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Fans Report In: At the Drive In (Show in Review) One of AP.net's readers, Dustin, was also at the reunion show the other night. He wrote up a pretty cool blog about the experience that I've included below. Also, don't forget to check out Adam's review At The Drive In here.
Fans Report InThe first time I saw The Mars Volta, it was at the 3,000 capacity Palladium Ballroom in Dallas. The first time I saw the Omar Rodriguez-Lopez Group (with Cedric Bixler-Zavala adding vocals), it was at the 1,500 capacity South Side Music Hall. Upon hearing about At The Drive-In's reunion and Coachella performances booked, I couldn't imagine the venues they'd be booked to play if they decided to tour. But they love their home state, and they showed it when they announced their intimate Texas shows, including one at Trees in Dallas, a venue capable of fitting just 600 people, and within 3 minutes of announcing the show, all 600 people were good to go, and many more were severely disappointed, myself included at first. (Thank you again Mike for saving my ass and helping me secure tickets.)
Opener Zechs Marquise, consisting of 3 of the Rodriguez-Lopez brothers, never fails to impress. Although the sold out crowd was clearly going to skate to one song and one song only, their combination of instrumental prog rock and extremely catchy synthesizer and bass lines were the perfect warm up for ATDI, allowing a chance to enjoy amazing music that won't take away from the energy that's clearly being reserved for the headlining act. Their set was seamless with not much room for any member to talk except for a "Thank you" from bassist Marfred Rodriguez-Lopez followed by a quick "Swagswagswagswag" as they continued through their last two songs. Although not the most energetic band to watch at a punk/hardcore/whatever-kids-call-it-these-days show, their set was flawless and perfectly in sync.
Zechs Marquise left the stage after their last song for a brief 20 minutes before the curtains parted and members of Sparta and The Mars Volta entered the stage, with one word from Cedric Bixler-Zavala before allowing all hell to erupt from the crowd: "Bitchin'".
And bitchin' it was. Repeating their Austin setlist with the clear intention of using Texas to warm up for Coachella, At The Drive-In's set opened with "Arcarsenal", much to fan delight, as proven when Cedric held the microphone to the crowd to hear 600 die hard fans shout "I MUST HAVE READ A THOUSAND FACES!" so loud that I heard the echo the whole drive home after the show. The setlist choices were flawless, consisting of favorites from their Vaya EP, In/Casino/Out, and of course, Relationship Of Command. The show that ensued was phenomenal, don't get me wrong, but I would've paid that ticket price just to hear the intensity of that first song. Although the entire performance was notable, performances of songs such as "Sleepwalk Capsules", "Napoleon Solo", "Quarantined", and "198d" were extreme high points in an already astounding show.
As mentioned by many from the Austin show, Cedric's voice is much more polished than it was in the 90s and early 2000 - and it's certainly not a bad thing. The punk mentality was still there, this time reinforced by 10 years of being a virtuoso in a critically acclaimed progressive band. The only notes missed were the off-key attempts to reach Cedric's register by the sweaty, hoarse voiced admirers still trying to process that the reunion happening in front of them is a reality. Vocalist and guitarist Jim Ward of Sparta was spot on, and added extreme strength to the performance with his voice, despite Cedric clearly stealing the show by being his eccentric self.
Guitarist and The Mars Volta maestro Omar Rodriguez-Lopez looked detached, probably due to his recent loss, but it didn't affect the show. Cedric had enough energy for every member onstage. He seemed eleven years younger again, throwing microphone stands (and incidentally breaking microphones) and performing handstands on the drum set, on the stage floor, anywhere. At the previously mentioned moment, when Cedric's microphone broke halfway through a song, he grabbed Jim Ward's microphone and stood next to him to sing their parts together, which emphasized the unity these five individuals have once again; even if it is for nostalgia and money, it's a beautiful thing to witness.
The reunion has been criticized for being a cash grab, but this country runs on supply-and-demand, and it was clear that the majority of this crowd would've given up their homes and cars to witness this, yet we got to witness it for just $20. I'm not sure what kind of check Coachella is cutting At The Drive-In, but after 11 years of growing, sobering up from their earlier vices, and becoming musically strong enough to play music with youthful energy and structure, but mature accuracy and delivery, it's undeniable that they deserve the check. The reunion has also been criticized because it'll never give the feeling the performances did back in the day, and while I agree with that, I see it as the best thing possible. At The Drive-In is at their best now, and from a completely unbiased standpoint, omitting microphone problems, they delivered an absolutely incredible performance.
And from a biased standpoint, there's nothing like your favorite singer and hero shoving a microphone into your face.
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One Armed Scissor
Catacombs #at the drive in #fans report in #show review
04:09 PM on 04/11/12
damnnnnnnn dude. i need to see them
04:35 PM on 04/11/12
Need. To. Get. To. Coachella
04:50 PM on 04/11/12
Video games are for children
This dude needs to write everything on this site. Pay this man.
05:01 PM on 04/11/12
Excellently written. Makes me really want to check out ATDI.
05:08 PM on 04/11/12
2014 AP Dynasty League Champion
I'm still blown away by it all. The venue Adam saw em at was even smaller than Trees so I can't even imagine the energy that was happening there, haha.
06:01 PM on 04/11/12
I walked by Red 7 when I was in Austin 2 weeks ago, can't believe they didn't pay a bigger place considering the history of the band.
06:16 PM on 04/11/12
I don't know what you're doing now, but stop it. Go to YouTube. Look them up and you won't regret it.
06:26 PM on 04/11/12
Yeah I looked them up on Spotify...I can see why people like it.
07:18 PM on 04/11/12
Just out of interest what is the recent loss Omar experienced, was totally unaware?
07:21 PM on 04/11/12
They were at Trees?! I wish i was home for that.
07:29 PM on 04/11/12
@BehindtheCade Seen 735 bands live!
gh the sold out crowd was clearly going to skate to one song and one song only, their combination of instrumental prog rock and extremely catchy synthesizer and bass lines were the perfect warm up for ATDI
lol wow that was funny and awesome at the same time! You should really do more reviews!