One of the so-called curiosities of the Curiosa Festival may be Muse. The British trio aren't magazine darlings like Interpol or critical darlings like The Cooper Temple Clause. At least, not in America. In Europe, Muse sells out arenas, headlining all the British festivals and having every hairstyle change covered in NME. Not that they lack fans stateside: In April, they played to just over a thousand people at Chicago's Metro and, the next night, to a couple hundred at Cincinnati's Top Cats. Both nights were sold out, lines around the block, packed to heat stroke, with (young, mostly male) fans singing every word, shaking their fists for emphasis. Muse is dramatic--both in live shows, many of which end with confetti-filled balloons bouncing and bursting, and in their music, full of changing time signatures and world-weary lyrics. Singer/guitarist/pianist Matt Bellamy, with the sneer of Thom Yorke and the falsetto of Freddie Mercury, kisses each word, rolling his tongue around the syllables, in contrast to his screaming guitars and madman piano playing. Dominic Howard's tiny arms pound out complex rhythms, and bassist Chris Wolstenholme--the tall, broad-shouldered one--adds to the thick sound, which is inconceivably made by only three people. They won't stay curiosities for long.
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Shannon Sutlief