The Mars Volta

ACL Live Shots

ACL Live Shots
Photo by Gary Miller

The Mars Volta

Friday, Sept. 26, Zilker Park

Ninety minutes and seven songs: That just about sums up the new Mars Volta, same as the old Mars Volta. When doomsday music led the band onstage for its Friday night headlining spot, core members and At the Drive-In expats Omar Rodriguez-López and Cedric Bixler-Zavala entered on a cloud of self-dedicated hero worship. With his pants ever tighter and hair down to here, Bixler-Zavala emulated Robert Plant more than he would probably admit to, wailing bansheelike over Rodriguez-López's mind-numbing guitar solos. As those solos continued, songs lengthened. Sticking primarily to this year's The Bedlam in Goliath, the El Paso natives slurred through "Goliath," "Viscera Eyes," and "Wax Simulacra" before the curious began filing either out or across the park to visit Manu Chao. It was a hot mess, mixing Zeppelin with Spinal Tap's "Jazz Odyssey." The Mars Volta has become an insanely loud (not bad), wanky (really bad), jam band (detestable) without the patchouli oil, its sound imitating a cat expelling a hair ball on a helicopter going south. Time to stop proving technicality and find the center once again.

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