Monday, October 24, 2016

Concert Review: Coheed and Cambria @ Starland Ballroom - Sayreville, NJ 10/15/16

I've never been to the Starland Ballroom any less than packed to max capacity. They have a kick ass sound system and a cool vibe and is way off the beaten path. Coheed and Cambria was sold out, and I wasn't the least bit surprised.

The thing is I'm vertically challenged. As a result I've never seen a band at the Starland  Ballroom. It was also the last show of their tour and a night of the Hunter's Moon. The crowd was extra in many ways. I almost had my camera nicked (from around my neck no less!) and had to get handy with the brazen young man who attempted such a foolish stunt. He no doubt had to explain the strange grip like bruising around his own neck the day after. I had a photo pass for what I thought was 3 songs, well, by the time CnC kicked into Blood Red Summer I was ushered away from the stage because the crowd was getting too lively for the safety of photographers. I spent the rest of the show at the bar off to the left of the stage, not able to see a god damned thing. The bartender proved to be solid company but I couldn't hear a god damn thing because Starland's sound system is legit and Coheed and Cambria have their shit together and might be THE BEST sounding live band you could hope to hear.

 I'm in a state of arrested development where CnC are concerned. I listen to No World For Tomorrow and Year of the Black Rainbow exclusively. I like the other records but I haven't moved on. Of those two records zero songs where played. They where none the worse for it though. There's probably a reason for that, but I'll be buggered if I know. They did play a good mix of songs from the rest of their library. Claudio Sanchez has a hell of a talent for hooks and melody and in my mind that they showcased that talent with this set. The hooks came one after another. If this show was the first time some one heard Coheed and Cambria they might never guess they had prog rock tendencies. I know very little about Sanchez's taste in music. I don't know how aggro he is for prog or if he just writes what he writes.  That said, it's been a pleasure listening to Sanchez's progress as a song writer and musician.

Every passing record is an expansion from the records previous. I love that bands are doing a whole set dedicated to a record in it's entirety. Other than that a great set is a tour through the archives and to me that's what this set represented.  "Everything Evil" sat easily between "Island (The Color Before the Sun)" and "Key Entity V: Sentry Defiant". The songs blend seamlessly from infectious hook to mechanically precise. "Favor House Atlantic" followed by"Eraser". Listen to the audio versions of these two songs. The former sounds more contemporary live. On the disc, the clock is turned back but it led into "Eraser" so well it could be part of a long player double album.
 "Here To Mars" is an extension of the past records as well, maybe to sing-songy for me but came off WAY better live. Back into the archives for "The Crowing" and played with way more muscle and athleticism these days...and that's saying a lot for this song.

Coheed And Cambria is a machine of a live band and Sanchez's voice is as clean thirteen years later and live no less! My favorite quality about his voice is the vulnerability he brings to the exacting approach the band takes. The post metal of "Delirium Trigger" hit next followed by the bounce of "Ten Speed". "Peace To The Mountain" is not one of my favorite songs but hearing it live had a sort of hymnal feel to it rather than the product you hear on the record.

    At this point, I left. I didn't stick around for The Nirvana "Drain You" cover played with Saves the Day or You Got Spirit Kid. I had to park in a fakakta area of a god forsaken parking area and wanted to skate before the inevitable chaos fowled an otherwise solid evening. I say again Starland is a great place to see a band. With that sound system a great band like CnC sounds phenomenal. Legit security and a cool bartender and the Hunter's Moon as my copilot home.

Keep the windows down and your eyes on the horizon!


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