At The Drive In – o2 Academy, Newcastle 10th March

When At The Drive In split up in 2001, few could have imagined their return, and having spent 15 years apart, even fewer could have imagined they could have started working together again in 2016. But, they did, and they are once again a force to be reckoned with.

In their 15 years apart, Bixler-Zavala and Rodriguez-Lopez enjoyed phenomenal success with the Mars Volta, a band lauded for their musical dexterity, and spine tingling craftsmanship. This experience, and the level of showmanship they developed during this time, has paid dividends for At The Drive In, who can now wholeheartedly put themselves up there with the best live bands on the planet.

Arriving on stage to a packed out, super enthused Newcastle crowd, the Texans wasted no time getting started, launching straight into Arcarsenal, a triumphant post hardcore number from their last album before their split. The raw energy and passion from the track set the o2 Academy on fire, sending the crowd wild and kicking off a set filled with anarchistic goodness.

At The Drive In’s full throttle approach continued throughout, as they delivered a mix of old and new, with fans eating up every lick, lyric and beat. With such a long wait between albums, In•ter a•li•a was always going to be a success, and its appreciation was clear as the crowd roared back every word to tracks like No Wolf Like the Present, Hostage Stamps and Pendulum in a Peasant Dress.

This mix of old and new came more from the band’s last two albums, than their first two, with nothing coming from Acrobatic Tenement and just Relationship of Command from In/Casino/Out. Despite such weak representation, Napoleon Solo received a thunderous response from the crowd, showing the popularity of At The Drive In’s early work.

The strong focus on their last two albums, highlights were At The Drive In’s success has come from, and it came as no surpise that the biggest response from the crowd came from Enfilade, Quarantined and their closing number Pattern Against User. These fan favourites were some of the songs that made At The Drive In one of the biggest bands on the planet at the turn of the century, and there’s no doubt they sound better with their new found maturity and class.

Saturday’s show was an undoubted success, and fans in the North East will be praying that they do not have to wait almost 20 years to see their heroes again!


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