At some point when I wasn't paying attention, Cedric Bixler-Zavala and Omar Rodriguez-Lopez went from "the former members of At the Drive-In who became the Mars Volta" to "the current members of the Mars Volta who used to be in At the Drive-In." That's, of course, if their former band is mentioned at all. The semantic shift probably happened around the time everyone realized the Mars Volta's brand of spacey prog rock was packing venues far larger than ATDI's guttural proto-punk dared contemplate. Bixler and Rodriguez still have the right moves -- watch for Bixler's uncomfortably precise split -- even as their music drifts into maddening and purposeful disarray. There are snatches of songs to catch somewhere between the bass solos and Santana-esque noodling, but ATDI's immediacy is sorely missed. Their pairing with System of a Down is a bid by two of today's most self-consciously self-indulgent, theatrical rock bands to liquefy your brain with sheer volume.
The Mars Volta opens for System of a Down at 7 p.m. Wednesday, August 17, at Office Depot Center, 1 Panthers Pkwy., Sunrise. Tickets cost $32.50. Call 954-835-8000.