Punknews.org

The Mars Volta

The Mars Volta: live in Nottinghamlive in Nottingham (2003)
Universal Music Group

Reviewer Rating: 3.5


Contributed by: ThreeChordsAndTheTruthThreeChordsAndTheTruth
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Taking to a stage adorned with Mexican flags and a huge backdrop of album artwork depicting rats with glowing eyes, The Mars Volta take to the stage. Guitarist Omar Rodriguez-Lopez plugs in and begins a frenetic solo, accompanied by Jon Theodore on drums and Juan Alderete on bass. Cedric Zavala (.


Taking to a stage adorned with Mexican flags and a huge backdrop of album artwork depicting rats with glowing eyes, The Mars Volta take to the stage.

Guitarist Omar Rodriguez-Lopez plugs in and begins a frenetic solo, accompanied by Jon Theodore on drums and Juan Alderete on bass. Cedric Zavala (formerly Bixler) stands stage right, performing a strange sidestep shuffle as the band warm up.

Abruptly, Omar begins the intro to 'Roulette Dares (This is the Haunt Of)' and the crowd cheer wildly. Anyone who has ever been familiar with At The Drive-In (Omar and Cedric's previous band) will be used to Cedric and Omar's frantic, insane stage movements, and as the song kicks off, Cedric throws himself to the floor, his body writhing like a snake. A split second later he is throwing his mic stand to the rafters, catching it effortlessly and whirling it around, flicking the mic into his waiting hand. Omar throws and contorts his body in a way that makes the watcher think "how can he be doing that?". He spins, drops, shakes, and flings his guitar around his body and the stage, while still managing to play the song note-perfect. As a sharp contrast, bassist Juan does not move from his spot next the drumkit for the entire show.

The Mars Volta are famed for their live shows, and are known to extend their already epic songs into 20 minute plus jams. After such a sharp snappy intro tonight, they seem to lose the crowd with the next song, 'Eriatarka'. A guitar solo (lit up by a mis-guided follow spot clearly being operated by a seven year old) introduces the song, and this particular tune lasts around thirty minutes. While The Mars Volta's musicianship cannot be questioned (all members are exceptional in their own particular field), this type of playing fails to keep the crowds attention. From my high up vantage point, I can see that the crowd below me don't tend to get into the songs until they reach a point that is actually on the record 'De-Loused In The Comatorium'. During the improvised sections, the crowd seem to lose interest and even talk amongst themselves. As much as I love this record and band, I found myself getting a little bored of watching Omar fiddling with his guitar (and arsenal of effects that make the guitar sound as far from a guitar as possible), and Cedric singing occasional 'ohhhhhhh-ohhhhh's.

One thing the band should be complimented on is their ability to take their already amazing record, and manage to pull it off live. A dedicated team of stage crew is on hand to supervise constantly changing guitar and vocal effects, and the record's sound and atmosphere is faithfully reproduced tonight.

We are also treated to several minutes of bass soloing on behalf of Juan, during which he showed off his wide variety of effects.

At one point in the show, Cedric stands upon the crowd, singing. As soon as he did so, around 15 cellphones lit up in the crowd below me, all trying to photograph this moment. At several points in the show, he scaled the speaker stacks, but then half-heartedly climbed down again, destroying everyone's expectations of a mid-song leap. During the part in 'Cicatriz ESP' where the helicopter-like sound effect makes it's appearance, Cedric let out a huge scream, boosted by effects, that shook the entire room, a cool moment.

'Televators' was a great song, played for the majority by Isaac (keyboards) and some eventual drum and bass accompaniment. I even heard some singing along to this track, which made me wonder where everyone else was getting the lyrics from (they don't come packaged with the CD).

Overall, the band proved that they can replicate their recorded sound beyond expectations live, but they often slip up when choosing to extend the songs live. People in the crowd often seemed unsure what was going on for the majority of songs, and only seemed to get into songs when a 'safe ground' such as a chorus or other familiar moment was reached.


