The biggest buzz band of the moment and FADER 17 cover models, The Mars Volta, stopped in Chicago last night to bring their debut album, De-Loused In The Comatorium, to life. As soon as the lights went down, the packed Metro crowd erupted in anticipation like they've been waiting all their lives to see these guys. When The Mars Volta kicked things off with the album's intro, "Son Et Lumiere," everyone knew "Intertiatic E.S.P." was soon to follow. The album's most accessible track, it was definitely a crowd (and personal) favorite. And we were only 15 minutes into the the show.
Since the disbanding of At The Drive In, Volta principals Cedric Bixler and Omar Rodriguez-Lopez have seemingly spent as much time on their on-stage rock moves as on the music. Bixler's rock star microphone maneuvers were executed to perfection. He worked the mic stand like it was a magic show - tossing it up in the air and holding it over his head (about 1,000 times). He'd then pull the mic from the stand and spin it around, then bounce it off his ass, catch it, and start his vocals at just the right moment. I think he may have even done a "walk the baby" (does anyone play with Yo-Yos anymore?).
Mic tricks weren't the only rock star moves Bixler and Rodriguez-Lopez have picked up either. They apparently enrolled in the James Brown/Prince school of physical expression and studied old Zeppelin concert footage before embarking on this tour. Inspired by the music they were creating, the pair danced with feverish feet - jumping, sliding, and shaking all over the stage (like that church scene in Blues Brothers).
The enthusiastic crowd were in awe of the band for the extent of the show and did their best to sing along when the opportunity arose. The Mars Volta ran through just about all of De-Loused In The Comatorium before calling it a night and being whisked away by a nice black Lincoln Town Car. These guys are rock stars. Go see them.
Photos by Amanda De Palma