Isn’t it refreshing when a band plays their best tracks, rather than cramming their new material down your throat? The Mars Volta gave the audience a master class in crowd pleasing at on a God forsaken winter evening in London.
Opening with the heart thumping “Son et Lumiere” and “Inertiatic Esp”, the band took in all four albums during their mammoth two hour set. As expected plenty of that was spent watching the band jam away as if no one was watching, but these breaks only served to make the climaxes more exciting. “Goliath”, from their formidable “Bedlam in Goliath” album, was jarring – forcing you to move and sway to the Hispanic grooves. Stood at the top of some stairs I was mesmerised by the sea of heads and hands below, moving like sound waves towards me.
The band still tore the stage up, echoing their more legendary sets as At the Drive In, but this was a band in complete control of their irrepressible talent. Cedric’s vocal range was unbelievable and Omar was like Hendrix incarnate, his fingers a blur as he jammed away.
The set highlight was “Cicatriz Esp”, where a break down took 10 minutes to reform into the song’s finale. When it did, however, I have never heard or felt an ovation like it. In an industry where intention spans are getting shorter than ever, The Mars Volta are a reminder of how much patience can pay off.