In the late 90's, few English alternative rock bands struggled as hard to emerge from the shadow of Radiohead as Muse. Despite an initial similarity in sound, the members of Muse have made a name for themselves in the music world with their unique blending of musical styles and elaborate tour dates. While more of a recent development, Muse's concert dates in 2011 have featured incredible moving stages, intense lighting effects, and visually striking instruments. Their signature sound has sold well over ten million albums worldwide and garnered them heaps of awards and critical acclaim. In recent years, Muse has also become known for their innovative and elaborate live performances, including a few remaining concert dates in 2011.
Muse began in Teignmouth, Devon, under the name Gothic Plague. The band was started by drummer Dominic Howard while attending Teignmouth Community College in the early 90s. However, after Bellamy suggested moving from a cover band to an original one, Howard, Chris Wolstenholme, and Matthew Bellamy were all that remained. After winning a local battle of the bands, the trio quit school and their jobs, moved to London, and changed the band name to Muse. Muse's 1999 EP, Muscle Museum, became a hit with the title track reaching #3 on the indie singles charts and experiencing rotation on the radio. Despite playing tour dates throughout the UK, Muse's lack of success prompted them to move to the US.
Shortly after, Muse signed with Maverick Records and recorded their first full-length album, Showbiz, later in 1999. The album's theme revolved around Muse's struggle to achieve commercial success and featured a softer style than what the band would become known for. Muse drastically changed their style on their next album, Origin of Symmetry, which was originally released in 2001. The album features a more experimental sound achieved with an expanded drum kit and mellotron, as well as Bellamy's signature falsetto voice. The success of the album prompted a number of headlining and supporting tour dates, which began a habit of continuously playing concert dates. Muse saw their success grow even more with the release of Absolution in 2003. While comparisons with Radiohead were still common, critics praised the album and its sound regardless of any musical similarities. Muse experienced similar success with their 2006 album, Black Holes and Revelations, despite the risky experimentation with style on the album.
Muse's latest album, Resistance, was released in 2009 to resoundingly positive reviews. It became the group's third #1 album in the UK and reached #3 on the Billboard 200, it's highest charting in the United States. The album also won Muse their first Grammy Award for Best Rock Album. After taking a break from extended tour dates, Muse has hinted at a new album for late 2011. The band also has a few scheduled concert dates left for 2011, including tour dates at a number of music festivals around the world. After playing the LA Rising concert date with Rage Against the Machine on July 30, Muse will play tour dates at Kanrocksas in Kansas City and the Outside Lands Festival in San Francisco on August 13. Muse is set to end their 2011 concert dates at the Reading and Leeds Festivals, where they will play the entire album, Origin of Symmetry, in honor of its 10th anniversary.
Band of Skulls:
Band of Skulls is quickly becoming one of the most popular garage rock bands in England. With only one album released, the singles "Light of the Morning" and "I Know What I Am" are appearing everywhere, and their tour dates are becoming more widely attended. Band of Skulls is garnering critical acclaim for their blending of styles and influences to create a superior level of rock that hasn't been seen since the 70s. In addition to working on their second album, Band of Skulls is also embarking on a few European/North American tour dates in 2011.
Guitarist Russell Marsden, bassist Emma Richardson, and drummer Matt Hayward met in college and quickly began creating music. After changing their name from Fleeing New York to Band of Skulls, the trio began playing local shows around London and even traveled on tour dates to Moscow and Tokyo. Band of Skulls' debut album, Baby Darling Doll Face Honey was released in 2009 and the track "I Know What I Am" became a hit after being chosen as iTunes' Single of the Week. This led to some pretty big shows, including a performance at SXSW in 2010 and a gig opening for Muse in Lancashire.
While Band of Skulls puts the finishing touches on their second album (due out early 2012), fans can catch them on a number of tour dates in 2011. Beginning on September 24, the trio will play four shows in North America, with stops in Atlanta, New York City, and Toronto. Beginning on October 13, Band of Skulls will play a few shows through Europe, including stops in Germany, France, and England. With the world's high hopes for their second album, don't miss an opportunity to catch Band of Skulls on their 2011 tour dates.