It is gratifying to see, just occasionally, that I get it right.
Six years back – give or take a month – I saw Coheed And Cambria one Sunday night in this venue and announced on the blog I wrote two before MV that: “really if Rush were in front of us tonight, they wouldn’t have been better than this. Coheed and Cambria were that good.”
A lot has happened since. Most importantly for this evening CaC have released the astonishingly good “The Unheavenly Creatures” record, but it is interesting too that when the Prologue begins the set, there is a real anticipation, a palpable buzz and a fizzing excitement in the crowd, that maybe wasn’t quite so noticeable last time (and the audience is a lot bigger).
If Coheed And Cambria are ready for the big leagues, then this is no more and no less than their promotion party.
Tracks from “….Creatures” bookend the show. It’s opener “The Dark Sentencer” does that job here, and the fabulous closer “Old Flames” does likewise. In between there is a smattering of new material, with the title track (this is already becoming a real crowd favourite) and “The Gutter” sounding impressive.
It doesn’t especially matter what is played, however, so much as the way it is delivered. There is a confidence about Coheed at the moment, a sort of innate belief. They are a band that lets the music do the talking, frontman Claudio Sanchez for all his skill, is a man of few words. Added to this they have an elaborate, back-lit light show and for much of the set it is a riot of colour to go along with the music that you can almost lose yourself in.
They don’t overstay their welcome, either. Coheed are a prog orientated band who can play with the best of them, but they have a hard rock heart and the whole thing is over in 80 glorious minutes.
It actually passes by in a real blur, “Here We Are Juggernaut” and “The Devil In Jersey City” are superb, and there are highlights pretty much everywhere you look. “Blood Red Summer” has a real chug, while “Favor House Atlantic” cranks things up a notch, gets the crowd surfers going and almost bursts out at you.
“Wake Up” – stripped down and providing a real breather – is perfect too, showcasing another side to the band and when they come back for their encore after the aforementioned “….Flames” Sanchez does so with a double neck guitar to herald the start of “Welcome Home” which becomes a communal singalong of rare quality.
It is not without irony, you suspect, that after this “God Gave Rock N Roll to You” (the Kiss Version) plays. The contrast between the two bands is stark. One is only in it for the music. The other is in it for anything but. Tonight though, if you wanted the best, then you got one of the most innovative and compelling bands around right now.
Surely Coheed and Cambria are the next arena rock band in waiting.