Saturday, 2 April 2016
I have mixed feelings abound band reunions because you never know what the actual reason is that brought them back together. Years have passed, time has changed and sometimes that does bad things to a band. Especially for intense bands like At The Drive-In that could lose that youthful energy which then leaves nothing but a pale copy of what they once were. Guitar player Jim Ward, one of the founding members, quit the band only days before the start of this tour, which could be a bad sign. But this is At The Drive-In, a band I never saw play live and so I was not going to skip this opportunity.
At The Drive-In at Melkweg Amsterdam, March 31 2016
Mexican band Le Butcherettes are the ones to warm us up, something they did for The Mars Volta and Antemasque in the past. Omar Rodriguez-Lopez used to be part of the band and is still producing their records, so he likes to take them on tour. They actually do a good job, especially when Teri Gender Bender picks up the guitar and looks like PJ Harvey on acid.
It's clear At The Drive-In's fans have aged together with the band who are greeted with a loud roar when they take the stage. Right away it´s clear I was worried for nothing, since the band is bursting with energy and looks sharp and focused. The songs sound intense and fierce, exactly like they should. Jim Ward's fellow member of Sparta, Keeley Davis, replaces him and is doing a great job. Singer Cedric Bixler's high voice is strong and his vocals are powerful.
Most of the set is from their epic last album Relationship of Command and those songs still sound amazing even after over fifteen years. Like on the album 'Arcarsenal' and 'Pattern Against User' are opening the set while the heartfelt 'Invalid Litter Dept' halfway still hasn't lost its fire. It's good to see At The Drive-In found the right spirit again to make this reunion worthwhile. There's no encore which would only be an unneeded interruption of the show. So of course 'One Armed Scissor' closes the night and everyone screams "cut away" at the top of their lungs with the band.
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02. Pattern Against User
03. Sleepwalk Capsules
04. 300 MHz
05. Proxima Centauri
07. Invalid Litter Dept.
09. Ursa Minor
13. Napoleon Solo
14. One Armed Scissor