At the Drive-In, Zechs Marquise - Trees - 4/10/12

Categories: Last Night

At the Drive In-5blog.jpg
Mike Brooks
More photos in our slideshow here.
At the Drive-In, Zechs Marquise
Trees
Tuesday, April 10

The last time At the Drive-In graced the stage at Trees, they looked like a band falling apart. Vocalist Cedric Bixler and guitarist Omar Rodriguez stayed on stage right, bouncing off each other while guitarist/vocalist Jim Ward, bassist Paul Hinojos and drummer Tony Hajjar kept things tight on stage left. The songs sounded sloppy; the chaotic side of the band overpowered the melodic side.

In other words, it was more Angel Hair and far less Billy Joel, if you want to talk about the band's wide range of influences. Luckily, last night's sold-out show was a very even affair. Which, by ATDI's standards, was a perfect balance of extremes.

Kicking off a couple of minutes after 10 p.m., the legendary El Paso quintet unleashed ripper after ripper, starting with "Arcarsenal." At various points, all of the members smiled and acted happy to be together again. Bixler twitched to the beat as he sang, and often used his microphone like a yo-yo. Rodriguez, usually a firecracker onstage, was reserved and restrained yet didn't miss a single note. And Ward, Hinojos and Hajjar held the fort down incredibly well.

At the Drive In-11blog.jpg
Mike Brooks
As far as song choices, the audience didn't mind if it was a rager or a slowdance. If you were on the floor during the 75-minute set, you walked away with a few bruises, as pushing and crowdsurfing were almost nonstop.

Not surprisingly, the band focused exclusively on material from In/Casino/Out and Relationship of Command, as well as the Vaya EP. Bixler and Ward sounded as good as they did when they toured on those releases in the late '90s. If there was one drawback to the vocals, it was Bixler's decision to sing "Chanbara" more like a child from El Chavo Del Ocho. Kinda distracting, frankly.

Microphone problems were a persistent issue: Both Bixler and Ward's went out at various points in the set. Choosing to move forward with "One Armed Scissor" without Ward yelling, "Cut away," the audience gladly took over that part.

For a reunion show, this certainly showed why the band is beloved. There was nothing phony about the emotional catharsis they brought, even back when five people watched them play a house show in the mid-'90s. Now back after 12 years, the band didn't look or play like they were worn out or out of touch. They gave something that a long-timer and newcomer could appreciate.

Fellow El Paso act Zechs Marquise started the show at 9 p.m. The instrumental five-piece definitely sounds like sonic offspring of The Mars Volta, but their Latin-funk-fusion hybrid kept the crowd's attention for 40 minutes.

Personal bias: I had the pleasure of seeing ATDI in 1999 and 2000, have written about and researched the band extensively in the past, and am a fan of Sparta's work and the first Mars Volta record. However, I was extremely skeptical about ATDI reuniting. Rodriguez might not have been like Roger Waters in terms of talking about estranged bandmates, but years upon years of shit-talking made a reunion sound nearly impossible. So everything's magically cool now?

Set list:
"Arcarsenal"
"Pattern Against User"
"Chanbara"
"Lopsided"
"Sleepwalk Capsules"
"Napoleon Solo"
"Quarantined"
"Rascuache"
"198d"
"Enfilade"
"Metronome Arthritis"
"Pickpocket"
"Non-Zero Possibility"
"One Armed Scissor"
"Catacombs"



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19 comments
OldManJam
OldManJam

1) Re: Omar - he buried his mother two weeks ago. According to some insiders, this was still weighing heavy on his mind as they were very, very close.

2) The show sold out in three (3) minutes - the previous posters here (save for that Malloy nut) were correct - there was a media blackout until the day tickets went on sale per the band.

3) Not being a huge ATDI fan before the show (only because I wasn't familiar with their music), I am now. A really nice group of guys and Cedric Bixler Zavala is 180 degrees different in person than his stage persona. One of the nicest guys you'll ever meet. Took time to sign autographs and talk to fans after the show. He relayed to me a story about when he was a young rock and roller in El Paso and he approached a band member in one of the biggest bands in the country at the time (rhymes with Jack Hoes) and the guy stared at him and turned tail without a word. Cedric told me he didn't ever want to have a fan of his feel like he did then. And I believe him.

Two thumbs way up. They will kill at Coachella.

Christopher Brown
Christopher Brown

I had the divine pleasure of being one of the lucky few in attendance of the show. Though I was only 9 years old when they broke up and was still in my nickleback and creed stage of music, seeing them was a great experience for me. I could see Omar's discomfort written all over him. I don't understand why they are touring right now when the Volta just came out with an album. I figured they would have at least waited until summer to play ATDI shows.

Row Bear
Row Bear

Poor Mr. Smith. Whats even more interesting is that I heard Trees let some people buy tickets at the door, even after ATDI had said via their twitter page that the show was sold out. This show just wasnt in the cards for Mr. Smith (womp womp wooooooooomp).

This is an excellent review, and I agree with your personal bias. To expand, I feel like Omar got dressed up for a Mars Volta gig, walked on on-stage and went "oh... this is At The Drive-In tonight? Grrreeatt...." Really looked like he didnt want to be there and is clearly doing this for some sort of posterity or financial gain.  

rtlm
rtlm

Wow, did not expect to see an Angel Hair reference. 

ml
ml

It was announced Monday, went on sale 30 minutes later, and sold out in 5 minutes. I don't think ATDI needs marketing.

Jared Smith
Jared Smith

Why was there absolutely ZEROOOOOO marketing for this show? like it's some clandestine fucking cult show. I was on your website days prior. NO MENTION WHATSOEVER. I mean what in the fuck.

Shane Smith
Shane Smith

 I'm attempting to decode what that band is, but I'm running out of options. I know it can't be Nirvana or U2 or any of those large names from that era.

Could you at least tell me a song that this band did?

DK
DK

Omar's mother died very recently. Pretty sure that could have had something to do with his restrained performance.

ml
ml

Yeah, Omar was a disappointment. Not sure why he doesn't just bow out so they can replace him with a guitar player who gives a shit.

Bagood
Bagood

The bad actually tweeted they were releasing tickets for walk up, wasn't Tree's decision.

EricGrubbs
EricGrubbs

 The band's early influences are very interesting. Those bands on Gravity Records (Antioch Arrow, Heroin, and Angel Hair) had a major impact on them, especially Cedric. And if you ever get the chance to talk to Jim, ask him about Billy Joel. He'll tell you plenty.

Gavin Mulloy
Gavin Mulloy

The band put out a press release 5 days ago to all media with specific instructions to not let Jared Smith know.  It was in all caps.  It was also written in chupacabra blood.  So it was serious.

Evan
Evan

 LOL at this guy

on the off-chance that you're serious, the show was announced Monday at noon and sold out in 5 minutes.

Mike
Mike

that was on instructions from the band....show sold out in 5 minutes, so they didn't really need much marketing...

OldManJam
OldManJam

I am not sure what the "Remedy" might be but you could ask C.J. Wilson's girlfriend because "She Talks to Angels" 

Champiness
Champiness

His mother just died and he was still able to go out there and put on a flawless (albeit rather unexuberant) performance. Cut him some slack.

OldManJam
OldManJam

Welcome to the good times! I'm jealous again, Shane. Your response was a thorn in my pride as only a fool would find it now twice as hard to sting me.

Shane Smith
Shane Smith

 see, that's why that band is so forgettable

they haven't sung to my soul that effectively. I think it might be a conspiracy as to why I can't remember that band as much as I used to. So hard to handle...

god, what I just typed was so unfunny...

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