A description of this show from The Comatorium
Very small, intimiate setting. I showed up like 25 minutes before doors opened and I was probably the sixth or seventh person inside. I secured a spot right at the center monitor, at the very center of the stage. I was no more than a foot away from Josh then later Cedric. The stage was tiny. Not a lot of room to move around for the performers. Josh is a pretty mobile performer so he must’ve felt a little cramped up there.
So doors opened at about 9. For whatever reason my name wasn’t on the will call list even though I bought the ticket online probably 6 hours prior to the show. So it really sucked that I paid twice, in essence. About 15 minutes after the doors opened, they had a DJ playing music for about 30-40 minutes before Dot Hacker came on. The DJ played Ambuletz at one point. I wasn’t expecting to hear any Volta.
It was cool to see the members of Dot Hacker and Zalavaz hanging around watching the other band play or running around onstage trying to set up their equipment. I was thinking it was kinda a trip that Josh was playing to giant crowds all over the world with RHCP and here he was setting up his own equipment in this little bar, playing in a room not much larger than my one bedroom apartment.
Dot Hacker came on at approx. 10 or 10:15 played I think 7 songs, then an encore. Forgive me but I’m not very familiar with their music at all, but I do believe they played most or all of Inhibition. They definitely played Order/Disorder. The sound wasn’t good where I was standing, which I totally understand, but I could hear plenty of Josh and Jonathan Hischke though. Josh thanked the crowd for coming and Zavalaz for inviting them on tour. He said something to the effect that they haven’t played any of their songs in about a year, so they’re a bit rusty. I believe he said one of the songs was new, but don’t quote me on that.
I don’t know off the top of my head the names of any members of Zavalaz beyond obviously Cedric and Juan. Cedric played guitar on every song. Besides Cedric and Juan, the band consisted of a drummer, a keyboard player and a second guitar player. They all sang back-up vocals, except the keyboard player. Kinda weird to see Juan singing back-up vocals. They all were running around taking down DH’s stuff and setting up their own equipment on stage. The sound was much better for Zavalaz as opposed to DH. Zavalaz seemed more quiet than DH and generally sounded less cluttered and dense. Cedric himself sounded very solid. He wasn’t straining himself to sing at all, mostly singing in a relaxed, lower-than-Volta vocal range. He still hit some high notes here and there though.
They played 11 songs in total. 10 songs then an encore. As you might guess if you’ve followed the interviews Cedric has been giving, the new music was of course totally not at all Mars Volta-like. I think no song was longer than 5 minutes. The songs were straightforward, verse-chorus-verse kind of stuff. It was pretty mellow music overall. I personally enjoyed it very much. I think some of these songs could be pretty popular stuff, maybe stuff you would hear on the radio. When I play the Mars Volta for people, many get weirded out. I don’t think that will be the case if I play Zavalaz for them. It’s pleasant to listen to. I’m sorry if I’m not describing it very well.
The band all took a shot before they played. Cedric had a hot water machine-thing on stage which he drank from inbetween songs. I am paraphrasing the gist of what he said. He thanked the crowd for coming out and said that it was a special night because it was the first performance of the band. He said he didn’t want anymore to take pictures or video of the show, to sort of go back in time to a era when there was no internet. He said he didn’t want there to be shitty-sounding video recordings of the show out there because if the recording sounds bad, people will think the band is bad and they’ll blog about how shitty the band is or whatever.
He said the name of his hot water thing was Peter Boyle, referencing Dr. Gonzo from the film Where the Buffalo Roam based of Hunter S. Thompson’s work.
Cedric said Unearthly Child was about his twins, saying basically the same thing he said in that one interview about how he came up with the song. Mentioned his children are about 2 months old and his wife is at home with them.
He thanked Richard Dreyfuss, then buttwipes, then his mother and father. The second guitar player, I believe, said that today is Father’s Day and it would be Cedric’s first as a dad.
I can’t remember much else. I’m sure the official setlist will appear on the internet very soon. I hope I gave a decent review of the show and my spelling didn’t suck too bad. Overall I really enjoyed Zavalaz.
The members of DH and Zavalaz were pretty accessible after the show. Cedric took a lot of pictures with people and autographed a dude’s setlist. I had too much anxiety to talk to anybody after the show. But I don’t know what I would’ve said to them anyways. Darn. Oh well.
There were plenty of shirts on sell, some buttons, and Inhibition CDs. DH and Zavalaz each had like 4 or 5 designs to choose from. Only $15 for shirts. If memory serves me, TMV was charging like 30 or 35 for shirts?
I would say the total attendance was like 75 people at the most, so it was a very close-up and personal kind of setting.
Josh remarked that this would be our first time hearing any Zavalaz, and that he thought we would be pleasantly surprised by them judging from what he’s heard them play.
Also I noticed this because I was so close-up but the microphone stand thing Cedric was using was kinda lopsided. Like you know how sometimes tables will have one leg that’s a little shorter than the other, so when you push on the table a bit, it’ll kinda wobble awkwardly? That was happening with the mic stand. So Cedric took a package of orbit gum, emptied out the gum and put the little cardboard orbit package under the mic stand so it would be more stable. Also the monitor he was using – the same monitor I was standing directly in front of – had some technical issues. So before they played their first song but after Cedric gave a little speech on this being their first show and he didn’t want any recording; there was an anti-climatic kind moment in which a stagehand had to plug something in or fix something with the monitor. He jokingly said something about the Yamaha monitor being something like a pedal that gives him his special sound. Something like that.
I believe Cedric only used a tuning pedal, a MXR phaser and a compression pedal. There may have been one more pedal, perhaps a chorus, I’m not remembering exactly. So his playing obviously was pretty light on the effects.
Juan had a pedalboard of probably 10-15 effects pedals. Someone got a pic of it after the show so I’m sure it’ll pop up shortly. Dan Elkan also had a decent pedalboard going which I believe was also photographed by someone’s cell phone. But don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t say this was effects-laden music at all. The effects were used pretty modestly overall.
Juan switched back and forth between two old Fender Jazz basses, one with black nylon strings. Cedric switched back and forth from what I believe was a Fender Jaugar and a small black acoustic guitar with a Raiders sticker. This wasn’t a full-sized guitar…. It was almost like ukulele-sized. I have only a vague understanding of guitars so sorry if I’m wrong about what I think I saw. On the last or second to last song he used a 12 string electric guitar by Gibson.
Josh used a old Fender Jazzmaster and some Gibson SGs.
From my location I couldn’t see or hear much keys and my view of Rogove, the drummer, was almost entirely blocked by Cedric. But I heard plenty of Cedric and Juan and a little bit of Elkan. But they all sounded pretty tight. Juan talked a lot with Cedric and Rogove between songs while everyone was tuning their guitars and Cedric was drinking his hot water. Seemed to be happy and joking around but I couldn’t hear their conversations.”
- There are no videos for this show.
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