The Mars Volta debut new songs, play stacks of classics at first show in over 10 years

See footage from the historic Texas show – including the first-ever live performance of ‘Vicarious Atonement’ – right now

On Thursday night (September 22), The Mars Volta played their first live show in over 10 years, treating fans in their home state of Texas to a stacked showcase of new songs, classics and rarities – including the first-ever performance of their 2006 track ‘Vicarious Atonement’.

The latter song opened the set – which The Mars Volta performed at the 4,300-capacity Factory in Deep Ellum – setting the scene for Omar Rodríguez-López and Cedric Bixler-Zavala to deliver the first performances of ‘Roulette Dares’ and ‘Eriatarka’ (both from their 2003 debut as The Mars Volta, ‘De-Loused In The Comatorium’) since 2010.

They followed those up with the first of two songs showcased from their self-titled comeback album, ‘Graveyard Love’, before throwing back to 2005’s ‘Frances The Mute’ with ‘L’Via L’Viaquez’ – also played live for the first time since 2010.

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Other rarities included ‘Drunkship Of Lanterns’ and ‘Viscera Eyes’ (the former being another ‘Comatorium’ cut while the latter, like ‘Vicarious Atonement’, came from 2006’s ‘Amputechture’) – both of which hadn’t been played since 2009 – as well as the first performance of ‘Comatorium’ standout ‘Televators’ since 2007. Before The Mars Volta played the latter, they premiered the set’s only other self-titled song, ‘Blacklight Shine’.

Have a look at fan-shot footage from the show, then see the full setlist (via setlist.fm) below:

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The Mars Volta played:

1. ‘Vicarious Atonement’
2. ’Roulette Dares (The Haunt Of)’
3. ’Eriatarka’
4. ’Graveyard Love’
5. ’L’Via L’Viaquez’
6. ’Empty Vessels Make The Loudest Sound
7. ’Cygnus….Vismund Cygnus’
8. ’Drunkship Of Lanterns’
9. ’Viscera Eyes’
10. ’The Widow’
11. ’Cicatriz ESP’
12. ’Blacklight Shine’
13. ’Televators’
14. ’Son Et Lumiere’
15. ’Inertiatic ESP’

The Mars Volta returned with their self-titled seventh album – their first to follow 2012’s ‘Noctourniquet’ – earlier this month. Released via Clouds Hill, the album also featured the single ‘Vigil’. In a five-star review of it, NME’s Andy Price wrote: “This isn’t just a striking return for one of the most individual bands of the last 20 years; it is, musically, an astounding masterpiece. Their finest hour? Quite possibly.”

The band initially released six albums between 2003 and 2012, before splitting when Bixler-Zavala and Rodríguez-López had a personal falling out. However, the pair made amends and formed a new group, Antemasque. They also revamped their pre-Mars Volta outfit, At The Drive-In, for a new record in 2017.

A Mars Volta reunion had been hinted at by the band several times in recent years – like in 2019, when Bixler-Zavala effectively confirmed it by casually telling a fan online that “it’s happening”.

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