Muse invades the M.A.C. Center

Seth Roy

Credit: Seth Roy

“Time is running out” on MTVU’s Campus Invasion Tour, and Muse will not “absolve” the “hysterical” for missing out. Muse has been on the MTV tour since April 8, playing colleges all over the United States.

“It’s been a little rusty on our behalf,” Chris Wolstenholme, the band’s bassist and backing vocalist, said in a thick British accent. Before starting this tour, Muse hadn’t played for around four months.

Muse formed in its hometown of Devon in Teignmouth, England, in 1994. The band consists of three members: Wolstenholme, Matt Bellamy (lead vocalist, guitars and keyboards) and Dominic Howard (drums and percussion).

The trio gained popularity in the UK throughout the late ’90s, but never really caught on in the States with its first two full-length albums. Then, in March of last year, the album Absolution hit America, fronted by the powerful, catchy “Time is Running Out.” From then on, the band’s popularity has only grown.

“When we got signed (to Warner Bros.),” Wolstenholme said, “we didn’t really know what to expect. It was a bit of a shock.”

Their shows, he added, went from between 500 and 1,000 fans to 3,000 and 4,000. Muse has toured all over the states since Absolution’s release, and has gotten a feel for tendencies of the crowds.

“(Crowds are) different all over the states,” Wolstenholme said. “On the west coast, it’s a big punk crowd. Everyone was going absolutely nuts. On the east coast, people are more focused on listening and taking everything in.”

Muse has been praised for having an exciting and energetic live show.

“The live show is a lot more rock,” he said. “We’ve always been a rock band. It’s impossible to capture (the live energy) on an album.”

For this tour, the band has been playing songs from each of its three albums, but primarily from the moody, dark and prophetic Absolution. Wolstenholme said the album’s gloominess was purely unintentional.

“When we went in to record Absolution, we thought it was going to be positive.”

Songs like “Apocalypse Please,” “Thoughts of a Dying Atheist” and “Hysteria,” which deal with the end of the world and death, among other things, show just how much a few months in the recording studio can change the direction of an album.

Most of the band’s lyrics and instrumentals come from the mind of Bellamy, Wolstenholme said. Typically, Bellamy will come to the band with a loose idea and they will work on and arrange the song together.

Wolstenholme tried to describe Muse’s style in three words. After a pause, he said it was “an intense experience,” but conceded that describing his band in just a few words is “pretty near impossible. I still haven’t gotten an answer for that, after eight years.”

During Muse’s time off from touring, the band wrote about 12 songs for a new album, four of which rotate in and out of the set list.

When asked if the new songs followed a lyrically similar theme to Absolution, Wolstenholme couldn’t provide an answer.

“I haven’t looked at the lyrics yet,” he said. “I just play the songs.”

Wolstenholme will get to play his songs tonight in M.A.C. Center as MTVU invades Kent State. Razorlight will play directly before Muse, and other, local artists will perform throughout the day as part of FlashFest. The Muse concert is free to students with a valid student ID.

Contact Pop Arts reporter Seth Roy at [email protected].