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July 14, 2008 | by  | in Music |
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Live Review: The Mars Volta

Logan Campbell Centre
26 June

What a night, and what a show. Between seeing The Mars Volta’s best New Zealand performance to date (and trust me, I’ve been to every one) and ending up in the sax player’s hotel room, that night will go down as one of my best.

There was a smaller turnout to previous years (which could quite possibly be put down to the choice of the Logan Campbell Centre as opposed to the usual St James), but Cedric Bixler- Zavala and Omar Rodriguez-Lopez took it all in their stride. Omar, this century’s Jimmy Hendrix, shredded and ripped and improvised his way through the non-stop two-and-a-half hour show while Cedric tore down the stage with his crazy vocals and even crazier dancing (his hair as much of a focal point as the songs themselves).

The LA troupe was on fire for their fourth NZ performance, and although it’s hard to look past the two main men during a live show, the band gave them a run for their money. Thomas Pridgin, the new drummer from Berkeley who has been with The Mars Volta for less than a year, drove the show and was by far the star. Not to mention Adrián Terrazas-Gonzáles who always brings that extra element to the performance with his free jazz and saxophone solos, jumped back and forth between the bass clarinet, flute and saxophone, mixing with Cedric’s vocals with almost chaotic perfection.

They made use of a wide range of material, taking bits and pieces from their last three studio albums, while opening the gig with a brand new song, described on the set-list as ‘Intro Song’ (lasting for a whole 20 minutes). Drawn out improvised jams were a constant feature of the night, the band stopping mid-song as if following a different train of thought.

All in all, it rates as The Mars Volta’s best New Zealand performance. I mean, what can be better than seeing bogans mosh through a bass clarinet solo. These musical wizards are here to stay.

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