Muse and Silversun Pickups Concert

Well, it’s 1:30, cold, windy. Doors don’t open for another 4.5 hours. There’s a girl in the group 2 down from me who knows *a lot* about the band. It’s always interesting to see the types of people who show up to a show.

I wonder how many people here even know who Silversun Pickups are. No one is talking about them.

There’s a guy walking around with a guitar. Haven’t heard him play it yet. Maybe he’s hoping to get it signed. That’d be pretty cool.

My wife took off about an hour and a half a go to find a blanket. Poor girl gets so cold so easily. It’d be nice if it were mid-June instead of April 5th.

7 minutes until the doors open. Let the mad rush begin.

SECOND ROW?! YOU’RE KIDDING!

These are some friends of ours.

Here are some pics of the crowd.

If you see yourself in the pic, feel free to point it out. 🙂

On to the reviews.

SILVERSUN PICKUPS

One word: damn.

I’ve seen some intense guitar playing before. Brian played out of his mind. Literally.  He looked like an acid trip on Gord Downie. Yes, you read that right. How he managed to keep his balance and not fall over is beyond me, but he did it.

As my wife put it, by the end of their relatively short set, Chris looked like he needed a break and a lot of water. As anyone who’s previously seen a SSPU show, this is no doubt due to the fact that he plays a very bombastic style of drumming. And he totally owns the kit.

The set list was mostly off of “Swoon.” No surprise there. Being that it’s their new CD and has been out for less than a year, I would suspect that they’d tour on the strength of the new offering. They opened the set with “Growing Old Is Getting Old.” They also played “There’s No Secrets This Year,” “Substitution,” “Future Foe Scenarios,” and “Lazy Eye.” I know I’m missing a couple, but those are the ones I remember.

It’s always great to see a crowd get into the opening band. A lot of the front row kept yelling, “WE LOVE YOU NIKKI!” Not a surprise. 🙂 It was great to have the chance to check them out.

M– USE

Two words: HOLY DAMN.

We were all taunted for a couple of minutes with the opening sequence video (displayed on what looked like 5-story square towers) of  of several sets of white shadows traipsing up some stairs. One shadow on each towers started to fall, after which the curtain that obfuscating the true intention of the towers fell around the band members, standing on elevated platforms.

Opening with the anthemic “Uprising” as was so highly anticipated, Matt came out in some futuristic silver suit with glow in the dark blue shades. The crowd went absolutely nuts. Being that we were about 3 rows from the front, right in front of Matt, we were quickly swept up in “the pit,” swaying back and forth on tidal waves of humanity and adrenaline. If you haven’t been hiding under a rock for the last 7 months, you know the chorus: “They will not force us; they will stop degrading us. They will not control us; WE will be victorious!” Singing for all the world to hear, Bellamy belted out the lyrics while Dom smashed his drum kit into oblivion and Chris threw his back out of alignment with his unparalleled head whipping and thick, fat, grueling bass playing. I swear, that guy must have a chiropractor on retainer.

“Uprising” led to “Resistance,” the second single off the new CD. More from the platform. More psychotica from the pit. Let the mayhem ensue.

No rest for the weary. Muse treated us to “New Born,” the first track on Origin of Symmetry. One of my all-time favorites. At the end, they jumped into the middle/end part of “Micro Cuts”–another favorite of mine.

You can’t go to a Muse show and not hope to hear “Hysteria.” Tonight’s show was no let-down. The *only* disappointing factor to the song was the fact that my iphone picked up basically nothing but screaming and sound-popping, with few discernible notes in between. I was really hoping to get a better recording for my girls, who absolutely love singing along whenever they hear it. “I WANT IT NOW! GIVE ME …. YOUR SOUL!!” So frickin’ awesome watching them dance to that. Ha ha!

Dom and Chris jammed out while the crew set up Matt’s piano for “United States of Eurasia” and “Feeling Good,” with the “Take a Bow” intro thrown in before the latter as a teaser.

Far and away, my favorite of the night was “Undisclosed Desires.” Matt played his key-tar, and the lighting was unbelievable. All decked out in purples, blues and reds, when the chorus started, and the keyboard bass threw us all back about 10 feet.

