Totally and utterly baffled.

When will you flirt with all that’s burning?

Posted in Plans. by loisemma on July 19, 08

This Thursday, R and I went to The Roundhouse in Camden to see The Mars Volta. I’m a HUGE fan of De-Loused in the Comatorium and haven’t heard alot of their other stuff, so I went with an open mind, hoping they’d play some stuff I knew.

We arrived 45 minutes early, expecting some kind of support act for us to “warm up” to. It seemed that The Mars Volta had chosen to eschew the traditional gig format – they’d come straight on, play for 2 hours straight, with no encore and hardly speaking to the audience. The venue played some interesting, to say the least, music to get the crowd going, but nothing really was working. They roared for Cedric and Omar to rattle their eardrums with thrashy, shiny guitar solos and ridiculously beautiful shimmering screamed vocals. Finally, a skinny, big haired silhouette enters the stage. The crowd are screaming and clapping and I see limbs flailing above heads. Cedric is here. And he followed by the rest of the band. As everyone picks up their instruments, I realise there are a lot of members in this band, which is why they sound so spectacular.

I stood in my place ready to sing my head off at a crowd-pleaser. Something familiar that the band would open for their fan based audience. Obviously, they burst out with fast drum beats, mind blowing guitar solos, thumpy bass lines and Cedric’s wickedly incredible voice. But the crowd look confused. What is this song? Still, the few bop their heads and lift their arms up. Either way, it provided an apt opening, enabling the crowd to get accustomed to the aural and visual onslaught that would follow it.

Every song flowed wonderfully into the next, parted by eerie bass and cymbals. I still hadn’t heard anything I knew but was beginning to enjoy myself more and more, tapping my feet and moving my body around, getting totally lost in the sound. It seemed that everyone around me was also. Watching Cedric move around on the stage was great too. He seemed to throughly enjoy what he was doing. A lot of the songs included royal-esque saxophone calls, played by a man who didn’t look right at the edge of the stage. It complemented the sounds of the band perfectly.

Finally, something I knew was played. “Drunkenship of Lanterns” really got everyone dancing along and screaming the lyrics. This would also be the finale. The band ended in true style. LOUD. I shut my eyes for the end of it, taking it all in. My feet ached, my back hurt but it didn’t matter. This was epic.

The set was heavy with tracks from their most recent album and not very many from the others. Although, I got the impression that a Mars Volta concert isn’t simply about the individual songs. It’s a far more isolated, singular experience than your average rock concert – each song bled into the next, the breaks constructed by bridging jams and solos. I was completely mesmerised by the intensity of the performance.

After a night of insane sound, I fancied something a bit chilled before bed. I put my ipod on shuffle and hoped for the best. As the melodies of Beirut filled my ears, I realised this was exactly what I was looking for and drifted soundly off to sleep.

This weekend shall be full of pleasures. Today, I’ll watch old videos in front of the telly before getting dolled up for a night out with my girls. Sushi in Soho and then a wander.. lovely. Tomorrow, D and I are going for lunch (our first proper meeting, I’m excited! He seems splendid) and then an afternoon on the Heath for E’s birthday. Keeping busy.

Lots of love, L. xxxx

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