When I first heard it, the phrase “Rock meets Dubstep” initially made me think of frat bros doing kegstands to Linkin Park remixes…and vomit. Needless to say, upon hearing Muse’s recent take on the massive popularity of bass-heavy sound and finally seeing them perform it live, I was thrilled to be able to move past that visual.

I was equally thrilled upon entering the general admission area of Sleep Train Amphitheatre to find that my first time seeing Muse’s renowned live act would be front and center. This was only due to the fortuitous occurrence of being taller than the person in front of me for once in my vertically-challenged life.

The show opened with Band of Skulls, an impressive British alternative rock trio enjoying a steady rise in popularity. Their sound hinges on a variety of bluesy Southern to modern rock influences. At first they seemed like nothing new, but further listening proved that Band of Skulls refuse to be pinned, and are anything but unoriginal.

Bassist/vocalist Emma Richardson plucked away and delivered a sultry complement to the raw, mesmerizing croon of vocalist  Russell Marsden. Meanwhile, Matt Hayward put on a relentless, sweat-charged show on the drums. Noteworthy songs included their 2012 album’s title track “Sweet Sour,” the gritty bass beat of “I Know What I Am,” and the act-closing steady build of “Light Of The Morning.”

We waited nearly 40 minutes after Band of Skulls for Muse to take the stage and when they finally did, the wait was instantly forgotten and we were sucked into a spellbinding vortex of distinct rock guitar riffs and massive bass lines more commonly associated with Dubstep.

Muse combined the two genres in their 2012 release, The 2nd Law, which they recreated flawlessly live. The brilliant Matt Bellamy captivated everyone with his entrancing vocal range, sexy guitar solos, and piano playing while bassist Christopher Wolstenholme and drummer Dominic Howard provided their own expert musical talents. The accompanying light and laser show was superbly choreographed with tasteful intensity while the band members maintained an energized stage presence characteristic of their reputation.

With new songs like the hypnotically pulsing “Madness,” the infectious bass drop of “Follow Me,” and the dramatic anthem “Survival,” Muse indisputably proved their ability to evolve and perform their inimitable sound. They also played some past hits, including the theatrical singles “Resistance” and “Uprising” from their 2009 triumph, The Resistance, as well as the guitar-heavy “Hysteria” and “Stockholm Syndrome” from their 2003 album, Absolution.

The guy standing behind me said it best at one point late in the show, “These guys just don’t stop.” But with a remarkable act and rare talent like theirs, Muse has absolutely no reason to.

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