The rest of the set was all too short. “Starlight,” “Unnatural Selection,” “Time is Running Out,” and “Plug In Baby” rounded out the main set. After the requisite lights-out screaming and demanding more, the band came back out and played part I of Exogenesis. My wife and sister in law were in utter awe. Well, okay … we all were. In the words of my wife, “I could sleep to this.” For those not familiar, Matt pulled out ALL the stops on this one. The orchestration is haunting, melancholy and beautiful, like the soundtrack to the death of a mother whose lived a full and rich life, leaving no regrets. That’s just my take. 🙂

It would be cruel and unusual not to play “Stockholm Syndrome.” There’s WAY too much energy in that song not to play it live. It’s a must. The band was as tight as they’ve ever been, ripping their way through the crowd-moving intro. I love the chorus to this song. It’s so un-nerving. “This is the last time I’ll abandon you, and this is the last time I’ll forget you. I wish I could …”

To end the show, the band played “Knights of Cydonia”–another anthem of freedom and the will to live life. “No one’s going to take me alive. The time has come to make things right. You and I must fight for our rights. You and I must fight to survive.” The crowd jumped and swayed as if we were back in 2007, when Muse opened with KoC.

Everyone left everything on the floor, in the stands, on the stage … there was not one person who didn’t give everything they had to offer for that show. With the exception of the girl who sat next to my sisters-in-law, who saw fit to sit through the entire show, arms folded. I’m not one to judge anyone for anything, so I will assume that she wasn’t feeling well and really just wanted to see the band. Who knows. I hope she’s okay–either emotionally or physically.

Everyone else had 0 left to give, but if the set had gone on another 2, 3 … 5 songs, we would have found the energy somewhere. That’s what you do at Muse shows.

In summary, both bands were unbelievably amazing, gracious, un-humanly intense. The crowd reciprocated the intensity in its own way–jumping up and down, creating tsunamis of human proportions … you could not have asked for a more energetic crowd. I even forgive the 6′ 5″ jerks who bragged about not having GA tix and got on the floor anyway, only to cut off my wife’s view with their selfishness.

If you haven’t seen Muse or SSUP yet, make it your concert-going priority. You can’t go through life wondering what it’s like and not know first-hand. Your musical life will not be complete.

As promised, here are some of the pics.

Muse/Silversun Pickups Concert Day

First off, sorry for the hiatus. I took the fam on an impromptu mini-vacation to St. George, UT for some R&R. We went “hiking” in Zions National Park on Saturday. With two little girls in tow, it’s hard to actually do REAL hiking, but they loved seeing all the cliffs and dirt, so it was fun for them walking around. Checked out Weeping Rock and the entrance to the narrows … nothing really strenuou. Definitely decided that we’re going to try to hike “the narrows” one of these days.

Now on to today. Muse and Silversun Pickups. I’m serious … this should be a double bill – not SsP opening for Muse. I guess they’re not “up there” yet. They will be though. They have the potential to go very, very far.

So my agenda for the day is like this:

11:00 am – drop off the girls at friends’ house.

12:00 pm – get to E-Center and see what there is to see

3:00 pm – dinner with friends at Applebees (gotta carb and protein up for the show)

4:00 – get in line for the show

6:00 – doors open, and so begins the mad dash for front row floor

7:00 – Silversun Pickups hit the stage

8:30-ish – Muse

I’m bringing my camera with a fresh set of lithium batteries, just in case I can sneak it in. I have my methods, which I won’t divulge here for obvious reasons.

I’ve checked out Muse’s setlist from previous shows. Nothing really stand-outish in the states, but in Asia, they’ve played “Dead Star” and “Can’t Take My Eyes off of You” (cover, but really well done).

Okay, there is much for which I need to prepare, so more from the show!

New Music: Saturday and Mail Edition

So I took my daughter to Graywhale on Saturday. What a joke that day was. I tried finding ONE copy of “Princess and the Frog” for my kids. I ended up buying it 4 times, two of which were the 3-disc blu-ray version. One of the single-disc versions which went back to a store, the return on which I actually made $10. Don’t ask how … I’m not even what happened. All I know is that I got back $10 more than I paid. It was really weird.

