Live Review: Muse with Band Of Skulls @ Rogers Arena, Vancouver – February 6th 2013

Wednesday night was rainy. It was a wet, dark night.

I walked through the rain with a smile strewn across my face, I was full of energy, I was excited because I was going to see Muse.

It would be glorious.

Walking into Rogers Arena you could feel that same excitement in the face of every person I passed. We all knew, Muse is the band to see, no one does it better.

After getting to the seats, we were greeted by the opening act, Band Of Skulls. They are an alternative-rock band from across the pond. This three-piece skulked out on stage, took position and dove into their set. Russell Marsden, lead guitar and vocals, took the arena by surprise. The floor was only partially full at this time, but they all stopped what they were doing and just stared. Emma Richardson, on bass, ripped on her instrument with attitude to spare. Matt Hayward, on drums, was a mad man, beating his kit into submission, punishing the skins with every stroke of his arm.

Having seen this band multiple times, I knew what to expect, but what I didn’t know, was how they would fair in the arena setting. Well let me tell you, they fucking killed it. This loveable band of misfits could headline an arena show tomorrow. They had presence, they had attitude and they had the audience loving it.

They played a 10 song set, which happened to contain my favorite Band Of Skulls song which is You Aren’t Pretty But You Got It Going On. When they rolled into that song, my eyes lit up and I got a little fan-lovey in the moment, kinda like a young girl at a Justin Bieber concert. They ripped through the piece and had many on the floor pumping their fists in approval. I thought this would be the pièce de résistance, but I was wrong. The group brought out Death By Diamond And Pearls as their finale, and it was by far the most dramatic and intense. Matt gave a dramatic lead in to the song, and then the vocals rang through the arena. This band is going to be huge, and they deserve it all, they are fucking amazing.

During the lull between acts, the stage crew came out and started making their final tweaks. Two stage hands donned harnesses and were hoisted into the scaffolding to man spotlights, the crowd seemed to eat this up. From that point on, any small change caused an eruption of roars to rumble through the venue.

It wasn’t long before those lights were swallowed by the darkness. It was time, and holy shit I was excited.

The group started the night with The 2nd Law: Unsustainable from their latest album, The 2nd Law. A plethora of screens across the stage lit the building, the audience seemed to be stuck in a trance, mesmerized by the shiny lights.

Matthew Bellamy, lead singer, is an interesting front man. He never seemed to be trying to hog the spot light, or over do it. He reminded me of Thom Yorke, in his mannerisms and his stage etiquette, just a gentle soul making some great music. He owned the stage but never abused it.

Christopher Wolstenholme, bassist, at one point jumped on the harmonica and played a stellar intro for Knights Of Cydonia. He then walked to the edge of the stage and threw the harmonica to the wolves below, it started a frenzy. Besides that point he was cool as a cucumber for the rest of the performance and stalked his corner of the stage with pride.

Dominic Howard, was a man possessed on those drums. At any given moment you could feel those drums kicking the music into your brain. During the show this screen aparatus lowered over the drum kit and formed a pyramid, a video played across the screens showing Dominic in a red spandex outfit using some stellar ninja prowess to defeat some shadowy corporate dummies. The apparatus lifted to reveal the drummer had changed his clothes and was now wearing the same bright red get-up. It wasn’t a huge moment, but it was definitely one of those little touches that made the night for me.

The bands energy level, grew and grew throughout the night. They played a solid set list, check it out.

The 2nd Law: Unsustainable
Supermassive Black Hole
Panic Station
Plug In Baby
Knights of Cydonia – (Man with a Harmonica intro)
Monty Jam
Follow Me
Liquid State
Undisclosed Desires
Time Is Running Out
Stockholm Syndrome – (Rage Against the Machine’s Freedom outro)

The 2nd Law: Isolated System
Uprising – (Extended outro)

Encore 2

My vote for best songs of the night go to Stockholm Syndrome and Madness. The choreography of the video feeds, the various screen apparatus, and of the laser shows for these songs, were phenomenal. Madness was by far the killer song of the night, the audience went crazy when it started, and it was the only time during the show that any resemblance of a mosh pit formed on the floor.

Here is a fan-shot video of Madness performed in Vancouver, just so you can see what I am talking about.

Muse is an insanely talented live band, they are constantly winning awards for their efforts. If you have not seen them, then you need to stay alert and buy tickets to their next show in your hometown. Or if that is not a possibility, then find the nearest major city to you, on their current or next tour and plan a trip. You will not be disappointed.

I have seen some great acts play amazing shows; AC/DC, U2, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Flaming Lips, Roger Waters’ The Wall. But Muse takes the cake for best live stage show. They push the envelope, the music is never truly sacrificed, and they try every night. Team that up with an amazing opening band like Band Of Skulls, and you have one of the best concerts experienced I have had in a long time.

I would like to thank the Band of Skulls and Muse for their stellar performances.

Owner + Editor In Chief + Concert Photographer

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