In this week's paper, I talked briefly about tonight's Mars Volta show at the Palladium Ballroom...
It's been eight years since the break-up of At the Drive-In, the influential post-hardcore El Paso outfit that, post-dissolution, saw its members split off into the separate factions of Sparta and The Mars Volta.
The former took a simple enough alt-rock route to moderate success. The latter, meanwhile, delved off in an altogether new prog rock direction, with nary a glance back. Sure enough, five studio albums later, The Mars Volta's brand of dramatic prog rock remains as vital as ever--perhaps more so, actually, despite what the band says on the matter. Before the June release of the newest disc, Octahedron, vocalist Cedric Bixler-Zavala warned fans that this was to be his band's "pop" and "acoustic" record, signaling a change in pace for the band's direction. Turns out the only thing it signaled was that the band doesn't grasp the meaning of the words "pop" and "acoustic."
Perhaps slightly more melodic and deliberately paced than previous Mars Volta discs, this most recent release is every bit as dramatic as previous ones. And the band will surely prove that onstage this week as it swings back through North Texas on the way home from its latest nationwide tour.
Not too much to add to that--except that I caught the band's headlining Sunday night set at the Monolith Festival this past weekend. And, yeah, this definitely isn't a pop--or acoustic--record. The band's live show is as proggy and dramatic as ever--and definitely worth catching live, if you can put up with two-hour-plus performances.