Setlist: (in no real order)
Cicatriz ESP
Drunkship of Lanterns
Eriatarka
Roulette Dares (This Is The Haunt Of)
Take The Veil, Cerpin Taxt
Televators

 

 
People who liked this also liked:
Ted Leo and the Pharmacists - Hearts Of OakSufjan Stevens - IllinoisSaves the Day - Through Being CoolStrike Anywhere - Change Is A SoundThe Mars Volta - De-Loused In The ComatoriumAFI - Black Sails In The SunsetAFI - The Art Of DrowningAFI - All Hallows EPThe Lawrence Arms - The Greatest Story Ever ToldFugazi - The Argument

Please login or register to post comments.What are the benefits of having a Punknews.org account?
  • Share your opinion by posting comments on the stories that interest you
  • Rate music and bands and help shape the weekly top ten
  • Let Punknews.org use your ratings to help you find bands and albums you might like
  • Customize features on the site to get the news the way you want.
Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Anonymous (November 14, 2005)

Their live show is great if you like prog rock or any jam bands. They're not a punk band so you shouldn't expect their live show to be simplistic (play the songs exactly like the album) for the little kiddies to understand. TMV doesn't play for the little kiddies, they play real music, real improv.

Anonymous (November 14, 2005)

No, they're a form of progressive rock with punk and latin influences.

Anonymous (December 19, 2004)

is tmv emo?

Anonymous (August 12, 2004)

im from Malaysia..and thats in Asia..For me...The Mars Volta is best fukin band ever!!

Anonymous (July 1, 2004)

there are musicians and there are listeners most people think they are crazy...i love them the mars volta is something you punks will never understand and will allways think as not good because they don't yell there ass off about bush or some shit!so learn that they are differnt and better than punk songs that allways play 3 cords and boom ta boom ta drum beats!!!!jon theodore is a awesome drummer better than jose of a perfect circle (he broke the guys leg on tour )HAHAHAHA!!!!!

Anonymous (June 19, 2004)

I was supposed to see TMV live in New Orleans when they were opening up for A Perfect Circle, and that's the only reason I bought tickets. Then, either it was just a big rumor that they were opening up, or they cancelled because they weren't there. I was pissed off because I had looked forward to it so much. The Mars Volta is an amazing band, and I hope to one day see them live. I think they are the deepest band I've ever heard in my life. If anyone is from NO, and knows if they are coming, please let me know. Thanks, Kae

Greenvandal (December 4, 2003)

I am here to make this official...

At The Drive-In
Sparta
and finally...
The Mars Volta

ALL BLOW DICK. I will never understand why you like these shitty bands so much. I bought the Sparta CD today hopin it would be the first in the bunch to really impress me and it was even worse then ATDI. FUCK FUCK FUCK.

these pretentious dicks need to give up, or go back to the drawing board until they come up with somehting o actually be pretentious about.

Anonymous (December 4, 2003)

Yeah, slight problem being I said I liked TMV's album a lot.

It's just that they are shit live. I never said I wanted fireworks, The Melvins or that I was a "25 year old punker".

Anonymous (December 2, 2003)

Punk is dead its dead i tell ya dead!! and will always be dead ,get used to it. Ahahahahahahahah!

Anonymous (December 1, 2003)

HEY you shut the fuck up ass goblin. Your fireworks at a punk show.
And your powerless than assless chaps.By the way it would be realy sad if you guys are like 25 year old punkers.And if not you youngsters need to learn a thing or two about good music. PUNK IS DEAD ASS WAD!

Anonymous (December 1, 2003)

tmv isn't the greatest band ever but I give them credit for suceeding the image and sound of at the drive in. Oh and tmv isn't punk rock

Anonymous (December 1, 2003)

yeah, all the people that go to punk shows want fireworks. shut the fuck up.

funkisdead (December 1, 2003)

"And as far as assless chaps I guess youd otta know about gaylord shit like that. I guess they werent as powerful ass chaps especially if you like fuckin melvins in your crouch dumb ass."

bwahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahah. what the fuck?

