Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Mars Volta

This afternoon as the excitement for this show grew, my awesome dad called and said he was on his way to the War Memorial Auditorium to sell an amp to the bass player of The Mars Volta, and would I like to drive down there with him? Um, of course. After meeting Juan and Jesse the bass tech and hanging out on stage while he checked out the amp, I asked if there was any way they could hook me up with a ticket. He decided not to buy the amp but my sweet ticket was waiting for me at will call. How great is Nashville?

As the show started, there seemed to be some technical difficulty with the guitar rig, so the singer, Cedric treated us to some impromptu poetry about Megan Fox and Guitar Center. Then they launched into their set and burned that place down for the rest of the night. For those who are unfamiliar, this band is sort of a mix between Guns N' Roses and Tool, for lack of many other comparisons. The guitar driven songs have multiple complicated sections and Cedric's vocal range and stage moves give Axle a run for his money. His boundless energy and rock star attitude were the center of attention, but he was just one spark to the power of the band. Omar on guitar made it look easy as he navigated through his epic numbers. It was hard to believe he was the only guitar player, making me wonder how one guy could make all that noise. As the composer of the group, he was locked in on every change and unusual time signature along with Thomas, the drummer. Man, this guy was a monster back there. He really is an elite drummer, able to keep the unusual beats with such intensity all while bouncing around like Animal. The rest of the members were good, but none of them stood out as irreplaceable. The bass and keys were adequate and the percussion seemed out of place and hard to hear most of the time with everything else that was going on.

As a new fan, I really wish I could say more about individual songs. Each one was unique and they all rocked equal ass. This truly was a great rock show. The crowd was a little small, but the fans that were there were intense and appreciative. I don't know what the deal is, but for my second consecutive War Memorial show, the band finished their last song, waved silently, and split leaving the audience standing in the house lights unable to believe there wouldn't be an encore. This and the lack of an opening act made the show seem short but the performance was definitely worth the price everyone else paid for admission. The Mars Volta is one of those bands that probably won't win a million grammys or have a hit on the radio but the lucky ones who hear them will love it. I'll go see this band every chance I get.

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