While Coheed & Cambria, Mastodon and Every Time I Die have operated in the same musical circles in the metal/rock underground for many years, it was not until this summer that the three bands were able to team up for a massive cross-country tour. With each band performing at the peak of their powers, there was a lot to like as the three bands came to the Greek Theater in Los Angeles on Saturday night.
Coheed and Cambria
Every Time I Die
Every Time I Die got the evening started off right with a hyper-speed 12-song set that showcased their blistering blend of technical metal and crushing hardcore. The show began with the crushing grooves of “Roman Holiday,” a searing blend of angular guitar riffage from Andy Williams and Jordan Buckley as well as a particularly vicious vocal performance from Keith Buckley. Things really began to pick up on the next song, the fast-paced “Glitches.” Anchored by a pummeling drum rhythm from Clayton “Goose” Holyoak, the song seemed to explode out of the PA system, as if you could literally feel the energy emanating from the stage.
A few songs later the band brought out an old classic, the dissonant and grinding hardcore of “Floater.” Once again Keith Buckley was in fine form, and his larynx-shredding vocals were truly something to hear. Later on in the set, Every Time I Die played another newer song, the slamming “The Coin Has a Say,” which was a showcase for bassist Stephen Micciche’s impressive rhythmic skills, holding the entire song together as it shifted tempos multiple times. And just like that, their set ended with a sweet rendition of their classic song “Map Change.” At this point in the night, the crowd was certainly hyped up, but the best was yet to come.
Ten years ago Mastodon released their critically acclaimed concept album Crack the Skye, a wild piece of music that exemplified the band’s unique style as the record merged brutal hardcore and metal with spacey progressive rock. Fans have been chomping at the bit ever since the record’s release to see some of these songs live, and they finally got their wish as the band performed the entire album to start their set.
Beginning with the massive riffs of “Oblivion” and continuing all the way through the epic “The Last Baron,” Mastodon were intent on giving the crowd a memorable spectacle. Between the interlocking vocals of guitarist Brent Hinds, drummer Brann Dailor and bassist Troy Sanders, each song from Crack the Skye sounded immense, a swirling collection of screaming dissonance, beautiful harmony and wild psychedelia. While Mastodon have been known more for their incredible studio output, the band has clearly stepped up their game in the live department. Performing Crack the Skye in full has clearly pushed the band to greater heights as they have never sounded so powerful in a concert setting. Another big highlight from the performance of CTS was the incredible “Divinations,” one of Mastodon’s most complex songs. The piece relied on a series of interlocking guitar leads from Hinds and Bill Kelliher that moved all over the place from sludgy grooves to soaring Iron Maiden-esque harmonies. Behind the band was a series of large vertical LED screens that played a series of animations based on the album’s concept, a wild storyline about astral projections, wormholes and Czarist Russia. The sheer grandeur of it all was truly something to take in, one of those long-awaited moments that fans have been dreaming of for a long time.
After completing the album, Mastodon came back on stage to roll through some classic songs, finishing their set with the bruising thrash metal of “Blood and Thunder.” Riding one of their catchiest riffs, the song sounded absolutely massive blasting through the PA system and it was the perfect conclusion to an impressive performance from Mastodon.
Over the course of nearly 20 years, Coheed & Cambria have developed a unique sound and a devoted fanbase, both of which were on display as the band took to the stage as the intro to their latest epic song “The Dark Sentencer” played over the PA. Then, the massive curtain at the front of the stage dropped as the band tore into the 8-minute long epic, a dizzying blend of slick metal riffs, booming drums and the soaring vocals of Claudio Sanchez. What makes a Coheed show so entertaining and memorable is the fact that their musical output is so varied and dynamic that one will never get bored with what is going on. After blowing through another heavy rocker in the form of “Sentry the Defiant,” the band mixed things up by playing the catchy pop/rock of “Unheavenly Creatures,” from their latest album of the same name.
Next up, Coheed played two fan favorites that elicited the largest cheers of the night: “In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3” and “A Favor House Atlantic.” The two songs represented polar opposite ends of their sound, with IKSSE3 being a massive prog metal epic and “A Favor House Atlantic” a bright slice of pop-punk. The crowd was happy to oblige, stepping in for Sanchez during the choruses to both songs and coming close to shaking the walls off the Greek Theater with their enthusiasm.
Since Coheed are still touring in support of The Unheavenly Creatures, they played a few more songs off of that record: “The Gutter” and “True Ugly.” Both songs featured some fiery guitar interplay between Sanchez and Travis Stever, along with some inspired drum work from Josh Eppard. Later on in the set, the band gave fans another big surprise by playing two seldom played songs: the sweeping ballad “Mother Superior” and the upbeat rock of “The Suffering.”
A few songs after that it was time to close out the evening in traditional Coheed fashion, with a performance of their most well-known song “Welcome Home.” Beginning with one of the most recognizable guitar riffs, the song was an absolute scorcher on this evening, with the band working through the metal epic in grandiose fashion, with Sanchez rocking out on a double-necked guitar for good measure. It was a fitting end to a fantastic night of live music, one in which each band brought their A-game, dazzling the audience for the entirety of the show in ways that few other live acts today can.
Coheed and Cambria setlist:
The Dark Sentencer
Key Entity Extraction V: Sentry the Defiant
In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3
A Favor House Atlantic
No World for Tomorrow
The Pavilion (A Long Way Back)
Ghost of Karelia
Crack the Skye
The Last Baron
I Am Ahab
Blood and Thunder
Every Time I Die setlist:
Underwater Bimbos From Outer Space
Decayin’ With the Boys
The Coin Has A Say
The New Black
All Photos: Boston Lynn Schulz