Last Night in Cleveland: The Mars Volta


Walking into the Mars Volta’s concert at House of Blues last night, one thing was certain: The band was going to kick your ass with one aural assault after another. Stick-thin singer/screecher Cedric Bixler-Zavala literally kicked off the show by getting down and jumping around as his bandmates churned out “Roulette Dares (The Haunt Of)” from the Mars Volta’s debut album, De-loused in the Comatorium. They then whipped into a triple-header from their latest CD, The Bedlam in Goliath: “Wax Simulacra,” “Goliath,” and “Ouroborous.” The crowd collectively banged its head in approval ... As each 15-minute epic careened into the next, there was little time for pointless stage banter -- although, at one point, Bixler-Zavala warned the packed audience (mostly made up of sweaty guys) “I guess my friends and I will just have to wake you wake up a little bit more.” So guitarist Omar Rodriguez-Lopez did his part to keep everyone alert by coaxing mucho feedback from his instrument during some of the longest songs you’ll hear this side of a Sting Cheese Incident concert. The drum and saxophone solos also hit hard – onstage and with the audience. Bixler-Zavala kept busy during these long stretches by jumping, twirling, and becoming one with the floor -- especially in “Cygnus,” the never-ending opus from Frances the Mute. The mosh pit down in front got off on Rodriguez-Lopez’s atmospheric guitar noodling, while the dudes in the back of the club banged their heads -- particularly during the rousing closer, “Drunkship of Lanterns.” The Mars Volta, for all their wankery, certainly know how to put on a show. They kept the crowd enthralled for more than two hours. As the set came to an end, Bixler-Zavala flashed the crowd Mr. Spock’s Vulcan salute. Nerds to the core. --Diane Sofranec


We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club for as little as $5 a month.