Briefs from Inland Invasion

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Backstage, it seemed everyone was raving about Muse, a bit of a shock considering they were the odd men out on the metal-leaning bill. Perhaps it's because the British rockers instantly won over the crowd by opening with their latest and biggest-to-date single, "Knights of Cydonia," and then took the audience on a ride through their progressive catalog.

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Muse, led by the sick skills of guitarist Matt Bellamy and bassist Chris Wolstenholme, simply operates on an entirely higher level. Its wall of sonics can be as tremendous as anything at Ozzfest, but the intense, almost Tool-like complexity of its frantically but fluidly arpeggioed structures, set against Bellamy's near-operatic, emotionally rousing melodies (think neo-Queen) and the group's inventive danceable grooves, puts it in a class by itself right now.

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The British trio packed quite a sonic wallop and immediately went down a storm. Matt Bellamy's operatic vocals were in fine form and his guitar feedback excursions ("Hysteria," set closer "Stockholm Syndrome" where he toppled over a guitar amp) were stunning.