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Arts and Entertainment

LAist @ SXSW: Day 4 - Omar Rodriguez Lopez Group (aka Mars Volta), Fang Island

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Sometimes surprise/secret shows are truly just that. What was billed as a headlining showcase for the Omar Rodriguez Lopez Group turned into an impromptu Mars Volta performance when Volta vocalist Cedric Bixler-Zavala joined co-founder Lopez for the show. Even before the addition of Bixler-Zavala to the group, the line was one of the longest seen at the festival with fans without badges lining up for the 12:50am show at around 2pm for the small chance that they would have the opportunity to get in. Once the show started and it was clear what the show really was crowds gathered in the alleys and fences lining the makeshift Emo's Annex venue to hear a taste of the new Mars Volta sound.

What made the whole affair odd was that Bixler-Zavala didn't just pop out as soon as the band was ready, he went through his own soundcheck telling jokes and taping his own mic and when the soundcheck was over he said, "I don't know what we are calling ourselves tonight" (legal reasons may have prevented them from calling this an official Mars Volta gig) and the band launched into what is assumed to be new Mars Volta material, which upon first listen had a different feel than previous efforts and will be an album to watch for this year.

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