Anonymous (December 1, 2003)

All you bastards who say that TMV sucks live, I think you kind of people need to be looking at bright exploding lights and smoke and fireworks. TMV is not gonna do stupid shit like that for simple minded people. You were supposed to indulge in the music and feel it.I saw them live and I thought they were powereful. I could their passion for their music. And as far as assless chaps I guess youd otta know about gaylord shit like that. I guess they werent as powerful ass chaps especially if you like fuckin melvins in your crouch dumb ass.No one could ever tell me any different MARS VOLTA is awesome. SO FUCK ALL YOU ANTI TMV!!!!

Anonymous (December 1, 2003)

I have had the privilage to see Mars Volta live in Houston ,TX.It took like an hour or so for TMV to come out. Saul Williams was also there. He was interesting at first and then got old and preachy real quick. In fact alot of people were booing him and even threw stuff at him. Cedric came out on stage and got pissed. he said "who was throwin shit at Saul Williams! Its not everyday that you get a beautiful man like that to school you.Fuck if you dont like it leave shit! If you wanna throw somethin throw money." And some people did throw him money.Damn Houstonians are stupid. Were not very appreciative of things. I live to be inspired by TMV. I am more than a fan I truely respect them.

Anonymous (December 1, 2003)

"The Prince of Nottingham was Robin Hood's enemy you tool"

no, you tool. you mean the sheriff of nottingham.. didn't disney teach you anything?

"It might be just me, but did you ever think they might have listened to the record and learnt the lyrics? 'Cause..y'know, that happens occasionally."

haha, yeah, but the band don't use 'normal' lyrics that are easy to make out and i'd rather not sing along at all than be the guy who sings what he thinks are the words and gets them wrong.

Greenvandal (December 1, 2003)

Lyrics are not aesthetics. They are a quarter of the fucking song. Your a real idiot if you say lyrics dont matter, thats like saying the music doesnt matter.

Anonymous (December 1, 2003)

let's face it, they suck.

Anonymous (December 1, 2003)

Going back a little to the beginning here, but exactly what everyone else says.

I love the album, and all the songs on it, but when i saw them at Leeds festival i was totally lost in the improvisation, and found myself chatting.

Fair enough not many live acts so this, and they pull it of well. But leave it for the practise sessions, not for the crowds.

Anonymous (December 1, 2003)

if you don't think lyrics are important to a songs quality maybe you should get off a "punk" site. eh?

there is more to music than aesthetics.

Anonymous (November 30, 2003)

why is it cool to hate or like a band, your a fuckin dumbass

Anonymous (November 30, 2003)

it was so cool to like this band for a while, and now it's so cool to hate this band. people oughta make up their minds.

TMV probably got sick of playing the album in succession after a while which is why they just solo now...keeps it fresh for them. not saying i agree with that reasoning, just saying it is probably their reason.

as for you idiots who bitch about how you can't like this band because you don't understand the lyrics, dear fucking god if lyrics are all that matter to you in music then you have problems. the music and vocals (not lyrics, but vocals...as in quality of the voice and melody) are so much more infinitely important than the lyrics. besides, i personally like TMV's lyrics...i'm just saying that if you don't, that shouldn't be a reason to hate the band.

Greenvandal (November 30, 2003)

Haha. Tool. I got one of those. I fix family problems with it.

Anonymous (November 29, 2003)

"...I even heard some singing along to this track, which made me wonder where everyone else was getting the lyrics from (they don't come packaged with the CD)."

It might be just me, but did you ever think they might have listened to the record and learnt the lyrics? 'Cause..y'know, that happens occasionally.

Anonymous (November 29, 2003)

"buttless chaps are way more powerful than the mars volta."

As much as I love The Mars Volta's album, this is undoubtedly true. And yes, they are REALLY bad live, everyone already knew this...

This score is for the quote.

