Muse @ BBC Maida Vale Studio 3, London, 18/09/03

Photo © Gig101 2003

The free cans of beer get passed around, and we know it’s going to be a good night. We’re in a tiny BBC studio tucked away in Maida Vale, with a hundred lucky competition winners about to witness an exclusive live set from Muse in surroundings not much bigger than your average primary school assembly hall. It’s 9.20pm, and with about forty minutes left on Zane Lowe’s Radio 1 show, Muse arrive onstage. They’re introduced by Zane Lowe as ‘one of the best bands in the world’ and we’re told to expect material from the new album as well as some older stuff. It’s a thrill just to see these three musicians at just an arms length away, but when they start playing their instruments, the results are nothing short of spectacular.

The aptly titled ‘Hysteria’ opens up the set, and is followed by another new song, the hypnotic ‘Butterflies And Hurricanes’. It’s like Muse are playing to us in a living room, with Matt Bellamy’s every expression clear for all to see. Current single ‘Time Is Running Out’, essentially the new 'Plug In Baby', is certainly the catchiest thing they’ve ever done and triggers a word perfect sing along from the devoted army of followers. But for Muse, it seems their time is only just beginning – with new album ‘Absolution’ set to take them into more households than ever before and a tour of the arenas scheduled for this winter, the best is yet to come one feels. ‘Stockholm Syndrome’, which has already been enjoyed by fans who legally downloaded it, has to be the single of the year, with it’s pounding riff grabbing your attention and refusing to let go for at least five epic minutes. ‘New Born’, the archetypal Muse song that starts off quietly and builds up to a dramatic, frenzied climax concludes the short session, which is a tantalising taster of what’s to come later on in the year. It seems Great Britain can finally boast a band that will give the American hard rock aristocracy a run for their money. ‘Absolution’ drops on Monday, and if there’s a better rock album this year it will be quite remarkable.

Set List:

  • Hysteria

  • Butterflies And Hurricanes

  • Bliss

  • The Groove

  • Plug In Baby

  • Time Is Running Out

  • Stockholm Syndrome

  • New Born

    Jeremy Lloyd