The Mars Volta / Roseland / May 6, 2005
I gotta hand it to the Mars Volta. They play half-hour long songs and still manage to debut at number 4 on the Billboard 200 and sell out Roseland two nights in a row. They have convinced an entire generation of skateboarders that prog rock is cool and maybe got some kids to check out the Fania All-Stars. They are not white, but Alternative Press and Filter put them on their covers.
Still, two hours of the Mars Volta is not fun. Not fun at all. It is, as Jamie pointed out, like going to the opera. An edifying high culture experience. There is a complicated plot and lots of symbolism and high drama. A man wails in a foreign language. Every piece has ten choruses, thirty breakdowns and sixty time-signature changes. You leave feeling educated. And very, very tired.