I attended a Coheed and Cambria concert in Toronto last week. It wouldn’t surprise me that you haven’t heard of this band, even though they’ve been around for over 5 years, as they definitely don’t appeal to everyone. That being said, I think there are elements of their sound that almost anyone can enjoy. I hate trying to peg bands into a genre, and you will really never get an idea of Coheed’s sound by a list of adjectives but in this case it’s pretty fun to try. Their wikipedia entry lists them as “progressive rock” but if I had to give it a whirl I would say they are post-apocolyptic sci-fi retro metal, or something like that. Just go to their myspace for a listen. Those songs are all from their lastest album “Good Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV, Volume Two: No World for Tomorrow,” which isn’t yet my favourite, but it gives you an idea of what they’re all about. Actually, it gives you an idea of what they sound like, but understanding what they’re about as a band is a little more complicated.
You can tell by the way the name of the new album rolls of the tongue that it is just one installment in a much larger project. All of their albums are attempting to tell the story of The Amory Wars. Haven’t heard of them? Not surprisingly this is where the sci-fi part kicks in. Now, I’m the guy that used to steal some dorks Magic Cards and sell them to another nerd. Sci-fi is definitely not my bag. Here’s a short plot outline from the Amory Wars wikipedia listing:
The story revolves around the messianic Claudio Kilgannon, son of Coheed and Cambria Kilgannon. Over the course of the story, Claudio assumes the mantle of The Crowing, foretold savior of the Heaven’s Fence universe. In the end, he must face the “Supreme Tri-mage” Wilhelm Ryan, absolute ruler of Heaven’s Fence and the one ultimately responsible for the deaths of Claudio’s family.
Why would the Amory Wars have its own page you ask? Well silly, the whole saga is in the process of being adapted for graphic novels/comics. In another twist, Claudio (Sanchez) is also the lead singer of Coheed. You’d think the whole thing is being told from his perspective but there is another ‘character’ called the writer who also does some narration. Confused yet? Me too. I actually am learning most of this in order to write this post and hopefully not piss off too many Coheed dweebs . That’s right, some of the people at this concert were definitely not cool. I’ve also definitely never seen more guys that looked like the lead singer at a show. This says something special because Claudio looks like this:
Lets just say there were a lot of dudes that have been workin’ on the flow a lot lately. You must, of course take my “cool/nerdy” scale with a grain of salt since I was rolling with the only suit at the gig.
The moral of this whole story is that these guys fucking, flat out rock live. It was a pretty perfect show. They started with a couple new ones, eased into the meat of set list, hit the climax in the last song and then sustained the energy right through the encore. The riffs flying back and forth caused my face to melt like a scoop of chocolate in late July. My butt just wouldn’t stop wiggling no matter how hard I tried. One highlight was their rendition of Iron Maiden’s ‘the trooper,’ during which I could see the frets flying through my brain just like in Guitar Hero. Wicked. It was also around the time some random guy passed me a little something something. Nooch. I’m pretty sure that was followed by Claudio o o o throwing his axe behind his head and wailing away before flossing with some string. Simply unbelievable. You don’t have to read the comics or understand any of the backstory to appreciate that. I’m sure that all the super fans really dig the whole sci-fi side but it’s not a prerequisite for enjoying this band. You might not make out a lot of lyrics early on, but recently I’ve definitely gotten the sense that there’s some seriously fucked up shit going down in those wars. I’ve never had the subjects of maning battlestations and putting women in the ground evoke so much joy in me. One of my best buddies is driving halfway across the continent to see them later this month. I say, “worth it.”