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Concert Review: Muse & Razorlight at the Tabernacle

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PM Rating System Grade: B | Genre: British Rock
Summary: This was a very high-energy show that was carried on a dynamic crowd and Muse’s epic sound. I do wish Razorlight could have made a stronger showing by balancing out their sound more evenly and we could have gotten Matt Bellamy to give us a little something beyond the music.

MuseDate: April 10, 2005
Location: the Tabernacle – Atlanta, GA

Ears…must…stop…ringing. You know you’ve done some permanent damage when your ears are still ringing the day after a show. That blood can’t be a good sign either. That was the first thing you noticed about the Muse / Razorlight show — it was friggin’ loud. There were a couple numbers during Razorlight’s set that were seriously piercing then I guess my ears were bludgeoned into submission because I didn’t really notice it after that. Man, I’m getting old. Oh well, hearing your grandchildren is an overrated experience anyway. The British invasion was definitely underway as Muse and Razorlight stormed the stages of Tabernacle wielding their electrifying tunes wearing the heavy cloak of rock’s salvation.

This sold out show was part of the MTVU’s Campus Invasion tour, and the format worked more as a co-bill than a headliner and opening act. Razorlight started the evening with their posh swagger and their blistering guitars. Razorlight’s music runs at an incredibly fast clip and it quickly descended into sonic chaos as the guitars clashed and the drums battled for space. In a word, it’s noise that they spent much too long wallowing in. My co-conspirator for the evening noted disappointment in the lack of distinction as the vocal and the melodic feel simply got man handled by the instruments. I fully agree that, in cranking the volume past the point of no return, they sacrificed a lot of the elements that made their studio effort so engaging. This could have something to do with why the crowd was amazingly sedate during Razorlight’s set. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a band rocking out full on as a completely stagnant crowd just stood around. It was a very strange sight indeed.

Muse brought forth their epic sound on the wings of crashing pianos, searing guitars and assaulting drums. Matt Bellamy sat atop Muse like some mad Beethoven conducting huge rock symphonies. I don’t know that I’ve ever heard someone rock the s#$t out of a piano like he does. He is a man possessed as his fingers thunder on the keys. It was amazing that three guys were able to generate such a complex arrangement of sound. The grand vistas and scope of these songs is staggering. “Absolution Please” was probably the highlight of the evening, murdering its way to the close. “Time is Running Out” was also an unbelievably magnetic moment.

The lower section of the Tabernacle was a literal sea of people, billowing on the wind of the music. It was only a few songs into the set before the waves of crowd surfing began and scattered mosh pits boiled over. It constantly amazes me how you can have this mass of people, each clinging onto their postage stamp sized speck of space. All of the sudden, moshing breaks out and magically there is plenty of room for all sorts of wild flailing about. Where does this mysterious space come from? Maybe I should ask what happened to that whole section of vertically challenged people that were just around them seconds before?

When Muse came back onto the stage to perform the encore, the roof came off of the place. You would have thought Bono himself had walked onstage to hear that crowd erupt. It was quite a spectacle to behold.

I was a little disappointed that there was basically no interaction from the band outside of the music. Granted, I don’t like artists who yammer on senselessly about the omelet they had for breakfast that morning, but a little personalization goes a long way toward tacking further dimensions onto a band and setting a more lasting impression with the audience.

This was a very high-energy show that was carried on a dynamic crowd and Muse’s epic sound. I do wish Razorlight could have made a stronger showing by balancing out their sound more evenly and we could have gotten Matt Bellamy to give us a little something beyond the music. It was certainly a fun evening for everyone involved, and I think that the audience’s response proves that Muse has the legs to make a run at becoming one of the great bands in rock today. Time and future releases should let us know if how high they are capable of soaring.

For more music critiques by this reviewer, please visit PM Media Review.

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About Mark Runyon

  • jacob

    Muse generally dont talk that much on stage they let there music do the talking which works perfectly and there is no song called absolution please i think u may be looking for apocolypse please

  • http://jpsgoddamnblog.blogspot.com JP

    I was at this show – the fists were all pumping when “Hysteria” was played. I was underimpressed with Razorlight myself, I have not listened to their studio work but the opening set didn’t motivate me to check it out either.