At the O2 Academy, Newcastle, U.K., March 10, 2018

AT THE DRIVE-IN (Live at the O2 Academy, Newcastle, U.K., March 10, 2018)
Photo: Mick Burgess

There was a real sense that for many in the Academy that this moment would never come. The chances of seeing the post Hard Core rabble rousers, At The Drive-In, again seemed nothing short of impossible.

After bursting onto the scene in the mid ’90s, giving the jaded scene a real shake up, particularly with their breakthrough Relationship of Command release, it ended all too quickly in 2001. It was over and that it seemed, was that.

After a couple of stalled reunion attempts over the years, the band reconvened in 2015 which resulted in the impressive In.ter release which showed that they had lost none of their fire over the intervening years. Judging by the crowd rammed into the Academy, their return after decades away was something many had been dreaming of for years.

There was no grand entrance, no dramatic intro tapes, no frills at all just At The Drive-In doing what they do best. Frontman Cedric Bixler stormed onto the stage, hurling his microphone up into the air during a rampant Arcarsenal, covering every inch of the stage in a manner reminiscent of a rabid Tasmanian Devil all while Tony Hajjar’s relentless drumming drove the band forward.

The energy generated during No Wolf Like The Present and Governed By Contagions could have supercharged the National Grid as At The Drive-In channelled the spirit and passion of MC5 into a turbo charged maelstrom of Rock ‘n’ Roll power.

While Bixler was never still fort a moment, putting those within 10 metres in imminent danger of decapitation by his microphone stand, guitarist Omar Rodriguez looked ever so dapper dressed in black with a trilby tilted to one side, at times reminiscent of Prince. There was however no likeness to the Purple One with the riffs spitting from his guitar.

With so much energy on stage, it was inevitable that it would feed into the crowd, which was every bit as fired up as the band, particular during One Armed Scissor, where the moshpit erupted into a furious whirlwind with crowd surfers flying across the top in their masses. Quite an incredible sight to witness but testament to the appreciation of their fans for a genuinely passionate and intensely driven performance.

Review and Photos By Mick Burgess


  • Mick Burgess

    Mick is a reviewer and photographer here at Metal Express Radio, based in the North-East of England. He first fell in love with music after hearing Jeff Wayne's spectacular The War of the Worlds in the cold winter of 1978. Then in the summer of '79 he discovered a copy of Kiss Alive II amongst his sister’s record collection, which literally blew him away! He then quickly found Van Halen I and Rainbow's Down To Earth, and he was well on the way to being rescued from Top 40 radio hell!   Over the ensuing years, he's enjoyed the Classic Rock music of Rush, Blue Oyster Cult, and Deep Purple; the AOR of Journey and Foreigner; the Pomp of Styx and Kansas; the Progressive Metal of Dream Theater, Queensrÿche, and Symphony X; the Goth Metal of Nightwish, Within Temptation, and Epica, and a whole host of other great bands that are too numerous to mention. When he's not listening to music, he watches Sunderland lose more football (soccer) matches than they win, and occasionally, if he has to, he goes to work as a property lawyer.

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