NME Festival blog: “We lay it on thick” – walk onstage with Muse at Reading & Leeds 2017

“You can’t be too subtle,” says Matt Bellamy ahead of their sensational Reading set

“Nuclear warfare?” Matt Bellamy gazes off into the distance, considering the consequences and repercussions, the fallout, the devastation. Not of a major escalation in tensions in North Korea, but of taking Kasabian on at their own game.


“Kasabian said their Reading set was like nuclear warfare?” he says, “that’s a good one…”


Matt instead tends to remember Muse’s Reading disasters – the time Chris arrived so late for an early set on a side stage that they only managed a couple of songs, for example. But as regular bill-toppers at R&L, what’s the secret to blowing Berkshire a new Arbuckles?


“With Reading, especially if you’re playing last, you can’t be too subtle,” Matt confides. “We’re very good at not being subtle. That’s been our secret, to lay it on thick. Play all the heavy riffs and keep people pumped all the way through, that’s the key. If you’re on in the daytime you can play something dreamy and lovey but we tend to go pretty darkside and heavy and that seems to be what works.”


It certainly worked at Reading – from the choral glam of new single ‘Dig Down’ through early rampages through ‘Hysteria’, ‘Plug In Baby’ and ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ to the skyful of streamers that accompanied ‘Mercy’, Muse and their shifting pillars of visuals ruled Reading like neon-guitared He-Men. And just to prove they don’t beam down from Planet Kickass straight onto the stage, watch our video of walking onstage with the band below.





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