Anyway, the reason for going to Graywhale was an attempt to return one of the blu-ray3-disc copies. I definitely did not need two, so I figured I’d just take it back. Unbeknownst to me, they have a no-cash-return policy, and offer in-store credit. So I figured, “Well, I might as well peruse their CDs while I’m here.” Yah. Try that with a 4-year old hyper child.

I managed to escape with some good stuff though.

  • Sigur Ros – MeĂ° suĂ° Ă­ eyrum viĂ° spilum endalaust
  • Sigur Ros  – (  )
  • Dioramic – Technicolor
  • Silversun Pickups  – Carnavas

Not a bad haul. Then in the mail, I got some more!

  • Foma – Phobos
  • Foma – Ice Caves
  • Great Northern – Trading Twilight for Daylight

There’s more coming in the mail.

So, here’s what happens. I go to … wherever. I get new music. I bring it home, listen to it, and if it’s *really* good, I’ll hop on Amazon and see who has what. Sure enough, most artists have a whole catalog of stuff, most of which can be had for pennies plus shipping.

Such is the case with artists like Great Northern. I picked up their “Sleepy Eepee” at Gray Whale a few weeks back. The guy at the counter kept raving about them, so I figured they’d have to be worth a shot.

Come to find out, they’re really awesome. Solon Bixler, former 30 Seconds to Mars guitarist, is the band’s male vocal frontman. Rachel Stolte is the female singer. The two of them together create some really ethereal, atmostpheric vocals that really mixes with with the strings, drums, guitar and piano. Rachel’s voice is vaguely similar to Scarlett Johannson’s.

Anyway, highly recommend them. Much goodness is to be had.

New Music Friday

A couple of things today. One, I went to the local Graywhale up near the University yesterday. Great guys in there. Really knowledgable. They know their stuff! I went up there looking for some Hungry Lucy CDs, but alas, I completely forgot to ask. Surprise to me: I didn’t know they had 4 full-length CDs. I thought they just had a smattering of recorded songs that I just happened to stumble across several years ago, probably due to the fact that every internet search yielded the exact same results: nothing except some information about Christa Belle living in NYC. At least, I think that’s what it was about. Just for kicks, I googled the name again the other day … this time with stunning results. Wiki article. Official site. Discography. The whole 9 yards.

Anyway, with that in mind, I went to Gray Whale to see if they had any of their CDs. Completely forgot. However, I did walk out with some great new stuff.

  • Bluebrain – Soft Power
  • Q Stands for Q (QsfQ) – In Dreams Awake
  • Cazals – What of Our Future
  • Sam Champion – Slow Rewind
  • The Court and Spark – Witch Season
  • Elf Power – Creatures
  • Gentlemen Reg – Little Buildings
  • Silversun Pickups – Pikul

I find it odd that Pikul was still in its original plastic with the original security seal. People … THIS IS SILVERSUN PICKUPS. You know … Lazy Eye? Checkered Floor? Panic Switch? Yah. I’m just saying.

Interestingly enough, none of the band members are actually named “Sam Champion.” Gonna have to find out the reason behind the name.

It’s pretty cool when you go to the counter and the guy behind the counter says, “Nice stack of music! You have some really good taste.”

“Okay, yah … but here’s the thing: I know one of those bands.”

*blank stare*

“You mean you’ve never heard of most of these bands? You’re just buying them?”

“Yup.”

“Wow. Umm … why?”

Then I spell out my criteria for buying CDs: insert and CD art can’t suck and song titles can’t suck. As a general rule, I try to avoid CDs with the artist’s face covering the whole CD (read: a la Diane Birch). However, there are times when I let that go and take a gamble (i.e. Diane Birch). For the most part, it’s always paid off.

These CDs all have that asthetic that I require. It doesn’t have to be the second coming of Picaso or Michaelangelo, just not stupid looking. The Sam Champion CD utilizes a minimalist approach to the cover art, employing a single color on a white background, but it works.

Anyway, I swear I covered this in another post, but I can’t find it. Oh well.

So that’s the new music for now. From Gray Whale, anyway.

Next up: Review of the new Hungry Lucy CD.

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