Anonymous (November 29, 2003)

The Prince of Nottingham was Robin Hood's enemy you tool

Anonymous (November 29, 2003)

sickboi: okay. but robin hood wasn't a prince. hence my confusion.

at_the_drive_in_21 (November 28, 2003)

I agree with the guy who went to the Toronto show - it seems like this was the only time the band actually played the album straight through with less than 5 minutes of improvisation per song. I thought that show was awesome. Too bad for everyone else.

Anonymous (November 28, 2003)

I totally agree with this review. They are an amazing band, but some of the jamming is too boring. I saw them on the first Euro tour and they completely blew me away, I saw 'em again in september and even though they're even better musicians now, the shows wasn't as good as it could have been because of the endless added stuff.

funkisdead (November 28, 2003)

or BUTTLESS CHAPS, rather.

buttless chaps are way more powerful than the mars volta.

funkisdead (November 28, 2003)

guys, he said BUTLESS CHAPS.

Anonymous (November 28, 2003)

As long as they're playing their shows like this...i won't go. They put the crowd to fuckin sleep. The album is ok, but their live performance is just pretentious and boring. Fuck it.

greenandtangerine (November 28, 2003)

really surprised people don't like this band...this album will make a lot of top 10 lists for 2003. guaranteed.

Anonymous (November 27, 2003)

criticism has it's part in life too ya know. oooh you're criticising a band, that means you have no life!!!!!

Anonymous (November 27, 2003)

redrum redrum redrum redrum redrum redrum redrum redrum redrum redrum redrum redrum redrum redrum redrum

Anonymous (November 27, 2003)

Anonymous (November 27, 2003)

Like Cedrics's lyrics are changing the world fucknuts, it's more like psychobabble...

Anonymous (November 26, 2003)

people who can't understand what cedric sings about need to start reading between the lines, cause there are actually meanings to his songs, if you don't understand them than that's your problem, not the bands....

and to those who don't like them,i don't care, but who do you guys like???

and if you think this is emo than you're just plain dumb.

finaly, why do you people waste your time critizing bands you don't like, don't you have anything better to do??

Anonymous (November 26, 2003)

and that's bloke to you missy

Anonymous (November 26, 2003)

elingingstapinr
redrum

Anonymous (November 26, 2003)

He was referring to Robin Hood, you fucking bloak.

-sickboi

threechordsandthetruth (November 26, 2003)

Scott, 7 is about right, sorry for fucking up.

"1. Was the royal family in attendance? The Prince of Nottingham palace is a bad man, and could easily ruin the show"

uhh.. there is not prince of nottingham, or a palace. There's Nottingham Castle? No prince, though..

"When I listen to thsi band, I feel like Omar and Cedric are taking turns masturbating into my mouth."

Haha, I guess that's a fair point, but I still like to listen to it. Once you get past the fact that live, this band is really the Cedric and Omar show, you can appreciate it.

YourBloodyValentine (November 26, 2003)

Does anybody order from Insound?

If you do, I have a Mars Volta trading card that I don't want.

Looking to trade it for another card of some band I actually like.

--John

Anonymous (November 26, 2003)

When I listen to thsi band, I feel like Omar and Cedric are taking turns masturbating into my mouth.

I don't like that feeling at all.

Anonymous (November 25, 2003)

Maybe it's just afro-mighty.

Anonymous (November 25, 2003)

Or just egotistical?

Anonymous (November 25, 2003)

Is it pretentious to call someone pretentious?

MrOhio (November 25, 2003)

They're like so....self-centered, sucky, bad, overrated, egotistical, afro-mighty, hair-sprayed, drug-trippin...hopefully they can take the next leap on the next record and...um....and die.

Edgie (November 25, 2003)

Mommmmy! He said I liked Rancid!!

*Bitter emo sobs*

Anonymous (November 25, 2003)

i saw them in toronto and they are by far the best live act i have ever seen ...fuck all of u who say they suck u probably like rancid u dumb fucks get some musical taste and have some respect for you ears and not make them listen to rancid pennywise or any other bull shit "punk rock"

Anonymous (November 25, 2003)

Mars Volta live is like staying home alone getting raped by Yes.

