The Best British Band Around

A large and varied crowd has turned out at the NEC tonight, and their universal appeal and the fact that this is a band that recently had a number one selling album is evident. Muse are as extravagant as ever, and their setup includes lots of chrome, plasma screens and a huge, customised flashing piano.

When the Matt Bellamy and co. arrive onstage to the strains of Intro to Apocalypse Please from their latest album, the entire room is stamping its feet in time to the drum beat. A few minutes later, and the entire room explodes to New Born, arguably their most famous song. This bodes well for the rest of the night. Despite Matt Bellamy�s recent assertions that the band have forgotten how to play songs from their first album, the set consists of a wide variety of songs from all eras of Muse that show the band at their very best, from the crowd pleaser of Muscle Museum to the instrumental interlude of b-side Forced In to the virtuoso stylings of the euphoric Bliss.

The band finish the set with a flourish, playing an inspired closing of recent top ten single Time is Running Out, with every person in the packed arena singing so loudly that the band is drowned out, and Plug in Baby, with balloons full of confetti bouncing over the crowd. After leaving everyone hanging on perhaps a touch too long, the band return for an encore consisting of an anthemic Blackout with lighters in the air, and Stockholm Syndrome, with confetti cannons showering the crowd with ticker tape.

Muse are possibly the best British band around at the moment, and tonight they played as if it were their last show, far surpassing the already extremely high expectations placed on them. The energy of the crowd was overwhelming, and the entire thing left me wondering how a three piece band with a tiny frontman could make such a huge, wonderful noise.