Saturday, June 04, 2005

The Mars Volta

The Mars Volta - Greek Theatre, Berkeley, CA - June 3, 2005

I haven't been to The Greek in at least 9 years.. Many an evening I spent there in the 80's (Ian McCullough of Echo & the Bunnymen falling off the stage drunk in 1987 was a highlight). I used to spend alot of time in Berkeley before the Internet. Good times.

Evidently, in recent years local noise complaints have restricted the volume for concerts at The Greek. Which makes for, excuse my "French", a BULLSHIT Lock 'N Loll experience. At first I didn't know if it was my old man ears playing tricks on me... Then I noticed there were only 18 PA cabinets.. which seemed less than 1/2 of what should be powering a proper Rock Show in a place that size.

I consulted The Sheriff, who offered his insight:

"The volume there sucks. One of the most pointed examples of this was the White Stripes when they played there. So, there is a restriction on decibels from the PA cabinets -- but Jack was having none of it, or didn't care, or didn't realize, but his amps were WAY louder than the PA...and this was NOT from up close where you would / could get that effect.. this was from halfway up the steps in the pit area. It's those fucking Berkeleyans."

What's happened to Berkeley? Fight the Power... People's Park.. Freedom of Speech.. Patchouli.. Jerry Garcia died for somebody's sins but not mine. You can have my Land Rover when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers. If it's too loud you're too old.

Anyway, tickets for this sold out show were selling for OVER $250 EACH on Ebay (DOH!). I couldn't get my head around the fact that the Mars Volta sold out the 9,000 seat Greek.. P'raps drunk college kids have better taste in music these days then I give them credit for... although a large number of the drunk college kids didn't seem to know most of the band's songs.. Mass Media's latest offspring I guess. MTV tell me to like this video... Me don't know why.. MTV tell me go show... Me go show.. What me buy now?

Halfway through their set I realized that much of what I like about Mars Volta can be traced back to bands I don't like (Rush, 70's Prog Rock, etc..)... I feel confused. However, Cedric can channel Robert Plant ala "Immigrant Song" in a most chilling way.. and there can be more than a hint of Zeppelin circa Physical Graffiti in Omar's guitar wizardry. Plus, the band's diversity is a total mindfuck. Me wrickey.

Some drunk college kid in the Men's Room at the Jupiter brew pub before the show: "Who the hell are Mars Volta?"

If you had bought one of every MV merch item you would have spent around $225 I think. On the way back to the car some pimply-faced teenagers called us fags. I sorta feel sorry for the chumps who paid $250 for tickets and couldn't hear the show.. Hopefully they were fucked up enough so they didn't notice.

If a hippie falls in a forest with no one to hear it, does it make a sound?