By Juan Jusino, Rock At Night St. Petersburg Correspondent
Venue: Jannus Live-St. Petersburg, Florida–March 12, 2016
For many years, we grew accustomed to the traditional story of many bands that started crafting their music in their garage spaces, and eventually, if good enough, the world would eventually notice them. As times have changed and the state of the music industry has shifted from what it used to be, the garage-band success story has become a rarity. Some bands are still lucky enough to land radio hits, perhaps a top-charting album or two, but for most, after their spotlight dims and mass-mainstream-media support goes away, it all goes downhill from there. Many manage to continue to tour smaller venues than those played during their often short-lived success, or as supporting acts for newer bands. Sadly, this is typically the modern life cycle of a band. Nevertheless, as with everything, some still manage to break the cycle and manage to defy the expectation by developing a cult following. This is the case of one of the best cult bands of this era, Coheed and Cambria, whose most recent tour stopped by Jannus Live in St. Petersburg, Florida, on March 12, 2016.
With seven concept albums written around a science-fiction storyline called The Amory Wars (written by lead singer Claudio Sanchez), Coheed and Cambria has been long defined as an intricate prog-rock/alternative/metal act. Their eighth and latest release, The Color Before the Sun (2015) is their first non-conceptual album, and also marks a departure from their mostly progressive style, while embarking in a different, more poppy but equally beautiful sound. The band recently hit the road for a 20-plus-city tour in support of The Color Before the Sun. Luckily, for St. Petersburg fans, Jannus Live was stop number 15 of the tour, which also happened to coincide with Claudio’s 38th birthday.
With a dimly lit stage surrounded by only blue lights, the silhouette of Claudio’s iconic hair appeared dead centered as he stroke the first chords of “Ghost” from The Color Before the Sun. The excitement was felt immediately. The barely visible silhouettes accompanied by the soft verses of “Ghost” were the right tease for what was about to happen. The moment felt as the true calm before the storm. As the last notes of “Ghost” sounded, the stage went completely black and the band walked away to swap instruments. Shortly thereafter, the first notes of “In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3” resonated across the venue. The crowd immediately felt the sudden shift in tone and I found myself in the eye of the storm. The energy coming from the stage in front of me, and the energy coming from the crowd behind me was truly unbelievable. The level of excitement remained at a high from that point on.
With an elaborate light show worthy of an arena act, the show was able to carefully captivate the essence of every song. The set of over 15 songs included other fan favorites such as “Blood Red Summer”, “The Crowning”, “A Favor House Atlantic”, “No World for Tomorrow” and “Welcome Home”, and also a great doses of newer ones such as “Island”, “Here to Mars” and “You Got Spirit, Kid”.
After the band played the second acoustic song of the night, “Peace To The Mountain”, the band left the stage and later returned to have the crowd sing “Happy Birthday” to Claudio before resuming the show for a three-song encore. As the band played their last few songs, I moved away to capture a few more shots, and then I spotted a kid and his dad singing along to “Here We Are Juggernaut”. The kid’s face was glowing with enjoyment and I instantly wondered about how much this experience probably meant to him. I snapped a shot of him and walked away with one of the most significant moments I have ever captured.
Without a doubt, Coheed and Cambria is an act hard to follow, and Claudio Sanchez is a true modern day rock star. It is worth noting that this is a band that is often compared to the legendary Canadian trio and ultimate cult band, Rush. A comparison that should be taken as the ultimate complement by any band and one that I cannot argue. From Claudio’s unusual voice, to their complex prog-rock arrangements and elaborate light shows, the comparison is fair. Without a doubt, Coheed and Cambria is another cult band with a loyal cult following. I only hope like Rush has done, they can also stick around for 40 years.
Coheed and Cambria is: Claudio Sanchez, Travis Stever, Josh Eppard and Zach Cooper; Genre: progressive rock, new prog, alternative rock, progressive metal, post-hardcore; Hometown: Nyack, New York
Welcome Home live
Blood Red Summer
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