By Justin Richardson
With the upcoming Iron Maiden tour preparing to get underway, many people are aware that half of the tour will be getting Alice Cooper as their opener — a man that needs no introduction — and the other half will be getting New-York based Coheed and Cambria. I know a lot of people who are disappointed with getting Coheed and I feel that disappointment is merely because, for the most part, people going to Maiden are just unfamiliar with the band so Alice Cooper seems like the better of the two. When I discovered that Coheed was going to do a warmup tour in preparation for their slot with Maiden, I jumped at the chance to go see these guys live as my previous chance to see them was dashed. So after getting to Charleston and grabbing a bite to eat, I headed to the show with girlfriend in tow, dealt with some press pass and mobile phone issues which could have nearly ruined the evening, then enjoyed a hot and humid night of some awesome music.
Baltimore’s Pianos Become the Teeth opened the show. Their screamo/post-rock sound is a far cry from what most people who visit Hellbound might be into, but if you are into either of those styles, this might be something right up your alley. The college crowd ate up their sound, but the band was plagued with terrible light which made it difficult for them to be seen unless you were standing five feet away. Vocalist Kyle Durfey spent his time either jumping across the stage wildly or hiding behind his hair and the mic, and there were very few times that his face was exposed to the crowd.
Following Pianos Become the Teeth’s brief set, New York’s Moving Mountains took the stage. This post-hardcore meets indie rock trio (quartet for live situations) was less energetic than Pianos, but arguably more emotional. At times their sound even had hints of Coheed and Cambria. The crowd was completely in tune with these guys. There were definitely some people here to see them, and the band won over many others. If indie rock is even remotely your interest, it would be worth your time to check these guys out. To top things off, they were all really nice guys and helped me out a bit when things got a little hairy during shooting.
After a fairly quick set-up with one of the oddest things I’ve seen — a stage manager in full suit and tie — Coheed and Cambria opened with “Time Consumer” from their debut album and followed it with No World For Tomorrow from one of their more recent albums with the same name. Without getting into full-on album critiques, it’s safe to say that Coheed and Cambria is one of the most progressive bands around right now that is commercially viable. Each album is different from the last. The band started off closer to an indie rock/hardcore sound and has slowly moved in a more progressive sound pulling from a variety of influences. Sure, they may not be everyone’s thing, but for a band to be able to pull in influences from Maiden and Queen, while being compared to Rush, and actually appeal to a large fanbase in today’s market? That’s impressive. And if you dig concept albums, how about a concept discography? Yeah, their whole discography is one long story. The name of the band is actually derived from two characters in the story.
Coheed managed to maintain a pretty balanced setlist with cuts from all of their albums. Their concentration seemed to be from their debut, followed closely by their other albums. Fan favourites like “Feathers”, “Devil in Jersey City”, and “In Keeping Secrets” along with the more radio friendly singles “Welcome Home” and “A Favour House Atlantic” were all present and accounted for. While I was hoping for a cover of “The Trooper” which had become a staple for the band over the past few years, it looks like they’ve replaced it with a cover of Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know” and if you don’t recognize that song by name, you would probably it by sound as it’s currently being played everywhere. It makes sense though, as playing a cover song by a band that you’re opening for might be seen as poor taste by people you’re trying to win over.
Overall, as someone who hasn’t had a chance to see them live, I was really happy with not only their song choices, but their performance as well. Singer/Guitarist Claudio Sanchez bantered with crowd members between songs, played a double necked guitar at one point, and even went to the second floor to walk around and play in the audience during their closing number, “Welcome Home”. Bassist Zach Cooper, brand new to the band, was noticeably enjoying every moment and interacting with the audience. Josh Eppard, drummer, and Travis Stever, guitarist, kept to themselves with a smile for the audience here and there. The audience loved every moment of it, yelling each song at the top of their lungs and the occasional crowd surfer making their way to the front.
If you get a chance to see Coheed and Cambria live, do it, and if you manage to see them on the Iron Maiden tour, I’m really jealous. If you’re not really sure where to start with Coheed and Cambria, check out No World For Tomorrow as it’s the closest they get to a straight-up metal album. They really are a fantastic addition as an opener for the Maiden tour despite naysayers.