The Mars Volta – Live – Review

The Mars Volta

Live (Universal)
by Tim Den

Uh… yup, it’s The Mars Volta live. If you’ve ever seen them in action, this is pretty much the exact same thing. Except Cedric actually sings a bit more on-key here than usual, what with all the James Brown leg-splits and Guy Picciotto backflips taking it outta him on most occasions. The biggest complaint I (and a lot of their fans) have about The Mars Volta is that, although their full-length is damn near impeccable, their live shows feel like an exercise is wankery. Sure, jam-out sessions and free-forming is good and all, but not when you turn one song into 22-minutes worth of feedback and random noises. Any child can do that. The reason De-loused in the Comatorium worked so well is that the insane progness was reigned in by careful manipulation and coordination, a balance of planning and free-forming. But live, The Mars Volta often goes off the deep end and completely loses the audience, dropping the ball in terms of energy and engagement by detouring into nonsense when they have no need to. The fact that the four songs here clock in at over 40 minutes should tell anyone that more isn’t always better. So dudes, keep on jammin’, just have a little self-control once in a while. Please?