squeezed his way to the very front of the stage and snapped well over two hundred pics. The best of them are up on his Flickr set here.

Muse’s performance was cut a bit short because they were required to end at eleven, but we still got an awesome setlist:

Knights of Cydonia
Map of the Problematique
Hysteria
Supermassive Black Hole
Butterflies & Hurricanes
Feeling Good
Sunburn
Invincible
Starlight
Time is Running Out
New Born
Plug in Baby
Stockholm Syndrome
Take a Bow

I was thrilled to hear a few songs from their older CDs Origin of Symmetry and Showbiz, and I got my all-time favorite request in Butterflies and Hurricanes. We were fortunate enough to be in a section along with a number of Muse diehards; our entire row belted out the lyrics to every single song while newer fans gave us weird looks. The most disappointing thing about this concert was the crowd’s relative sluggishness; I suspect that many people were just tired after five hours in 90+ degree weather. But I didn’t care how much sweat was soaking my shirt; when Matt, Chris and Dom were performing, nothing else mattered — even my hearing, as I’m still suffering from a slight bit of tinnitus in one ear. I can’t say it wasn’t worth it; this was easily the best concert I’ve ever seen. Muse is a band that gives its audience such a sense of euphoria, words aren’t really applicable. Perhaps this video might help explain things a bit better, as someone took a fairly good video of their opener “Knights of Cydonia.” Most amateur concert videos are either inaudible or too jerky to watch, but this one’s an exception to the norm:

I’m going to remember this night for the rest of my life. Now to get cracking on the next item on my list: See Muse again…