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Palladium, Cologne, Germany
8th March 2008
The Mars Volta

Already after the first release of their project THE MARS VOLTA, both ex-THE DRIVE-IN members Cedric Bixler-Zavala and Omar Rodriguez-Lopez caused a real hype. To un-orthodox was their sound somewhere between Hardcore, Psychedelic and Enthno, to spectacular and energy-loaded were their live shows. You could not ignore this band. Following three released fulfilled all expectations and support slots for RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS as well as own headliner tours cemented their reputation as brilliant performance artists. During their current tour through Germany, they presented material out off their fourth studio release ‘The Bedlam in Goliath’.

After the split of THE DRIVE-IN in 2001, one half of the band was successful with SPARTA while the other half later on founded THE MARS VOLTA. Several musicians joined the band and the fist EP ‘Tremulant’ was released in 2002. The debut album ‘De-Loused in the Comatorium’ (2003) was highly acclaimed by critics. The second album ‘Frances the Mute’ was released in 2005 dealing with the love of ex-band member Jeremy Ward who dies short before the release of the debut album, followed by a live album in the same year. Third studio album ‘Amputechture’ saw the light of day in summer 2006. Afterwards, the band worked to release the next concept and latest studio album ‘The Bedlam in Goliath’. After several line-up changes over the years, the band consists at the moment of Omar Rodriguez-Lopez (guitar), Cedric Bixler Zavala (vocals), Juan Alderete (bass), Isaiah Ikey Owens (keyboards), Marcel Rodriguez-Lopez, Adrian Terrazas, Pablo Hinojos-Gonzalez (guitar, sound engineer) and Thomas Pridgen (drums). / /

Music & Performance
THE MARS VOLTA, no support band, that’s what you got during the current tour. Well, playing for about three hours, there is not really the need for a support band anyway. The show in Cologne started at short past eight on this Saturday night. First thing you saw was a huge psychedelic painting on an immense backdrop covering the whole background of the stage. During the show, this backdrop was changed twice what made great impressions, especially due to the different and gloomy illuminations by the light show, which was not too bright during a big part of the show. But back from the visual aspect to the music…

Having a look at the setlist (which looks short but un fact all songs last a half eternity) you could see that of course several songs out off the current album have been played as well of - what else was expected? - older gems. I must admit that this kind of music is not really my cup of tea. But I also have to admit that those guys on stage are great musicians. I.e. it was incredible how Omar maltreated the guitar or Thomas worked with the drums. I especially liked the drums. They were so powerful and diversified. Great! I cannot compare to other shows, but to me it seemed that all band members were in good mood. Cedric was even jumping around a lot or throwing the microphone, making faces and such stuff. One negative thing Is to mention anyway… not caused by the band though.

After quite some talking in the crowd some guy shouted something up to the stage during the nice acoustic ‘Asilos’ what made Omar going mad. The band ended the song but the planned ‘Miranda’ was not played afterwards. Instead, Cedric stated that it was the first time someone was shouting something during this calm song and as a result the crowd will get a rock song directly. So, the set ended with the explosive "rock song" ‘Baphomets’.

01. Roulette
02. Viscera
03. Wax
04. Goliath
05. Ouroborous
06. Tetris
07. Agadez
08. Cygnus
09. Aberinkula
10. Drunkship
11. Asilos
12. Miranda (not played)
13. Baphomets

Music: 9
Performance: 8
Sound: 7
Light: 7
Total: 8

All pictures by Daniela Vorndran ( / /

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