-BSD

Anonymous (November 25, 2003)

Mars Volta live???

I'd rather stay home and jerk off to a Yes Record!

funkisdead (November 25, 2003)

dear superdude,
as soon as i saw "mars volta" over to the left, i was convinced that you'd be in trouble... what would you say this time? to say the least, i was nervous.

"3. Was anyone wearing leather, or buttless chaps?"

that comment alone proved me wrong for ever having doubted you.

good luck, good sir.
edward.

mikeinflames (November 25, 2003)

I saw these guys open for the Chilli Peppers a couple months back and they are suck pre-madonna's
They suck ... ass!
And didn't thier keyboardist OD and die a couple months ago?
Now there's a champ if there ever was one
Must explain why the rest of the guys in this band are champs
Mars Volta suck ... as do Sparta ... as did At The Drive In

Anonymous (November 25, 2003)

PS Fuck this little piece of shit band

Anonymous (November 25, 2003)

Masters of the Universe kicked ass, but that new GI Joe cartoon on Cartoon Network (the one that looked like a really bad Pixar ripoff) was sooo good, and its free on DVD when you purchase the boxed gift set those barbie-doll sized Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow.

-sickboi

Anonymous (November 25, 2003)

I think Cartoon Network brought back the Masters of the Universe... This score is for Skeletor. I probably mispellt it because I lost the action figure.

-BSD

Icapped2pac (November 25, 2003)

"wow, you little emo fruits are still dry humping the living shit out of this overrated band, huh?"

Dude, unfortunately it's not just the emo fruits that are jocking these talent-wasting prog rock pretentious fucks, it's damn near every indie hipster and Pink Floyd shill out there. And when it comes to guitar solos, I'll take CC Deville and his big poof over Omar's canoodling. Solos should be left back in the late 80s where they belong, just like fucking jean jackets. What horrible 80s trend is gonna come back next, parachute pants?

ALineInYourBook (November 25, 2003)

"wow, you little emo fruits are still dry humping the living shit out of this overrated band, huh?"

I have to agree, even though I wouldn't exactly put it in those words...
At the Drive-In's demise was sad, and even then I loved the music but HATED Cedric. I can't get into music that no one can find meaning in except the one who wrote it. Sparta is definitely the better of the leftovers.
I have to give these guys props for playing THEIR music THEIR way and not doing things differently just for the masses... but there is a point where it becomes ridiculous.

Anonymous (November 25, 2003)

superdude-
stop writing weird shit
your comments remind me of the god awful amanda show

superdude (November 25, 2003)

This review was good, but here's how I would make it better:

1. Was the royal family in attendance? The Prince of Nottingham palace is a bad man, and could easily ruin the show

2. I've toatlly been to Mars, and there is no Voltas there.

3. Was anyone wearing leather, or buttless chaps?

4. That would be the bomb!

5. Maybe the Voltas were stolen from Mars.

6. Wait a minute....

Anonymous (November 25, 2003)

Flemmy, shitty, nasty band. Time to shave the fros, bros.

Anonymous (November 25, 2003)

wow, you little emo fruits are still dry humping the living shit out of this overrated band, huh?

Anonymous (November 25, 2003)

jamming is cool

Anonymous (November 25, 2003)

this band is mucho gayo.

Anonymous (November 25, 2003)

mars volta deserves a 10!

man was i lucky when i saw them in seattle. they played the entire album straight through with barely any silence... i haven't heard of them doing that any other time.

maverick (November 25, 2003)

To the writer of this review:

Since you submitted it in the news queue and not the reviews queue, I have no way of knowing what score you wanted to give it, so I gave it a 7 judged on what you wrote. Let me know and I can change it accordingly.

-Scott

Exclusive Streams

Newest Reviews

Punknews.org Team

Other Places to Go