Games Meet Metal: Coheed and Cambria w/ Fang Island: Another Disturbying Concert Review

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Monday, October 25, 2010

Coheed and Cambria w/ Fang Island: Another Disturbying Concert Review

Coheed and Cambria along with a couple other punk/rock/metal bands played at the Garrick Centre last night here in Winnipeg. I've been looking forward to the show for quite some time as I am a big fan of Coheed and I've never had a chance to see them perform in concert. I'd hope that everyone knows of who they are by now, but they seem to evade the spotlight which I think works in their favor. I find them to be a very unique band and I really enjoy the multi-media aspect of their art. For the uninformed, Coheed and Cambria write concept albums that are all part of one, huge storyline. Claudio Sanchez is the driving force behind the narrative and he has been able to expand his creativity into a comic series called the Amory Wars. The story Claudio's created falls under the science fiction drama but it includes parts of his personal life as well. Being a pretty big nerd, I picked had to check this whole thing out and I've been a fan ever since.

First off, I want to say something about the Garrick Centre. I believe it was converted from an old movie/performing arts theatre. The first band I saw perform there was Opeth shortly after The Ghost Reveries was released. It was in March and I remember it snowing as were were waiting outside to see them. I thought that the idea of a theatre-turned-concert hall was a great idea, right until I walked in and stood on the super slanty floor right in front of the stage. Oh man, that floor sucks so bad! Sure, there are 500 seats in the back of the room but I'm not gonna sit down for Opeth, it's Opeth!! After that show I made a promise to never go back to that place no matter which band rolled through. A couple of years later Opeth came back and I couldn't say no, it's Opeth!! So I went and stood on that horrible, piece of shit floor and promised myself that was the last time. When I saw that Coheed and Cambria were coming to Winnipeg I have to admit that my heart sank once I saw where they chose to perform. The Slanty floor is still there and it still sucks. But other than that, the Garrick is great. Lots of room. Fresh coat of paint. Great sound. Good staff. Can't really ask for much else. Oh yea... Could you please, please fix your floor?

Now, onto the acts. Coheed and Cambria brought along two other bands to open for them. Unfortunately, I can't for the life of me remember who the first opening bad was and I can't seem to find any information anywhere on who they were. I arrived late to the show and I missed the first couple songs of their set, but from what I heard I can say that I was really impressed. They had a great sound and they were very tight. If someone reading this knows who they are, could you please let me know? I heard their name like three times, and I was standing right next to them while the second opener was on stage. And if the members of the band are reading this, I am really sorry that I can't remember what your name is. If it's any consolation you guys kicked ass up there!

Fang Island were the second openers. I had never heard of this group prior to the show and I had an assumption that their sound would have been similar to Coheed and Cambria. What Fang Island brings to the table is very close to that of Coheed, but they have a distinct East Coast feel to them, almost Celtic. Maybe that has to come from the fact that all four guitarists (three guitar and one bass) perform vocals simultaneously and that I saw a great East Coast rock band play on Thursday. For the most part though, these guys are more of an instrumental band than anything else. I don't know if it was the sound mix that they were given or not, but there were a number of times were I was having a hard time trying to pick out each instrument. In addition to the guitars, bass and drums there were two keyboards that were used to play samples, or loop tracks during the songs. I'm sure these guys sound amazing if they had some good mixing, but last night the music just sounded like a giant wall of sound. But not in a good, Devin Townsend kind of way.

Oh, that hair. It's even more epic in person! Coheed had a very stripped down setup from what I've seen from videos I've watched on YouTube and photos taken of their performances. I don't blame them as the Garrick has a pretty small stage. What I found a little odd is that they didn't have any kind of security gates to separate the crowd from the stage. I don't know if this was at the band's request, or because the Garrick doesn't roll like that anymore. So naturally people were pressed up right against the stage and when people were crowd surfing, the only place they could go is right at the feet of the musicians. There were a few cases where Claudio had to step away from the mic in the middle of a verse to avoid being taken out by a rowdy fan. The band didn't take a lot of time between the songs but when they did they wanted to make sure that everyone was okay and comment on how crazy we were. If it was anyone else there I would have been concerned but it looked like the band were really enjoying the energy of the crowd and they treated us with an amazing performance!

The music that they played last night was mostly from their second album, In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth. They opened with the title track much to the crowd's delight and that set the stage for how the rest of the evening was going to play out. It was great to hear the older stuff performed live and all of the music that they played was excellent. Also featured were a number of songs from their latest album, Year of the Black Rainbow such as Here We are Juggernaut, The Broken and Pearl of the Stars which was one of my favourite songs of the night. I was a little disappointed that we didn't get to hear a lot of songs from the Good Apollo albums, but beggars can't be choosers. They finished their set with No World for Tomorrow and then played Wake Up and Welcome Home in the encore which closed the night off perfectly.

After waiting this long to see Coheed and Cambria perform I have to say that they did not disappoint. The band sounded great and Claudio's voice was amazing. The crowd was energetic for the whole show, even managing to crowd surf during the slower tunes. I think this will be the last show that I will get to see for a long while and I think this was one of the best shows that I saw all year. Coheed and Cambria plan on closing out October by playing a few more shows in Ontario and then they head across the pond to play in the UK. If you're sitting on the fence and you're not sure if you should go you should do yourself the favor and pick up a ticket and check out this band!


  1. Hope Atlantic was the first opener

  2. Thanks a lot, I appreciate it. Turns out they're from Winnipeg, now I really feel like an asshole!