Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Mars Volta at the Palladium, August 30th, 2009

The above video is from the Outside Lands Festival on Saturday. Incidentally for your edification, Cedric and Omar are wearing the exact same clothes there as they did at the Palladium. o_O Cedric also proved his geekiness by mentioning that it was appropriate that they were playing the Twin Peaks stage and then warned the audience not to drink the coffee because there’s fish in the percolator. I kind of love him. OK, I totally love him. If my spare kidney weren’t already promised to Jack White, I’d give it to Cedric. And my other spare kidney would go to Omar. A thought occurs – I only have two kidneys. You win again, bilateral symmetry!

On to the review:

Fair warning – anyone who says that Cedric Bixler Zavala uses Autotune is a Communist. That includes the moronic blogger who claimed that Octahedron has long stretches of falsetto that were altered in Autotune to make them even higher. Wrong again, idiot. I will admit that most, if not all, singers sound better on recordings than they do live, but that’s because they can redo botched notes in the studio, use vocal effects, get some help from Autotune, etc. But the human voice is probably the most temperamental musical instrument there is, so if they used the first take every time and just left them as is, most music would sound kind of, um, bad, no matter how good the singer is. Anyway, my point is this: Cedric is an amazing singer whose voice is pretty much the same live as it is in recordings, and he can hit all those notes unaided. They might be a little thinner live, but they’re definitely there. So feel free to suck farts out of my ass, pretentious music blogger fucksticks.

After seeing them four times in less than a year, I feel like I’m running out of words to describe the Mars Volta live. I’m pretty sure that the Raconteurs will be baying for my blood for using “awesome” and “amazing” so much, but those are perfectly cromulent descriptors for the Mars Volta. They are stunning in every respect, and they definitely didn’t disappoint last night. Well, I was a little disappointed that they only played two hours, but that’s only because they’ve spoiled me so in the past.

The Palladium has been remodeled since I was last there in 1999 or 2000, so it’s more spacious and looks like a giant skating rink with a stage in it. We were at the very back, and I could still see them clearly, though, from the waist up. Needless to say, I was on my tiptoes a lot, because Cedric’s and Omar’s performances don’t end at the waist. The acoustics seemed slightly better, though there were still sound issues aplenty. Omar’s microphone didn’t seem to be on (or was turned down VERY low); Cedric’s microphone was fucked up somehow (maybe because he kept kicking it, comme d’habitude – French for "as usual" [/Garth Marenghi]) and he showed his displeasure by hurling the microphone stand off the side of the stage, and then a lackey would come and set it back up, and he’d knock it over again, etc. Also, the speakers went briefly kerflooey during the A Fistful of Dollars theme, which kind of ruined the effect. Well, maybe not ruined, because I was covered in goosebumps all the same.

The setlist was nearly the same as it was in Ventura and London, with one or two exceptions, as was Cedric’s banter. The non-beer-throwing-related banter, that is. But we’ll get to that later. As in London, he mentioned that he’d been out for a stroll when he came upon some desperate graves, but this time he said he was “aimlessly strolling, wandering, and came across a stack of desperate graves. A gang of desperate graves. A hutch of desperate graves.” He also dedicated “Ilyena” to Helen Mirren again but said that the song wasn’t actually about her, it was “just the feeling, you know?” Cedric also said that the Palladium show was the closest they’d get to a hometown show, since Cedric and Omar live or have lived in LA, and then he said that if we were nice to them, they’d be nice to us. Or maybe he more Tarvuistically said that we should be nice to those who are nice to us. He also bid us a cheery “Good morning!” when they took the stage, maybe in reference to the fact that they came on at 8:15 instead of the usual 9.

Since the microphone was fucking up, there weren’t as many microphone and microphone-related maneuvers – just a lot of draping the cord across his shoulders, kicking it and then catching it, and wrapping the cord around his arm, mostly – but he did do a spectacular Donkey. Because of where I was standing, all I could see were his legs sticking up in the air for a second. He also did the Worm at one point, and in “Viscera Eyes” he scuttled across the stage like a salsa dancer with a club foot, dropping it like it was hot at intervals. There was less miming than in London (we were mercifully spared the mimed miscarriage, for example), but he did do the “chutzpah” gesture during “Ilyena”: “There can be no Eve for Adam/when your apples [insert ball-squeezing gesture] have gone, gone, gone”, which makes sense, really. He also smacked/scratched himself on the arms, which I’m going to blame on the heartbreak of psioriasis/the fact that he was wearing the same shirt as he wore during their Saturday show) and charged up his thrusting power at one point (as demonstrated here by Super Junior’s Hankyung).

