The Mars Volta @ Brixton Academy, Brixton, London
14th March 2008
There really isn’t a band out there in the world who biggest attraction are the active attempts to alienate their music to all comers. Despite their best efforts to go their own way, do their own thing, make undecipherable music and explore creatively the stranger side of life, they have a huge fanbase. This in part is due to their former incarnation as alt rockers in the cult 90’s band At The Drive In. Still me and Mr Flowers were here to sample the weirdness and delve into progressive funked up latino fantasyland that is a Mars Volta Show.
Arriving early to avoid missing any decent warm-ups we were pretty shocked to find that the headline act had already taken to the stage, 30 minutes ago in fact, shocker! In fact the Mars Volta had done away with the entire gigging rulebook. In typical prog style they played for a non-stop marathon 3 Hours. The fact that there only seemed to be about 5 moments of silence the whole time shows just how long some these songs were. They switched between slow quieter low key moments, those which allowed chatting and beer runs, to huge spiking crescendos of inundated wailing instruments pushed to their limits.
Usually here I’d write my favourite tracks, but considering all the tracks are in latin and they were very different here from any recorded material, I could hardly tell them apart. I think I managed to picked out the main riff to Wax Simulacra in there somewhere, which is a pretty sure bet seeing as it’s their latest single.
The odd and randomness of the show was unrivaled in my experience and the adoring crowd lapped it up! This was a gargantuan effort from one of the leaders in boundary breaking weirded out progressive jams. 3 hours have never flown by quite so fast and despite the sheer length and bizarre nature of the show, I really enjoyed it…strangely!