The Mars Volta Rock Us on Their Own Terms

The Mars Volta's Cedric Bixler-Zavala at an earlier show. Photo: David Youdell / Headpress / Retna

Fans of the Mars Volta were treated to one of their epic two-plus-hour sets at Terminal 5 last night, beginning with "Roulette Dares" off their first album, De-Loused in the Comatorium, and ending with "Day of the Baphomets," from their most recent full-length, Amputechture. Songs from the forthcoming The Bedlam in Goliath (hey, keep up!), due later this month, were also played. A quarter past eight, dapper front man Cedric Bixler-Zavala jaunted onstage in deceivingly high spirits — his bangs nicely pressed, a coffee mug raised high. It was a quaint entrance, particularly for someone who would perform before a 40-foot banner featuring a large-bushed naked lady being eyed by a lizard.

To those who'd have preferred to hear more from the early albums, Cedric, charmingly, sent this message: "Take them home and fuck them, put them under your pillow, and maybe the tooth fairy will come and visit you and give you a prize." Maybe it was his we-do-this-for-us attitude, Terminal 5's ear-splitting acoustic problems, the bad sightlines, or the fact that our favorite coat was stolen from coat check, but this show made us crack. Why do we stay fans of a band that doesn't want us to "get" them and even derides us if we don't? Well, maybe because of Thomas Pridgen, Volta's new drummer, who should be checked for machine parts. He's awe-inspiring. —Elizabeth Cline