TheMarsVolta I’ll start this off by saying Ventura Theatre needs to step its game up to handle The Mars Volta, and begin my rant.

It’s the day after seeing Metric live at the Wiltern, and I’m standing in line with my brother Josh, Alisa M., and Jessica B at the “Majestic” Ventura Theatre. Let me be clear: the only thing majestic about this place is how they magically keep their customers happy with the longest wait time I’ve ever seen at a show. What’s more, is that the sound quality was quite poor, with more bleeding than those two thugs at the end of Taking Pelham 123 (while not being as badass mind you).You couldn’t even hear Marcel’s percussion or Ikey on the keys throughout the entire set.

And that’s without going into detail about the band going on two hours late, to then play a set that was short (2ish hours from a normally 3 ½ hour set). Cedric ended the last song and gave his awkward Vulcanish wave to the crowd, followed by Omar walking off the stage and shrugging to those in the front row. I felt as if he said “Yeah I dunno either, it’s not our fault” to the crowd below, muddled in the similar confusion of the sound quality. Even they knew it was bullshit.

/rant.

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The show opened up the same way as when I saw them at UC Irvine when The Bedlam in Goliath came out; with Roulette Dares (The Haunt Of). Luckily, this made all my previous woes about the long wait time disappear almost instantly. I screamed every word along with my brother, while the girls acted like they didn’t know the words, but I saw them grooving along with us.

One thing that I love about Cedric, are his random announcements throughout the show. For instance:

“Just to let you guys know, we are playing new stuff tonight as well, so if you can’t handle it, go home and listen to the records”

He later went on to dedicate one of my favorite Volta songs, Ilyena (from The Bedlam in Goliath) to people in the audience who were hard working people, and not “shit talkers who can’t create anything interesting but bullshit, and always talk shit about people who are actually doing something with their lives”.  Whoever he was talking about, their asses got exclusively served that eve.

The new CD album art

I was sad at two things though: Adrian the sax player and Paul the guitar player not being in attendance, coupled with the fact that Cedric was sick/had some sort of sore throat. After every song, he drank a flaming hot cup of tea I believe it was. He even jokingly burned his mouth between songs, to the delight of all with a hearty laugh.

Thomas Pridgen killed it on the drums again as usual, and earned his right to pulled out a joint and take a hit, before passing it off to Marcel before continuing the set. And the Ventura Theatre had no excuses for their poor performance, because despite Cedric being sick, he still sang every note, and had an exuberant amount of stage performance.

Here’s the set list from the evening proper:

Roulette Dares (The Haunt Of)

Drunkship of Lanterns

Teflon

Wax Simulacra

Viscera Eyes (I sang the intro guitar out loud hah! And damn that bass line is smooth…)

Halo Of Nembutals

Ilyena (best song of the night for sure)

Desperate Graves

Cotopaxi

Goliath

Luciforms

The Widow

Cygnus… Vismund Cygnus

This review may seem negative on the band, but let me be clear: This band played its heart out, even if the sound quality wasn’t the greatest (or even good). I felt their pain onstage, and knew that they are still the best band I’ve ever seen in concert. This won’t stop me from seeing them again, and I will be among the first to buy tickets next time they are around.

On a final note, June 23rd, grab their new album that I listened to, entitled Octahedron. It’s an “acoustic” album, but don’t be fooled, it’s powerful as all hell. I encourage you to cop that soon, and see them whenever you can live (but not at the Ventura Theatre), because they tear shit up anywhere they go. Oh and sorry for the lack of pictures…straight up camera hounds there.

Until next time my friends,

~Flak

P.S.- Big up to Jessica B., Alisa M. and my brother Josh for singing along with me all night.