Muse rocks Deck the Hall Ball 2009

Cover of Muse - The ResistanceWhen I heard that Muse was playing at WaMu Theater for 107.7 The End’s Deck the Hall Ball, I knew I had to go. 

The British rock band has a track record of being one of the best contemporary live acts out there, selling out venues like Wembley Stadium in London, the second largest stadium in Europe and able to hold 90,000 people. 

New York indie rock band Vampire Weekend kicked off the night and, despite the much-too-short duration of their set and the cold, dark atmosphere of WaMu Theater, they warmed up the audience with several upbeat rock songs from their well-received debut album and their second record “Contra,” due out in January. 

Phoenix, a rock band from Paris, cranked up the bass for their performance. But that didn’t stop them from putting on a great show, opening with the hooky “Lisztomania,” and ending with the equally catchy single “1901.” 

Metric kept the energy going, arguably increasing it due to the eccentricities of vocalist Emily Haines and the face-melting solos of guitarist James Shaw. 

With classical music overhyping their pretentious act, the mood of the night instantly shifted as 30 Seconds to Mars took the stage. Fortunately, their painful set eventually came to a close and anticipation filled the room once more. 

After what seemed like forever, Muse took the stage, immediately beginning their eleven-song set with “MK Ultra,” a new song that begins with a dramatic, electric guitar riff soon joined by drums and bass. 

It was at this point that the crowd erupted and, although they’d been standing there for hours, the vigor and liveliness of the audience was at its peak. Muse didn’t waste any time, going straight into their next song “Hysteria,” a crowd favorite. 

Vocalist/guitarist/pianist Matt Bellamy’s prominent vocals were just as good, if not better, than what can be heard on their albums. His falsetto is spot-on, and all the flourishes on the recorded versions are present live, all while he wails on his several custom guitars and moves about the stage. 

Of course, this wasn’t a one-man show. One of the reasons Muse is so fantastic is that each of the three members are extremely talented, and the chemistry they have translates to a wonderful live synthesis. 

Wolstenholme, the bassist, often stood at the center of the stage, fully intent on delivering the best sound possible. The same can be said for Howard, whose drums sounded clear and powerful as he provided the necessary backing for the rest of the band. About halfway through their performance, giant white balloons filled with confetti bounced among the crowd, cementing the event as a celebration. 

Muse  performed “Knights of Cydonia” as their closing song and as the anthem of a song came to an end, smoke shot up from the stage, a fitting finale to an incredible live performance. 

Few bands can fill a venue and exceed the expectations of the entire audience. Muse did, and they’ll be back to do it again in April at the Key Arena.