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5 reasons Muse deserve their headlining slot at Download


1. They’ve got massive songs under their belt

Muse sure do know how to write a song. Whether you think they’re ‘light’ or not, you can’t deny that hits like ‘The Uprising’, ‘I’m Feeling Good’, ‘Supermassive Black Hole’ and ‘Supremacy’ are true rock tunes. These songs would be INSANE at a crowd like the ones at Download. After all, at the end of a long day of rock sets you want some singalong anthems, and Muse’s headlining set will no doubt be jam-packed with these and fan favourites that even a hardened KISS fan knows.

2. They’ve played big gigs before – and well

A string of shows at London’s Emirates Stadium in 2013, Reading and Leeds successes as well as lots of smash-hit club shows prove that Muse have it in them to stir up a big crowd. Sure, Download is usually the stomping ground of rock and metal heavyweights, who just have to turn up on stage for a pit to start. But Muse have a way of charming even large groups of people with infectious riffs and great live presence that Download should appreciate. They certainly won’t be overshadowed by Donnington Park’s huge size.

3. Their seventh album is rumoured to be heavier

Teasing fans on Twitter, Matt Bellamy said ‘it’s gonna get heavy’. It was recently announced that the three-piece are working with Robert Lange, producer of AC/DC, on their latest album. Bellamy has said this album will ‘strip away’ the additional elements the band have explored on previous albums, such as orchestrations and electronics. This is sounding more and more like a heavier record by the minute, and while Muse probably won’t branch out into heavy metal (though they could probably pull it off), it’s a sign of a more Download-standard album to play the festival on. And that’s got to silence some critics, right?

4. They’re not bubblegum pop

Download is, admittedly, usually reserved for ‘heavier’ (I use that word with extensive trepidation) acts like Slipknot, Enter Shikari and Motley Crüe, but Muse shouldn’t be denied their slot just because of an apparent discrepancy of genre. The 2nd Law had some real potential with regard to a heavier future, and lyrics tackling politics and science as well as the classic relationship song. Muse may not be death metal, but they’re not Pop either. And defining who should play a festival based on what section you can buy the CD in isn’t good enough justification.

5. Their stage production is perfect for a headliner

Muse’s shows have always been an audiovisual experience. The 2nd Law World Tour has gone down as one of the most extravagant pieces of rock stage production since Slipknot started setting fire to everything. Featuring a huge pyramid of LED screens, light-up instruments, a literal bomb exploding, robots and even their own currency, the Muso, fired from cannons. Basically everything you want in a Download headline show: Ridiculous setups, interactive features, and trip-inducing visuals. Muse are sure to bring even more to Donnington Park, and are likely to step it up to 11 since their eligibility as headliners has been questioned. If you’re worried about being bored while watching a Muse headline set, you have no need to worry. The experience that is seeing Muse is not just seeing three men from Devon playing songs, no matter how good those songs are, it’s an immersive show that works in small or big venues, and will work especially well with the huge, buzzing crowds of Download.

So Muse may not’ve been everyone’s first guess (or choice) as headliners for this year’s Saturday at Download, but deserving of it they are. They’ll bring massive tunes, a crazy stage show, and festival experience that will make this Download not only great, but also unique. Have faith in Muse, they’ll be good.

Caitlin Hogan

Editor of LLR since 2005

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