Toronto – The rainy night was all about Muse. The crowd was packed to the Kool Haus rafters with everyone from hipsters young and old to college students and cute little girls in trendy clothing, creating a palpable excitement in the room. Last time Muse came to Toronto was as 102.1 The Edge’s “next big thing” and it seems that the U.K. darlings’ popularity has exploded since then.
And for good reason – thanks to their stint on the Curiosa Festival, the buzz around Muse’s live show has been outstandingly positive and they didn’t disappoint the sold-out Kool Haus audience. Accompanied by seizure-inducing (yet perfectly timed) strobe lights, a fog machine and a keyboard that doubled as a trippy flashing lightboard, this trio know how to create atmosphere.
Thankfully, their performance matched their onstage presence.
Although the band barely engaged the audience – aside from saying “thank you, Toronto!” in cute British accents – the audience followed them through popular songs like “The Small Print,” “Apocalypse Please” and a fuzzy, guitar-distortion filled rendition of “Hysteria.” Aside from the fact that frontman Matthew Bellamy must have the coolest collection of guitars ever, he successfully showcased the soaring, almost operatic vocals that make Muse so loved. He’s also got the rock star posing down pat, as well as the scissor-kicks and flailing spasms.
You could tell which songs were from Muse’s pre-Absolution albums – the audience would get somewhat calmer during songs like “Muscle Museum,” “New Born” and “Citizen Erased.”
But of course, it was an explosive version of “Time Is Running Out” that had the much of the crowd jumping and thrashing, throwing devil horns – and occasionally a shirt or two – into the air.
Finally, a rousing second encore of “Stockholm Syndrome” ended with Bellamy tearing apart the drum kit and microphones as the band spiraled into a massive session of energy and sound. Amidst all the chaos, there was one small moment during the pre-encore of “Bliss” that said it all: as fists were raised and bodies were flying in the pit, the girl in front of me was singing along quietly with tears running down her face.
In this age of nu-metal clones and pop-punk wannabes, it makes the heart glad to see a truly great rock band so well-received by the masses.