Vocally, I don’t even know what to say. Quality-wise, Cedric didn’t sound *quite* as good as he did in London, but it felt like he was really pushing himself. Not to say that it sounded effortful – it just sounded like he was trying to use his voice in as many ways as possible. During the long wank sections, he’d mostly wordlessly keen along with the music, like he was just another instrument, and his voice, though it would naturally thin out at the top of his range, just seemed to go on and on, like melted sugar being pulled into a long, whisper-fine thread with a spoon. The freak-out in “Goliath” wasn’t very long, but the shrieking went up and up. He also did the high part in “Teflon” (“One driver in your motorcade”), though it was kind of quiet, which made it that much more affecting, really. During “Ilyena”, he horked up something that dribbled off of his chin like words from a musky leper, and then let out a note of unearthly beauty. (IFYE, the “skeeeeeeee-yin” in “Ilyena” was especially exaggerated.) His mid-wank adlibbing was also in fine, if disturbing, working order – in “Eunuch Provocateur” (I think!), he said something like, “I want to fuck both of your eyes/I’m not going to sing your alphabet”, which, because of that brain thing of mine (I already did!), put a whole new spin on these old Sesame Street sketches (“If I want Cookie Monster to be a letter of the alphabet, he’s a letter of the alphabet, Kermit. Don’t make me fuck both of your eyes!”).

Omar was much more lively than he’d been in London, maybe because he was in his special salvaged-from-Jimi-Hendrix’s-attic vest ensemble. He was also Elvish for most of the show and seemed to be kind of off in his own world, a strange, beautiful world where guitars are hunted for the sweet flesh under their pickguards so that you can eat the flesh and be born unto new worlds where the flesh becomes your key. When he wasn’t lost in his guitar world, he was doing the Matthew-Brock-hypnotized-to-think-he’s-a-chicken scuttle. There were also some serious samba hips going on. His playing was just... mind-boggling. The continuous flood of sound he can produce, that cloud of noise, is amazing. The solo in “Cygnus... Vismund Cygnus” (sadly, only about 30 minutes, down from 40) was the best non-Jack White solo I’ve ever heard. I could feel my jaw hanging open during it. Omar also played a little almost flamenco-style guitar in another song, and at the end of another song (for some reason, everything is running together), they finished up with some thundering riffs that sounded really familiar… maybe Zeppelin? During some of Omar’s longer solos, Cedric would catch Keeleritis by Proxy (the guitar strain) and would kind of mouth the sounds that Omar was making with his guitar. And, as usual, both of them would stray back to the drumkit and just watch Thomas “My Hero” Pridgen pound the bejeesus out of drums, with Cedric holding up his microphone as if to make the drums even louder.

My Hero is really falling into a rhythm (if you’ll pardon the atrocious pun) with the band. Originally, he seemed a little out of place (but still incredible) during the older Jon Theodore material, because his style is so different from Theodore’s, but he’s adjusted so there’s the familiar sound, plus the Pridgen arrhythmic, faster-than-fast fills. Ikey was totally into it last night too, in spite of the fact that he may or may not have been showered with beer.

Most of the crowd was fairly appreciative and enthusiastic, but some wastes of sperm decided it would be a fun idea to hurl their over-priced beers at the stage. Most of them just landed in the crowd, but one hit the stage and splashed Cedric and probably Ikey and Ikey’s keyboard as well. This is probably par for the course for Ikey, since I think he gets sprayed by Cedric’s tea and ‘Tussin spit fairly regularly, but as for Cedric, I wanted to warn the crowd to knock it off, lest he become enraged and maul us with his fearsome gonad. Instead of doing any gonad-mauling, he finished “Goliath” and then told the crowd to beat the shit out of whoever had thrown the beer and said that if that person wanted to meet him after the show, they could throw all the beer they wanted in his face and then he’d kick their ass. By which I’m sure he meant he’d have some burly roadies hold the guy in place while Cedric kicked him. He is a tiny little sprite, after all. On the other hand, maybe he’s a scratcher and uses his fingernail choir for things other than making chalkboards sing. Other than that, it was mostly just lame fanboys who kept yelling “MARS VOLTA!!!! YEEEEEAAAAAAHHHHH!” or “L’VIA! L’VIA! L’VIA!” There was one crazy chick who walked up in front of us, threw down her purse, and started uncontrollably spaz-dancing for half an hour straight. She was wearing a t-shirt over a tank-top, but eventually took both off and was writhing around in just her bra. Before some guy who I’m hoping was her boyfriend dragged her away, she was starting to pull her shorts down too.

Here’s the setlist in what I think is the right order:

Inertiatic ESP (with a partial “Son et Lumiere” opening)
Roulette Dares (The Haunt Of)
Viscera Eyes
Halo of Nembutals (could barely hear Omar’s backing vocals on this, but when I could, he sounded adorably boyish and slightly alien all at the same time)
Cygnus… Vismund Cygnus
Desperate Graves
Eunuch Provocateur
Drunkship of Lanterns
The Widow
Wax Simulacra

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شركات نقل اثاث بالرياض
افضل شركة نقل اثاث بالرياض
افضل شركة نقل عفش بالرياض
شركات نقل عفش
شركات نقل عفش بالرياض
نقل عفش داخل وخارج الرياض
نقل عفش خارج الرياض

At August 28, 2017 at 1:53 AM , Blogger ชื่อที่แสดง said...

شركة تنظيف بالجبيل
شركة شفط الصرف الصحى
شركة تنظيف بالاحساء
شركة مكافحة حشرات بالجبيل
شركة كشف تسربات المياه بالجبيل



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