Last summer I had the privilege of seeing Zechs Marquise in their infancy. The show was expansive, proggy, and thought provoking. The crowd was interested, but to say blood and fists were pumping would be a stretch. This past Monday, Zech’s opened for At the Drive In and their new material has lifted their live show to a completely new height. To say it’s simply the new material would be insufficient. The band’s whole energy has found a new plane. Zechs played with a new found confidence that amped the already bristling crowd. Marfred Rodriguez-Lopez (bass) mentioned toward the end of their set that the audience was most likely charged because of the first At the Drive In show in more than a decade, which was minutes away. However, this was a dose of misguided self criticism. Openers for big shows are never guaranteed an electric show, but the crowd got behind Zechs Marquise in a big way.
Most in attendance were not expecting much from a group many viewed to be simply the band with a bunch of Omar Rodriguez-Lopez’s (The Mars Volta, At the Drive In, etc.) little brothers. Of those around me in the crowd, nearly every person commented on Zechs with delighted surprise. A couple of guys next to me kept saying, “What the fuck! This is amazing!”. Zechs’ jazzy groove-prog hooks grabbed the crowd, and their energy shook them until their legs were convinced that it was, in fact, okay to dance at a prog show.
Zech’s entire persona has evolved. This time last year, Marfred’s show presence was that of a down home musician, happy to be able to play in front of a pumped crowd. This time around, Zechs knows they deserve to kill it. Moreso, Zechs’ live performance was a pleasant, heavy-as-shit, hip-checking, surprise. Getting Paid certainly upped ZM’s game in terms of what they could do with a crowd, but that’s far from the whole story. In every aspect, Zech’s live show has been upped. Marcos and Matt on guitar are exponentially more potent, Marfred’s bass finds a more visceral groove, Marcel on drums allows for breath-stealing rhythmic tricks with mathy precision, and Rikardo’s synth finds a sick pocket to work within. Honestly, they sound like a completely new band. A band that knows they belong at the front of a crowd, being part of a new generation of prog rockers who’ve figured out how to get prog lovers to shake their ass to a bass line.