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[Concert Review] Coheed and Cambria: “Neverender GAIBSIV” tour

Coheed and Cambria performed 'Good Apollo I'm Burning Star IV, Volume 1: From Fear Through The Eyes of Madness' in its entirety.

I swear Neverenders never get old.

For those of you not familiar with Coheed and Cambria, a Neverender is exactly what it sounds like: It’s a concert where the band plays one (or a few) of their albums sequentially cover to cover. It’s a beautiful thing. If you’re like me and enjoy appreciating songs as part of the full picture of the album they were released on, it is a live music event dream come true!

In celebration of the 12th birthday of their most successful album, this year’s Neverender was a full play through of Good Apollo I’m Burning Star IV, Volume 1 : From Fear Through the Eyes of MadnessGAIBSIV was the band’s third studio release and is the proud holder of their mega-hit single “Welcome Home” (which I believe was required by law to be everyone’s Myspace profile song for at least 2 months back in 2005). GAIBSIV is a continuation of a story from the albums prior which chronicles The Amory Wars.  You can pick up companion copies of the companion comics for this album which are currently being released at BOOM! studios.

Opening for Coheed and Cambria was Rhode Island-based prog-rock band The Dear Hunter.  The band originated as a side project of Casey Crescenzo, formerly of The Receiving End of Sirens.  The band boasts and impressive discography of seven studio albums, a demo, two live albums and 13 EP’s.

The Dear Hunter put on an energetic and entertaining opening act despite a lack-luster (and honestly a little headache-inducing) light show accompaniment.  I was not previously familiar with the band’s music at all prior to seeing them perform at this show and was pleasantly surprised. Though I don’t know that I will be going out of my way any time soon to look up their full discography, I wouldn’t mind stumbling across them again on Pandora in the future. I do appreciate that they have an extensive storyline to tell across their albums in true prog-rock fashion, although I think I have my hands full enough following The Amory Wars at the moment.

I may be a little biased, but I do honestly believe that Coheed and Cambria consistently put on some of the best live shows. This year’s Neverender was no exception. The visuals on screen behind the band ranged from video clips to trippy, moving artwork and really added to the feel and experience of the full album. The energy from the band was high and engaging. Something about being able to anticipate the next song in the lineup also seems to really amp up the audience in a way that is incomparable to other concerts.

After the conclusion of GAIBSIV (including hidden track Bron-Y-Aur, a nod to Led Zepplin), the band ended the set with a three song encore that included “Island,” “Delirium Trigger” and “In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3.”

Coheed fans are an interesting group.  We refer to each other as Children of the Fence (COTF), a reference to Heaven’s Fence: The universe in which The Amory Wars takes place.  By the end of the encore, most of us in the back row had one arm around our neighbor and our other index finger up in the air during the lyric “we were one among The Fence.”

Overall, the show was phenomenal.  For those of you in Europe you can still get tickets to the European leg of the tour, which I highly recommend.

In This Moment Announces Summer Tour

In This Moment will tour with Motionless In White and Avatar.

This summer, L.A.-metalcore band In This Moment will embark on a tour to bring their one-of-a-kind theatrics to fans across North America.

In This Moment’s debut album, Beautiful Tragedy, was released in 2007. Their 2014 album Black Widow debuted at number eight on Billboard’s top 200 chart, giving the band their highest position in the charts to date. The album featured radio hits such as “Sick Like Me” and “Sex Metal Barbie.”

Joining In This Moment on tour will be Motionless In White and Avatar. For a full list of tour dates, visit www.inthismomentofficial.com/tour.

[Blogs from the Pit] The Color Before the Sun Tour @ The Fillmore 03/05/16

Silver Snakes

Silver Snakes

A few weekends ago I made the hike back to Philadelphia for The Color Before The Sun Tour with headliner Coheed and Cambria alongside Glassjaw and I The Mighty, with opening act Silver Snakes. Unlike the Safetysuit show last month which was upstairs in The Foundry, this took place in the main venue downstairs at The Fillmore. It’s a bit of a strange set up to say the least. There’s a wide open pit/GA area in front of the stage that’s flanked on either side by a metal barricade behind which there’s a wall-length bar on either side. There’s also a GA balcony upstairs and a few seats towards the back on both levels. All in all not a bad venue, but the having to flash your wristband every time you pass the barricade from bar to GA area and back did get a little annoying.

I got to the show a little early and headed over to will call to pick up my photo pass. This was my first show ever having a photo pass so I was naturally nervous and feeling pretty out of my element. Everyone else who was in the photo pit with me had crazy equipment and were talking shop about what shows they’d already shot this month and where they were headed next. I do have to say though that all of them were welcoming, pleasant, and helpful and not once did they make me feel out of place.

