Squealing Like A Pig On Fire or How I Came To Love Muse

So this week, baby, my favourite band are Muse. This is kind of odd, as I thought I hated Muse. When I first started doing fanzines back in the late nineties, regional press officers sent me loads of copies of the same Muse promo every time one came out. I didn't like them, because I thought they sounded too much like Radiohead, and I threw the CDs at men in grey track suits from the back seats of moving cars as I tore around the city of London in search of drugs and women, piloted by a gipsy psychopath called Charlie who kept a sawn-off shotgun in his boot.

Yes, those were the days. Now, Muse promo CDs cos eight billion dollars on Ebay, and I couldn't give two fucks about Radiohead. Muse are everything I want from rock music. How did I not realise?

But the brain is a funny thing. Listening to the Absolution, I realised that I had, in fact, decided I liked Muse seven years ago. Then I forgot, for some reason. What is is, is the first review I ever wrote for PlayLouder was a review of as Muse gig at The Astoria, in that wild June of 2000AD. I dug up the thing, using Google. They were supported by Twist, the singer of whom was an old friend of mine from Birmingham, and Coldplay, the singer of whom was an old classmate of my flatmate Som. I said Twist were "Tad fronted by a pissed-up Shangri-La", which was true. Of Coldplay, I noted,

"They look like Kwik-fitters, and sound like them too... the set suffers... from sounding more like Elton John's seventies slop fallout or a particularly sterile Embrace B-Side. Coldplay obviously have huge potential, but messing about with dull AOR ballads is hardly going to win over the spangly teen goblins milling at the front."

Which was also true. I just hadn't counted on the early-middle agers at the back, and Gwyneth Paltrow. And, of course, Coldplay went on to write Embrace's comeback single. How funny is life!

But Muse?

"Muse look like they're having fun, tearing through their repertoire with all the energy of a band who HAVEN'T been on tour for the best part of two years. Camp as a festival, as extravagant as a Mafia birthday party, Muse take the increasingly popular 'Showbiz' LP, dress it up in one of Ziggy's old jump suits, crank it up, and spit it out. Pth-oo. Oh, and make the whole thing twice as long, and tack a noodle-wank guitar workout in the middle of every single song. Which is where they get irritating. Not content to let the sheer power of his songs work alone, Matt Bellamy finds himself playing a Joe Satriani-esque piece of twattery behind his head during 'Cave', pretending to be in Iron Maiden and Speedy Gonzales all at once in 'Muscle Museum', and a weird cross between Giddy (sic) Lee, Freddie Mercury and the Duracell Bunny everywhere else.

Contrary bastards that they are though, no sooner have they bored the arse of you with one of their more preposterous funk-jazz-metal work-outs than they play something like 'Uno' that makes the hairs stand right up all over your head. Cerrr-UNCH! Cer-OOONCH! SQUUU-AAARGH! Then cue Matt squealing like a pig on fire for far too long, thrillingly.

This is why Muse will win. They've got the songs, the ability, the moves and the power. They make young girls damp and grown men dance on tables playing air guitar. And no matter how much noodling, and how preposterous their theatrics are (and this is what Muse are, theatre...), they will come out every time and blow your head off. They trash their gear, surf on their amps and are cocky, clever little pomp-rock bastards."

And again, I was right. Muse did win. And I came to love the noodly theatrics. And now I am sampling them. Where life will take us, no one knows.