LIVE @ THE KOOL HAUS
By: Fridae Mattas
Coheed and Cambria are anything but new to the game; they have been around since 1995 and come from a small town in New York with music created on a theme. I am still confused because from what I have researched they (Coheed and Cambria) are the main characters in a story (The Amory Wars) of albums (Second Stage Turbine Blade was their first major debut). Evidently only a bunch of guys would come up with something like this and of course there is a series of comics. Coheed And Cambria is Claudio Sanchez – Lead Vocals/Guitar, Travis Stever – Guitar/Backup Vox, Michael Todd – Bass/Backup Vox and Chris Pennie on the Drums. No idea what they sounded like live, I have heard of them before but never got into their music because the vocals in many songs my ears didn’t take a liking to. I was covering FAT (Toronto Alternative Fashion Week), my friend and Guest Correspondent was to cover the April 27th Coheed and Cambria Neverender: Second Stage Turbine Blade Tour stop in Toronto but fell ill a few days prior to the show. Of course her recovery is far more important than any show and I gladly covered it for her. The second day of FAT coverage was sacrificed for the sake of following through with reviewing this show, to attend both events was impossible even if I could fly, by the time the second set was a wrap at the Kool Haus the last runway show ended at 99 Sudbury. The venues are placed at total opposite ends of the city, if they were closer together that could have been achievable.
Completely unaware of how this show was to unfold, I was hoping my ears weren’t going to cry. This show was different than most, this one had two sets, an eight track Acoustic set followed by The Second Stage Turbine Blade full electric set of seventeen tunes. In total Coheed And Cambria played twenty five songs between both sets. The minute Claudio Sanchez hit the stage solo for the Acoustic’s first few, the crowd shrieked with excitement! As he strummed the first chord in ‘Always and Never’ the fans sang the words for him before he opened his mouth, I actually couldn’t hear him during a few tunes because the crowd sing-a-long was very loud as a whole. They told me the door numbers when I left the building, I was shocked at the numbers it seemed like a whole lot more than three hundred once you were in the pack but I guess that’s because of the venues layout, the crowd actually had space to move unless of course you were at the front of the mosh pit getting kicked in the head by crowd surfers who didn’t start flying until the second set. The rest of the band eventually joined Sanchez on stage for the remainder of the acoustic set which seemed to dragged on to me because I was unfamiliar with ninety five percent of the songs they played, the only track I knew was played in the second set. I stayed to watch and listen to the remainder of the first set but soon had a wave of A.D.D, needed to go outside for a break and to wake myself up it was boring me to sleep. The fans enjoyed the stripped down version of their favorite songs but to me they just sat there on stage some all serious looking except Pennie who was bringing the beat. My ears clearly do not like Sanchez’s voice on record in fact it makes me laugh, I can’t take him seriously in many of their songs. This all changed at the show, his voice sounded a million times better live than on record and my ears actually were feeling the tunes much more. If I were to listen only to the bands live performances I could get into them but I am still lost in regards to this whole story of “Coheed and Cambria”.
The second set brought some much needed electric guitar to my ears, it’s an addiction for me. Many people don’t understand but those of you that do, this was exactly what I needed. There is no doubt when you see Sanchez with that Axe he was first a Guitarist, not many Axemasters I have seen who can do what Claudio does with his Electric Guitar. Rick Jackett of Finger Eleven is still the Axemaster but live Slash and Claudio Sanchez are not far behind. I was amazed at Claudio’s skill; the sound that emanated from the incredible instrument he played so phenomenally well blew my mind. Bassist Michael Todd was one of the most genuinely entertaining of his kind that I have seen to date, he wasn’t always flailing about predictably with a fake smile on his face it was pure raw emotion when he played that Bass and when he did fly around it came straight from the heart because he was feeling every note. I wish Guitarist Travis Stever stepped up to the plate and connected with the band a little more he seemed a bit distant while the others were bouncing off of each other and the fans fanatical energy he was the lone ranger. Not even ten seconds into the Electric set when bodies started flying around, I had security tapping me every five seconds and I was running for my life more than I was shooting the band. I decided to stay either to the left or to the right trying not to be in the centre for more than a few seconds because of them flyers.
It was funny to me that security was saying Coheed And Cambria had more media covering their show than Korn, I wouldn’t know I have never seen a Korn set. To me this band probably kicks Korn’s ass when it comes to performance, skill and fluidity, plus they approved FridaeTV to cover their show clearly not afraid of the truth unlike Korn and that makes Coheed And Cambria that much cooler. The fans knew every song and when I say every song I mean every single word to all 25 tunes they played from the first track down to the final encore “Elf Tower New Mexico” which was done acoustically. My favorite track in this unique show was “The Black Rainbow” the only track I actually knew and it was the last of the encores prior to the final. Good thing I came back after a brief smoke break otherwise I would have missed it. Coming from someone who didn’t know what to expect, any rock fan needs to check this band out, that is if you didn’t know already about these four extraordinary musicians, Coheed and Cambria are Fridae Approved!
Acoustic (Set One) Second Stage Turbine Blade
1. Always and Never
2. Mother Superior
3. Pearl of the Stars
4. Iron Fist
5. Milk Foot (Davenport Cabinet cover)
6. Who Watches the Watchmen? (The Prize Fighter Inferno cover)
7. Here We Are Juggernaut
8. Wake Up