Goliath of a Show


22 okt 2009, 08:17

Mon 5 Oct – The Mars Volta

When you to see a band that you really like, you always have high expectations. On October 5th, 2009 The Mars Volta came to town and they brought intensity. And by intensity, I mean my ears are still ringing with musical goodness. They decided not to have an opener on the tour. Instead they presented the audience with a sonic assault for approximately two hours.

When someone tells you about a show they really enjoyed, it might sound something along the lines of, "Oh man! That was the most hardcore show ever! The Devil Wears Prada slayed the crowd! Everyone was moshing so hard!" But the Mars Volta was the most intense show I have ever been to not because of scenesters slam dancing, but because of their relentlessly impressive delivery of super-human jazz fusion. The intensity of the band just oozed out of each member.

The singer, Cedric Bixler Zavala, slid across the stage like a snake in a trance, yelling into the microphone. Omar Rodriguez (guitar) seemed totally lost in the music, swinging his guitar and sliding up and down its neck without any care for conventional musical structure, and it sounded (somehow) great! Issiah Owens (keyboards) was literally jumping in his seat, hammering his keyboards. Juan Aldrete (bass) played the entire show with his finger-picking hand in a cast but this didn't stop him from keeping up with the rest of the band. Thomas Pidgen, who was a drumming child prodigy (and youngest musician to be endorsed by the company Zildgian) played the entire show with the combined energy of Mike Portnoy (Dream Theatre) and Danny Carey (Tool).

However, during the quieter times of the show, the band acted accordingly, immersing themselves in the music. They would be playing high energy songs like "Drunkship of Lanterns" one second, and the next they would be slowing down to a minimal tempo just to progress into another song.

There was lots of musical improvisation, including an exceptionally jaw dropping bass solo that seemed to last a lifetime and making his bass sound like a spiralling mix of drowning, moaning orphans which ripped into "The Widow". The Mars Volta started the show with "Son Et Lumiere" and "Inertiatic ESP", the two opening tracks of their debut album "De-Loused in the Comatorium", before sliding into their song "Goliath". Cedric sang his best, proving that he sounds just as good in concert as he does on recording.

The backdrop behind the band reflected different colors, depending on the mood of what song they were playing, evoking a great atmosphere to the music. Rarely did Cedric talk to the audience, but when he did, it was to thank everyone for coming out, and how happy the band is doing what they're doing now (a shot at Cedric's former band At The Drive In?)

The band finished the set with "Wax Simulacra", retiring backstage. There was no encore much to the dismay of the chanting, stomping fans, still hungry for more magic. The Mars Volta definitely left the audience with ringing ears and begging for more.


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