The show opened with up-and-comers Silver Snakes who are new to Evil Ink. It was a good energy to start a show. Everyone was sort of feeling out the venue and the sound these guys had really helped warm up the audience. Unfortunately their set was rather short and by the time I was really getting into what they had to offer they were calling it a night. I look forward to seeing where these guys go because I feel like Silver Snakes are really going to come into their own over the next few years.

I The Mighty

I The Mighty

I really cannot say enough good things about I The Mighty. They’ve got the sound, they’ve got the energy, and they’ve got the stage presence. Yet another disappointingly short 5 song set list had me wishing I could catch another show on this tour just to see these guys crank out a few more songs. These guys know how to use a whole stage to their advantage; running from one end to another and never letting the flow slow down. From the second they opened with “Lady of Death” off of their most recent release Connector right until the last note of “Speak to Me” they honestly never. Stopped. Moving. It was incredible and it had me so pumped up for the rest of the show…

Which is maybe why I was so underwhelmed by Glassjaw. I KNOW, I KNOW I’m going to catch a ton of flak for this but honestly the only energetic thing about this performance was their strobe lights on steroids which I lovingly called a an epileptic’s death wish. Their lights were nauseatingly fast and bright and their songs just didn’t translate well live. At one point I had one of the guys standing next to me ask if they had just been playing one long song for their entire set because it all ran together. It didn’t help that their fans were rowdy and rude either. If there’s one thing I pride myself on and look for in other people it’s show etiquette and that all went right out

Glassjaw

Glassjaw

the window for this set. Right after “Mu Empire”, their second song of the night, lead singer Daryl Palumbo stopped everything to have security escort “that asshole in the button down starting shit in the pit” out the emergency exit for trying to throw punches and (allegedly from what’s I’ve heard) spitting in a girl’s face. Two people got helped out of the pit after getting kicked in the face by crowd surfers and a couple were escorted out for drunkenly stumbling around the bar with their hands down each other’s pants (AND A PARTRIDGE IN A PEAR TREE). So between all the distractions and trying not to throw up from the light show from hell I have to say I enjoyed Glassjaw’s set the least. Maybe it was just a bad experience for me, or maybe they just aren’t my style. I plan to give them another listen outside of the live music scene and maybe then I’ll find a new appreciation for them. Until then? Meh.

Coheed1

Coheed and Cambria

And then… like a (solid… not strobing) beacon in the night, there was Coheed and Cambria. Enter Claudio and Travis, two acoustic guitars in hand and a soft, purple spotlight. They opened with just the two of them doing an acoustic version of “Ghost” off their newest album The Color Before the Sun for which the tour is named. After a quick gear change the band came on stage for “In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3” and the crowd when nuts. Coheed and Cambria always put on a great show and this was no exceptions. They played a variety of their repertoire and played at least one song from every album excluding Year of the Black Rainbow and Afterman: Ascension. They closed their primary set with “Audience” and “Peace to the Mountain” which, being the last two songs on the latest studio album, felt like a fitting end to the show. These two songs feel like they belong together and I’m glad they were played back to back as they appeared on TCBTS. After a 5 minutes departure the guys came back for an encore starting with “You’ve Got Spirit Kid” which ended with a confetti drop and a very happy audience.

Their second encore song choice was “Everything Evil” which felt fitting as that particular day with the 13th anniversary of the release of Second Stage Turbine Blade. At this point I had navigated my way out of the GA area and had hung out at the bar stage left. There was a bearded guy to my right who was belting out every word to “Everything Evil” with me and we were having a total blast. Coheed ended the show with “Welcome Home” which of course had everyone screaming and going insane from the first note. Me and my buddy at the bar were singing to each other arm in arm through the entire thing and after the last notes were play we high fived and hugged each other. As I’ve said before and I’ll say again, the people you find at a show can make (or break) a show as much as the artists themselves can.

I left the venue with no voice, a ringing in my ears, and a camera with a full SD card and I couldn’t have been happier.

[Blogs from the Pit] Safetysuit Live @ The Foundry 02/17/16

Yesterday I had the pleasure of hitting up the Safetysuit show in Philly at The Foundry. Let me start by saying what a cool little venue this place is! Ok, so it’s technically a venue in a venue? (How meta!) The Foundry is located inside The Fillmore; it’s an intimate upstairs area with a decent sized bar, red leather booth seating with tables along the far wall, a few neat-o leather couches towards the back, and a smaller sized stage located to the left of the entryway. The joint wasn’t huge but it was the perfect size for the crowd we had. Not once during the show did I feel at all cramped or crushed while I was in the pseudo-pit area.

