It's easy to forget that tonight another band is actually playing before U2 at Reliant Stadium. But Bono and the boys couldn't have found a better band to heat up their adoring throngs than space-rock overlords Muse. Hell, even conservative hand-wringer Glenn Beck likes them. We swear that that's not an indictment of the band. The English-bred trio just released its fifth album, The Resistance, last month, and almost immediately it somehow struck a chord with Beck, the author of such recent books as Arguing with Idiots, How to Stop Small Minds and Big Government and the Thomas Paine-biting Glenn Beck's Common Sense: The Case Against an Out-of-Control Government. Both books were released this year and have been riding high atop most major sales lists. If you are unfamiliar with his work, Beck is staunchly against what he sees as a coming "new world order" and "fascist" state under the Obama administration.
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Anyhow, Beck saw some of Muse's lyrics as a breath of fresh air and championed them as a sort of house band for his and his listeners' ideals. He praised the band on his daily radio show and even read a selection of the new album's lyrics, which he construed as being in keeping with some of his views. He later joked that the band and their management complained about his endorsement and insisted he stop. Either way, it's hard not to read into the band's lyrics as something other than spacey and atmospheric blasts of sleek rock. With lead singer Matthew Bellamy's ethereal yet vindictive yelp and the band's stark and lethal Queen-esque sonics, one can't help but think of violent coups and military uprisings. But that's a good thing we think, because they bridge the gap between The Wall-era Pink Floyd and Radiohead's Amnesiac, and even find a way to sound like a muscled Coldplay at glances. Plus, Muse knows how to put on a bitchin' light show which Rocks Off is admittedly a sucker for.
The band's earlier records are required listening, especially 2003's Absolution, which saw their vision from 2001's Origin Of Symmetry come into pure focus on singles such as "Time Is Running Out" and "Stockholm Syndrome." At a point in time in music when people were dressing down and slumming it, Muse actually embraced largesse, at least musically. Everything with Muse is bigger and louder and shinier without becoming a cliché. By 2006's Black Holes And Revelations, they were getting their U2 on with songs like "Starlight" and the spaghetti Western by way of Kubrick flash that was "Knights Of Cydonia." Make sure you get to Reliant Stadium early and get under the U2's massive Claw stage rigging to see Muse in all their shiny, lasered glory. No doubt they will be fashioning their own setup one day soon to rival that of Mr. Hewson's.