Let Us Now Listen To The Discographies Of Various Musicians

Mike K

The Mars Volta: Scab Dates

Scab Dates (2005)

Another live release, this time a 72 minute album instead of a 42 minute "EP". Like Live, this mostly focuses on De-Loused material, since it was presumably all recorded before Frances The Mute came out. In fact there are only three proper songs represented here: Extended versions of "Cicatriz ESP" and "Take The Veil Cerpin Taxt" (with separately tracked sections), and, surprisingly, a slightly shorter version of Tremulant's "Concertina". They sound like a tighter, more energetic unit than on the previous live release, and while the jammier portions can seem to wander too much when presented on record, just as often they come up with some cool, unexpected variations on the songs: I especially like the funkier version of the "Cicatriz" riff that's introduced in part 2, as well as the finger-tapping-filled "Take the Veil Cerpin Taxt: And Ghosted Pouts".

There's another way that this is an unconventional live album: It figures that, since this came out the same year as Frances The Mute, they'd be adding a couple of those sound collage interludes to a live release too. I find at least one of them sort of interesting, though: Opening track "Abrasions Mount The Timpani" is 4 minutes of airport announcements, crying babies, backstage chatter, and sound checks- so it basically represents all the things a band does before the concert starts. Plus it segues into "Take The Veil Cerpin Taxt" in a very cool way. On the other hand, throwing a similar, much lengthier collage into the middle of the final part of "Cicatriz" is a little too much. Still, it's sort of an intriguing idea in theory, and makes more sense if you know this was just Omar Rodriguez-Lopez's way of inserting behind the scenes moments, because that's what he says he'd be interested in as a listener.

Key Tracks: Take the Veil Cerpin Taxt: And Ghosted Pouts, Concertina