Supporting their latest release on Columbia Records, Year of the Black Rainbow, Coheed and Cambria arrived in The City of Brotherly Love to perform two straight nights at the Electric Factory. With support from locals Circa Survive and Torche, the weekend’s sold-out shows promised to be an extremely enjoyable experience for anyone interested in high-pitched vocals, shredding guitars, and mathy drumming.
Circa Survive began slightly after 9PM, walking on stage to an enormous hometown applause. Performing in front of a set of mirrors lining the back part of the stage, Circa Survive’s curious blend of progressive rock and post-hardcore seemed all the more mysterious with the reflective glass. “Get Out” kicked things off with frontman Anthony Green singing: “I can’t get started from the part where I left off yesterday / should have spent my time a little wiser!”. The crowd sang along with Green through most of the set, even on cuts from barely-a-month old Sky Blue Noise.
Just a handful of the band’s ten songs came from their latest album; the band’s 2005 debut, Juturna, surprisingly contributed four songs including an excellent performance of “The Glorious Nosebleed” with an extended jam tossed in. On Letting Go chipped in two more cuts, including the spacious “Living Together”. Lead by the winding guitars of Colin Frangicetto and Brendan Ekstrom (both former members of Philadelphia’s This Day Forward), “In the Morning and Amazing” was certainly one of the evening’s highlights.
The five-piece’s forty-five minute set neared its end with with the crowd-pleasing “In Fear and Faith”, one of Juturna‘s standout songs . Closer “Imaginary Enemy” offered Green a chance to showcase his range, and the Philadelphia local nailed the opportunity: indeed, Green sounded better than ever, evidence that the singer spent a considerable amount of time fine-tuning his vocals.
Stop the Fucking Car
In the Morning and Amazing
The Great Golden Baby
Through the Desert Alone
The Glorious Nosebleed
In Fear and Faith
Coheed and Cambria began with “One”, the first song on Year of the Black Rainbow. Lead by frontman Claudio Sanchez, Coheed and Cambria sounded as crisp as ever, but also way too loud for the 3000-capacity Electric Factory. Every hit on Chris Pennie’s kickdrum was eardrum-piercing, and songs which featured him wailing away on the double-bass pedal were nearly unlistenable. Moving further away from the stage helped, but the show was still too loud and often muddy. This was unfortunate because guitarist Travis Stever and bassist Michael Todd sounded spot-on but almost inaudible over the percussion.
Current single “Here We Are the Juggernaut” was enjoyable, but the band really shined when they executed older cuts like “The Velourium Camper III: Al the Killer” or “Everything Evil” with remarkable precision. In fact, the live performance of the latter The Second Stage Turbine song almost renders the studio cut obsolete: with Pennie on the skins, the song received extra fills making it sound enormous and truly fleshed out. The new “World of Lines” sounded great, another example of how intricate drumming really enhances Coheed and Cambria’s sound. Conversely, “Made Out of Nothing” was just too cluttered; the song never gets a chance to breathe, and the band could do a better job walking the line between “full” and “overcrowded”. “Three Evils” brought things back to the band’s pop sensibilities; Sanchez masterfully crafts simple lines (“Pull the trigger and the nightmare stops”) into tremendous hooks that force everyone in the crowd to sing along, as if they themselves were held at gunpoint.
“Time Consumer” was an excellent surprise, and “No World for Tomorrow” sounded enormous, exactly as the band intended it to. Breakout 2003 single “A Favor House Atlantic”, from the near-perfect In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3, captured the same pop-perfection that “Three Evils” managed; the sold out crowd sang along to the song’s signature lines: “Good eye, sniper / I shoot, and you run”. That album’s title track closed the first part of Coheed and Cambria’s set, building an enormous energy and tension that boiled over into chants demanding an encore. Of course the band’s “encore” was staged, but wrapping up the first sixty minutes of their setlist with an epic ten-minute performance was quite powerful.
The simple, industrial-influenced “Far” began Coheed and Cambria’s three-song encore. “Welcome Home” was predictably incredible and the night’s shining moment; this generation’s “War Pigs” or “Highway Star”, the song is a technical-yet-melodic gem. Rush-inspired “21:13” properly wrapped up the band’s ninety-minute setlist, taking the crowd through various movements that ultimately culminated in an eerie reprise of The Second Stage Turbine Blade‘s “IRO-Bot”.
Here We Are Juggernaut
The Velourium Camper III: Al the Killer
World of Lines
Made Out of Nothing (All That I Am)
Three Evils (Embodied In Love and Shadow)
Pearl of the Stars
No World for Tomorrow
Guns of Summer
A Favor House Atlantic
In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3
Supporting the brand new Year of the Black Rainbow, eight of the album’s twelve tracks predictably made up the seventeen-song setlist. Though the album is far from Coheed and Cambria’s best, it still contains a handful of very enjoyable tracks in a live setting. Joined by touring keyboardist Wes Styles, the Poughkeepsie four-piece sounded precise the entire evening, and, with the addition of some of the band’s strongest older cuts into the setlist– bonus points for including five songs from 2003’s In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3 — the night was excellent. Support from Circa Survive iced the already sweet cake. Don’t miss the chance to catch either of these bands on any future tours in the area, as it seems they each get better and better every year.