Monday, April 12, 2010

Muse at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas

Spectacular? Epic? Mind Blowing? All of the above? Definitely! Muse delivered an arena rock spectacle at the Mandalay Bay Events Center to a sold out crowd in excess of 11,000 screaming fans. If you don't have tickets to see Muse close out Coachella on Saturday, scalp them now.

Silversun Pickups

Remember that little band from Silverlake that used to play Spaceland a few years ago called Silversun Pickups? I flew to Vegas to see Silversun Pickups back in 2006 when they opened for Wolfmother at the Joint. I really doubt Silversun Pickups will be opening for many more bands judging by their arena rocking performance.

When Brian Aubert told the crowd, "Hi! We are Silversun Pickups" a huge roar came back from the audience to which Aubert laughingly responded "Oh stop it!". It is these type of self deprecating comments that help endear Silversun Pickups to their fans. It also doesn't hurt they have an arsenal of rocking tunes. "Growing Old Is Getting Old" and "Well Thought Out Twinkles" easily filled the arena with their dense rock textured tunes.

Maybe it was due to their abbreviated set time, but "The Royal We" was absolutely smoking since it was being played at twice the recorded speed. "Future Foe Scenarios" and "Substitution" kept the energy high as Joe Lester's keyboards filled the arena only to be eclipsed by waves of Aubert's feedback. Christopher Guanlao was rocking his elevated cymbal and LA Laker purple colored drum kit while Nikki Monninger used her trusty Gibson Firebird bass.

Aubert later instigated an informal light show by splitting the audience in half and telling everyone to use their flashes at once since they "couldn't afford their own light show". "Panic Switch" and "Lazy Eye" closed out their set to a large ovation that seemed to shock even them. I probably was the only one not surprised. I only hope Silversun Pickups play one last Los Angeles date before they head back into the studio.


Muse destroyed when I caught them closing out KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas in December 2009. Matt Bellamy, Chris Wolstenhome, and Dominic Howard have been playing together as Muse for nearly sixteen years and their musical chemistry is top notch. Are they one of the best live bands out touring today? I would say so.

Three towering skyscrapers loomed largely on stage that quickly illuminated when the lights went down. The curtains surrounding them dropped to reveal each band member perched up high inside each skyscraper. Bellamy used a mirror to reflect a laser that was shooting up from beneath his platform for a radical visual effect. The fuzzy bass line of "Uprising" boomed loudly augmented by theremin like synthesizers.

It was difficult to absorb the music, lasers and the various images projected on the skyscrapers. All of your senses were being assaulted and the buzz of the crowd grew with each song. The majestic piano notes of "Resistance" faded to the galloping drumming of Howard who would flash the occasional smile. Dipping back into their old catalog, "New Born" was phenomenal with Bellamy crushing the guitar riff. The thing that blew my mind was Bellamy closed out the song by playing the riff of "Head Up" by fellow record labelmates, Deftones.


"Map of the Problematique", "Supermassive Black Hole" were flawless as the lasers continued to blast through the arena. Bellamy wasn't done with his various riff homages by sprinkling in some Led Zeppelin and AC/DC riffs into their set. "Hysteria" seemed to make the earth rumble with its ground shaking guitars, booming bass and roaring drums. Bellamy would grab the megaphone for a spell while playing the piano for the distorted vocals of "Feeling Good".

Donning a bizarre hybrid keytar, Bellamy tapped out the synthesizer swells of "Undisclosed Desires". It seemed that the entire crowd clapped along to the intro of "Starlight". A blistering one two punch of "Time Is Running Out" and "Plug In Baby" closed out their main set with a minor homage to Kurt Cobain with a dose of the "Negative Creep" riff.

A three song encore of "Exogenesis: Symphony, Part 1:Overture", "Stockholm Syndrome" and "Knights of Cydonia" was more than anyone could ask for capping a nineteen song set. Muse are closing out their tour with two nights at the massive Wembley Stadium in September. Vacation anyone?


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