To be fair, Radiohead is certainly not Muse's only influence -- there's flecks of Queen, along with various composers and prog-rock bands to be found in this color match -- just its most prominent. Fact is, vocalist Matthew Bellamy's voice is so kindred to Thom Yorke's -- from his expressive phrasing to the gasping way he draws his breath -- that nine out of ten fans would be hard pressed to distinguish the difference in a blind taste test.
Granted, when Muse made its debut with Showbiz in 1999, the similitude was probably more pronounced. Just two years after OK Computer was released, that particular version of Radiohead was still fresh in people's minds, and the outfit carved out a place for itself somewhere between seeming deadringers like Paloalto and kindred acts like Remy Zero on the, uh, airwaves. More than a decade on, though, that Computer's a DOS-like dinosaur, and Muse has successfully honed its sound into something unimpeachably its own with tablet-like precision.
This show -- as Bellamy pointed out during his exceedingly limited banter -- was originally slated to take place at the notably smaller 1STBANK Center. When news of its postponement (due to unseasonably inclement weather) was accompanied by word that Silversun Pickups wouldn't be part of the rescheduled bill and that the show had been moved to the Pepsi Center, it seemed a bit lofty, the notion that Muse could fill a venue the size of the Pepsi Center. Clearly promoters knew something prognosticators didn't: Muse has a massive and devoted fanbase, as evidenced by the enthusiastic throng assembled on Saturday night.Oh and fans were certainly enthusiastic. Passionate Pit made good and sure everyone was primed and ready for Muse. Earning every bit of its keep as an opener, despite being sequestered to essentially the apron of the stage and dwarfed by the headliner's mammoth cityscape backdrop, the Cambridge, Massachusetts-based quintet played with palpable vigor, tearing through its condensed set as though it was the main draw on a small club tour rather than filling the opening slot in an arena. The outfit's synth-drenched dance pop sound, driven by Michael Angelakos's reedy, full falsetto, had everyone shimmying in the aisles and left everyone with a smile.