It’s commonplace for reunions to come and go in 2012, but this year sees the return of one of the most famous bands from the 90s/early 00s to go down in flames after a run of bad luck and squabbling escalated into a seething fallout amongst members of the band. But here we are, on the Saturday night at Reading Festival, witnessing one of the coolest performances of the weekend from classic ‘post-hardcore’ outfit At The Drive-In. Whilst the tent isn’t teeming with the casual audience tonight who would rather spend their time atKasabian, there is definitely an abundance of dedicated fans who are ready for Cedrix Bixler-Zavala to pick up the maracas and start off ‘Arcarsenal‘.
From the moment the opener kicks into fifth gear, the crowd go expectedly wild; chants of “I must have read a thousand faces” whilst maintaining the stamina to jump is as fun as you would want it to get at an At The Drive-In show. There is definitely the sense that the tent is full of real music fans and that the show we’re witnessing is magic in the making. Many classics from the most successful and recent album ‘Relationship of Command‘ take their stand on the stage, and songs such as ‘Pattern Against User‘, ‘Enfilade‘ and ‘Cosmonaut‘ go down favourably with the audience, and surprisingly their older material such as ‘Metronome Arthritis‘ also receives a decent sing-along.
Some of the greater moments from the set not only come from the music, but also from the stage chit-chat that Cedric provides, including an impression of a Dalek using the microphone stand and some sly banter about Mastodon, which proves to be hilarious. Concerns do lie with the fact that Omar Rodriguez-Lopez does not resemble the character he once was in the version of At The Drive-In that broke up 11 years ago, but it has to be reminded that at the expense of jumping around the stage tonight, we get some brilliant guitar-work instead; a trait that has been gained through experience with The Mars Volta.
All in all, tonight is a resounding success, and for those lucky enough to watch the El Paso group do what they do best, they are given the benchmark that will be difficult for any band playing on Sunday to achieve. Scott McKenna