Archive for May, 2008

The Mars Volta live – Eye Daily (5.13.08)

May 14, 2008

Nine songs in three hours? Ok, there was a jam in there too, and a few interludes, but still…

Let me start off by clarifying that I have no problem with over-extended songs riddled with searching instrumental sections, indulgent soloing and organic group dynamics. Coltrane’s Ascension – love it; Tool – there was a time where I couldn’t get enough; “Machine Gun” – any version will do; and even the occasional Zeppelin wank-a-thon is a worthy endeavour. And truth be told, I have been following Mars Volta since At the Drive-In imploded and have much respect for Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and Cedric Bixler-Zavala’s righteous musical quest. So I was more than prepared for the copious amounts of music expected at Monday’s Sound Academy engagement, or so I thought. Let’s just say I spent the first two hours enraptured and the next 45 or so minutes hoping it would end.

From the opening 20-minute take on “Roulette Dares (The Haunt of)” it was clear that the all-ages audience was in for some sustained intensity. Leading the eight-piece ensemble, Omar and Cedric grabbed hold of a song that they’ve been playing since the band’s inception and shook it with the force of an unmuzzled pit-bull. An additional layer of texture from Adrián Terrazas-González’s tenor sax and the extra-ecstatic fills courtesy of drum prodigy Thomas Pridgin didn’t hurt either. Launching straight into the concise familiarity of single “Wax Simulacra,” the band began a healthy offering from their latest disc Bedlam in Goliath. Unlike the previous Toronto show, which featured even more selections from the then unheard album and I can only imagine resulted in a few sprained eardrums from trying to process the frenetic arrangements, the crowd seemed well versed in the album-length ode to the curse of ancient Ouijas. (more…)