Live review: Coheed and Cambria @ the Ogden TheatreBy Cassandra Schoon | May 3rd, 2011 | 2 comments
Coheed and Cambria fans skew loud, ardent and more than a little nerdy. Considering that Coheed is basically a prog-rock band that writes soundtracks to their own Sci-Fi comic series, there were probably a number of World of Warcraft raids that had to be rescheduled around the band’s Monday night show. But when a big, devoted crowd — unconcerned with self-conscious cool — shows up in support of their favorite band, the energy is incomparable. Such was the case at the Ogden Monday, where Coheed and Cambria stopped over on a tour celebrating the 10th anniversary of their pivotal first album, “Second Stage Turbine Blade.”
Coheed is known for intense guitar instrumentation: intricate, impassioned dialogues between frontman Claudio Sanchez and guitarist/vocalist Travis Stever. But for the first 40 minutes of each show on this tour, the band presented an acoustic set with a handful of classics as well as a few new songs. While the acoustic setup offered a lower-key way to ease into what everyone knew was going to be a loud show, the guitar work of Stever and Sanchez was even more impressive without the margin of error afforded by amps and distortion. Further, without the trademark decibel levels of a plugged-in Coheed show, each acoustic song featured an oddly complimentary background chorus of the faithful crowd, singing along to every lyric.
After a quick intermission, the band returned to perform “Second Stage Turbine Blade” in its entirety. As soon as the opening riffs of “Time Consumer” began, it was clear that the band had carefully honed their craft in the decade since the album’s release. With stronger synergy, tighter artistry and just an overall polish to the sound, the album is not just louder or longer when performed live, but unmistakably better.
Though other high-concept bands putting on a high-concept show might have moments where they lose the crowd, this was never the case with Coheed. The constant, adoring noise never stopped, the energy never faded. It’s never been particularly “hip” to enjoy prog-rock, but Coheed fans don’t worry about what is or isn’t cool: they just love what they love. And when one bears personal witness to Stever’s fervent guitar, Sanchez’ staggering vocal range, or the moments where he is screaming into his guitar’s pickup for extra effect, it’s hard not to love them, too.
Cassandra Schoon is a Denver freelance writer and regular Reverb contributor.