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Coachella 2011: Striking a pose with Omar Rodriguez-Lopez Group

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No matter which psychedelic collective Omar Rodriguez-Lopez finds himself in, they all contain a few essential elements: blistering jams, howling Spanglish and spine-bending dance moves. It certainly seemed to be the case during their 45-minute sonic tirade at the Gobi Tent. Joined by vocalist Cedric Bixler Zavala, the founders of the Mars Volta ignited Coachella fans with a barrage of heart-pounding prog rock. The spindly, clean-cut Zavala went all theatrical on the crowd during jams like ‘Broken English.’

Reptilian poses and creepy jazz-hand gestures added a spark of eccentricity to the big rhythms and Lopez’s rapid-fire arpeggios. Whether he was attempting an ankle-breaking James Brown pose or attempting to swallow his microphone (hands-free), the nimble frontman made certain that his presence was broadcast load and clear.

Lopez’s strained facial expressions matched his bent guitar notes during sprawling solos. Bassist Juan Alderete looked permanently spaced out, and Lopez’s brother Marcel maintained a shaggy-haired zen as he plodded along on synth with stoic sound manipulator Lars Stalfors. Then there was drummer Deantoni Parks’ face, plastered with a gangsta grimace. If nothing else, those unable able to hear the sound too clearly from the back got the gist of their passion from the body language blaring on the big screens near the stage.

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-- Nate Jackson


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