Brixton Academy, London.
The Mars Volta never have a support act. Tonight was no exception as it belonged wholly to the band and all who witnessed what they were about to create. The introduction of trumpeted western music (with a Latin kick) was met with a cheer from the crowd as the low white light illuminated the stage and the band took their places for the three hour journey ahead of them. Silence ensued and then, from nowhere and executed with such precision, Roulette Dares became the first song of the night.
Thriving on drawn-out instrumentals, the opener lasted around seven minutes longer than it does on record, each song flowing effortlessly into the next. The trumpets, guitars, keyboards and synths built up bone heavy beats and samba rhythms as Cedric accompanied them in voice and dance – as always, i actually thought he was close to knocking himself out. The energy and eccentricity of the Mars Volta never looks out of place.
Wax Simulacra, a release from the most recent album The Bedlam in Goliath, refreshed the set halfway through, pleasing fans that were new to these prog masters of the instrumental whim. Highlights included the Drunkship of Lanterns from 2003’s De-loused and Ouroboros from the current album which sounded epic within the acoustics of the Brixton Academy.
Despite the crowd’s adoration, after three hours even the most dedicated fans had undergone a mighty endurance test albeit spellbound with the performance. This band are indeed a rarity but if you do not like them now, you probably never will.