The news of At The Drive-In’s comeback earlier this year was, for want of a better word, unexpected. Since their hiatus, lead singer Cedric Bixler-Zavala and guitarist Omar Rodriguez-Lopez have accumulated a huge cult following with The Mars Volta. Furthermore, guitarist and backing-vocalist Jim Ward has also had relative success with his post-hardcore band Sparta. So it’s not as if they necessarily needed the money. We’re quite happy to believe that it was largely to play the music again, which is fine by us.
Immediately grabbing the attention of the crowd, they kick off with a rapid succession of up-beat, infectiously danceable numbers from their stand-out album ‘Relationship of Command’. Barely two minutes had passed before Bixler-Zavala was on the floor in front of the stage, dancing uncontrollably, lost in the music.
The Texas band addressed the crowd in both Spanish and English, of which they are fluent in both. By “addressed”, I mean saying things such as ‘Hi Dave, your mum’s here to pick you up – she’s waiting in the car.’ But it’s the quirky eccentricities such as these that make them so captivating; Bixler-Zavala has been known on at least one occasion to bleat at the audience telling them off for being sheep and watching too much TV.
Highlights included ‘Napoleon Solo’ which was delivered at the peak of intensity, ‘Chanbara’ and ‘Enfilade’ – a couple for jumping around to – and the closing number ‘One Armed Scissor’. As is standard, this drove the crowd totally wild. The band have previously said that they don’t plan on recording any new material, however a reworking of one of the lesser known tracks on ‘Relationship of Command’ went down well with the fans.
At The Drive-In was an absolute pleasure to watch. Here’s hoping for a UK tour, but if not, you can catch them headlining the NME tent and Reading and Leeds. Expect nothing less than full-on energy and an unforgettable experience.