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Scab Dates (Live Album)

4.1 out of 5 stars 53 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Hot on the heels of the acclaimed tour for their latest album, Frances the Mute, the Mars Volta release their first live disc, Scab Dates. Recorded at various shows between 2003 - 2005, the set features just six songs running 72 minutes in all. The four-part closing track, 'Cicatriz', alone runs more than 40 minutes, half of which is taken up by its 20-minute final portion. Universal. 2005.

Review

"Bixler Zavala and Rodriquez-Lopez made everything about the Mars Volta - including their ferocious live show - larger than life." -- Rolling Stone

"The Mars Volta render every other prog-metal-jazz-whatever band out there wholly unnecessary." -- Spin

"The most exhilarating rock band on the planet" -- Spin

"Wildly, gloriously excessive..." -- Time Out New York

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. abrasions mount the timpani
  2. take the veil cerpin taxt a) gust of mutts b) and ghosted pouts
  3. caviglia
  4. concertina
  5. haruspex
  6. cicatriz a) pt I b) pt II c) pt III d) pt IV


Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 8, 2005)
  • Live Album ed. edition
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Universal
  • ASIN: B000BLI3IY
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #147,139 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By doomsdayer520 HALL OF FAME on November 15, 2005
Format: Audio CD
Most reviewers are talking about this album as if it's a standard live recording, but this is not the case. Omar Rodriguez-Lopez has clearly started with some live tracks but used them as a jumping-off point for more studio work with sound collage. This includes studio-assisted mixing with outside sources – which is a major tactical mistake by Omar because it damages the listener's experience of live Mars Volta. This is especially true of the exasperating segment of "Cicatriz" near the end of the album, where the band's playing fades in and out with real audio that sounds like several people sitting in an echoey room and channel surfing. That makes this album a larger work of art that does not work as well as Mars Volta's two stupendous studio albums.

Those original albums feature expert musicianship of great intensity, and mindboggling song structures and achievements in progressive songwriting. But here, much of that magic is strangely missing, especially if you've willingly had your mind blown and perceptions blasted by De-Loused and Frances. One possible way to look at this disc is that it is full of sonic exploration – some live, some constructed – but it is low on the exhilaration of the studio discs. A very large percentage of this album is noise and dissonance. Of course, Mars Volta are incredible improvisationalists and that is the key aspect of their existence as a band. Their concerts feature jam sessions that erupt into entire new songs practically every night, and you'd swear the five core members of the group can read each other's minds as they explore their way into unknown territory.

On this disc, that improvisation works in a few places, such as the sinister funk groove that the band works into a frenzy during the second (third?
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By Sea Tac on March 17, 2006
Format: Audio CD
It should be said first and foremost that The Mars Volta amaze me, album after album, song after song, and to have to give anything of theirs less than 5 stars is truly heartbreaking, but in this case, necessary. While Scabdates has been marketed as a live album, it drifts away from that in the traditional sense, opting more towards a live recording mixed in with various sound effects, samples, and recordings of noise such as babies crying, people talking, and just overall ambience. This detracts from the expectations I had prior to hearing this, and while TMV are very much an improv-band and never ones to go the predictable route, the fact that more than half of Scabdates is Omar Rodriguez-Lopez looping his guitar through various effect pedals and mixing live jams with static and unnecessary noise makes most of this release a rather undesirable listen. I would have much rather heard the band improvising through the 80 minute set that this CD could have allowed, stopping in between the spacey wanderings to play some of the amazing songs which got them to the point they are at today.

Another terrible tragedy of this CD is, as has already been noted by other reviewers, the terrible mixing failing to encompass the performances of Juan Alderte and Jon Theodore, on bass and drums, respectively. While Juan's bass is audible, it is far too muddy and drowned out behind the guitars and keyboards to get an accurate representation of just how damned good this guy is. As for Jon Theodore, the man is a beast on a drum kit and the fact that his skill has been pushed to the very back of the mix is a grave error of production.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This album is on one side of the extreme, and I can see why not everyone likes it. The album is msotly sonic meandering and expansion of the band's open ended sections of songs, which means to the untrained ear: pure nonsense. I for one, am absolutely in love with this record. It does not merely contain live versions of songs off their first album and EP. What is the point in that really? Why would you want to listen to the same version of a song but in worse quality and with the roar of the audience at the beginning and end? I'd prefer live albums to feature a different take on each song. But haye, that's just me. This album does that. Takes only three songs, Take the Veil, Concertina, and Cicatriz, and turn sit into a 70-minute album. Its mixed so that it seems as tho its a single performance, and in this way, almost as if it is another album entirely. Especially since, aside from the choruses, the songs are barely recognizable from their LP counterparts. Bottomline, if you like the avant-experimental wandering of parts of Frances the Mute or Cicatriz, buy this immediately. If you prefer the to-the-point songs of De-Loused and Tremulant, get this anyway and maybe you'll find an entirely new reason to love this band.
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Format: Audio CD
quick fix pop songs are nowhere to be found. that being said, the mars volta isn't sending out a search party any time soon, and they aren't apologizing for it either. volta continues to make music for the appreciation of fellow musicians. even if the sonic aesthetics of hallucination-quality dense improv aren't your bag, the pure musicianship displayed by the entire band is undeniable. i've seen volta live twice (a 2 1/2 hour 1 AM set at bonnaroo '05 and september 30, '05 in chicago with system of a down)and the one aspect of their music that i hoped this live album would address is their mastery of dense chaos; and the ability to escape it and roll into intense rhythms. this is best illustrated in the transition from track 10 to 11 of cicatriz. loop-based guitar squelches gather to a head and suddenly sink into a sinister descending bassline syncopated with some of the best arpeggiated improv riffs i've heard. cedric's ghostlike vocal improv fits perfectly into the airy feel of this particular section. the last section of track layering is quite an avant garde approach, which the music world has learned is to be expected of volta. it seems like a vignette of the backstage memories of a performer following a tiring set of marathon jamming coupled with excited conversation about the performance among bandmates. the only things i was left wanting more of was adrian terrazas' woodwind witchcraft... and maybe some of the brass belligerence of miranda or cassandra. all in all, a worthwhile purchase and more importantly, worth repeat listens. however, this album should come with a warning label for musicians: "Overexposure may cause periods of intense excitement followed by thoughts of musical inadequacey which may or may not render your own creative efforts hopelessly meager in comparison.Read more ›
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