There are bands, there are legendary bands and then there’s At The Drive-In. They’re dead now, but the fact they even existed at all is proof that life can, at times be brilliant. There’s a feature on them in this week’s NME, but we figured the best way to understand the true majesty of this band is to check out some videos of them playing live. Like this truly legendary performance on Later… With Jools Holland.
For a lot of people that was their first exposure to ATD-I – they were on the show with Robbie Williams, and it really does warm the heart to think of a bunch of middle-aged ex-Take That fans tuning in for a few nice ballads and having some insane Texan with an afro trying to reach through the TV screen and claw out their soul; or some eager, curious kid who just wanted to hear some music being blown away by this unholy, beautiful mess. I know which one I was (clue: it’s not the Take That thing).
That tune, ‘Arcarsenal’, is the opener to their magnum opus ‘Relationship Of Command’, and it’s about as powerful a start as it’s possible to get. Listen to Cedric’s howl! He sounds like a man screaming incantations to a God that’s stopped listening.
‘Rascuache”s from their ‘Vaya’ EP, and is in some ways the consummate ATD-I song. Swerving violently between casual, gentle melody and bone-juddering rhythmic assault, there’s really only one way to dance to it: have a seizure.
‘In/Casino/Out’ was their second album, and for a whole bunch of ATD-I fans their best. It’s the perfect midpoint between the frenetic jumble of ‘Acrobatic Tenement’ and the polished warmachine that is ‘Relationship…’. ‘Alpha Centauri’ opens it (what is it with them having such awesome track ones?!) in stunning style.
The only thing to say about this one: WAAAAAAAAAAARGH!
Were you lucky enough to catch them live? If so, what did you think?