Opening for Safetysuit was a newcomer kid from South Africa named Connell Cruise. For those of you not familiar (like I wasn’t up until yesterday evening) this boy has some serious pipes on him. Like… holy crap. I usually go in to opening acts with low expectations because, let’s face it, we’ve all seen that home-town crew that thinks they’re hot shit but sounds like a cat yowling over the sound your high school nemesis pulling donuts in the parking lot. But this kid blew me the hell away. He did a short set including a few personal songs about falling in love with a girl who won’t let you come home to meet her folks (to be fair she was a princess, like… an actual honest to god princess. This dude… dated… a princess?!) and another highlighting the perfect response to when someone tells you “I just want to be friends”. He also did something hella cool by inviting local Philly artist Mackenzie Johnson up on stage to duet a song called “Let it Go”. I was able to snag a short clip from his most well-known song “Into the Wild” just to give you all an idea of just how killer this kid’s talent is live. I was impressed, entertained, and I was left actually wanting a longer set for an opening act for the first time since I saw Magic Man open for PANIC! at the Disco last summer. Just excellent.

Connel Cruise – “Into the Wild” Live (Clip):

Safetysuit opened with their newest single “Looking Up” to a screaming crowd that have waiting 3 long years to see them come back around. Lead singer, Douglas Brown, even made note of this looking out into the crowd after their opening set with open arms saying “PHILADELPHIA! YOU CAME BACK!”. Of course the crowd absolutely erupted. Doug went on to say how moving and humbling it was to have everyone in the crowd knowing that they all stuck around despite the touring dry spell since 2012.

Safetysuit – “Let Go” Live:

The entire vibe of the show was so laid back despite the energy of the performance. These guys are just the kind of artists that you feel like you want to invite over for a few beers on a Saturday afternoon. I think that might be why they draw such a diverse crowd. Looking around the audience the age range had to be from preteen to mid-60’s. And every last one of them was into it. They did a rockin cover of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up and may or may not have choked me up a bit (big girls don’t cry though, right?). They also gave us the honor of previewing two new songs. “Numbers or Faith” may be my new favorite Safetysuit song and no, I’m not overselling it. It’s a song that talks a lot about the state of the world and the way we choose the handle it. It’s powerful. But I’ll let you judge for yourselves:

Safetysuit – “Numbers or Faith” Live:

They also previewed another new one called “Pause” which is a really intimate piece about taking the time to really appreciate every moment in life as it comes. If these two songs are any inclination I think it’s safe to say that new Safetysuit is definitely gonna knock us to the floor with strong lyrical messages with some pretty intense melodies to back it up.

And leave it to these guys to do something completely out there. Towards the end of the set Doug decided to grab on to the rafters and swing himself, monkey-bar style, into the crowd where he dropped down to finish out his song. He also went around and took selfies in the crowd and even snagged a girls phone and took a video on stage of himself and his band mates for her. But that wasn’t really the out there part… Most bands throw guitar picks and drum sticks into the audience, which they did! But towards the end of the set, and this is true, Doug takes off his Nike’s, pulls out a Sharpie, signs them and, I shit you not, HUCKS THEM INTO THE FUCKING CROWD. Yep. Dude threw his sneakers into the audience. Funniest part? My boyfriend CAUGHT one of the damn things. Well… that is until the girl behind him went all Walking Dead on him and tried to claw his arm off for it after she slapped his glasses off his face. Needless to say he let her have it because his appendages and prescription lenses are a little more important that Doug’s sweaty shoes. It was kind of a cool thing to do though, can’t say I’ve seen any other artist do that before. (Don’t feel too bad for our lost memorabilia, the boyfriend was able to snatch a guitar pick out of the air about 15 minutes prior so we still got pretty lucky!)

Safetysuit – “Apology” Live:

They played a 12 song setlist and returned for a 4 song encore which included a lovely acoustic version of “Never Stop” which Doug prefaced by saying “We received a flood of emails when we announced this tour asking if we could dedicated this song to loved ones who wants to propose to their significant others during our show. We obviously couldn’t make everyone happy with that request but if you were one of those people…[whispering] now’s your chance.” Judging by the lack of screaming, I don’t believe anyone got engaged at our show but it was still a pretty cool experience to have the guys unplug for an acoustic piece. They ultimately closed with “On Your Side” and called it a night.

Overall: Incredible show, awesome venue, great opening act. Couldn’t have asked for a better night at The Foundry!

Setlist for Safetysuit @ The Foundry 02/17/16

-Looking Up
-Something I Said
-Let Go
-Staring At It
-Numbers or Faith
-Pause
-These Times
-Hallelujah (Leonard Cohen Cover)
-The Moment
-Someone Like You
-Beat Of Your Heart
-Apology

ENCORE:
-Get Around This
-Never Stop (Acoustic Version)
-Stay
-On Your Side