The atmosphere of The Gov was welcoming and comfortable as we weaved our way around the modest crowd to find the most comfortable spot to watch the proceedings. As Coheed and Cambria’s first Adelaide headlining date in years, it was safe to predict that a majority of their admittedly niche fanbase would attend. While many fans have dropped off since the band stopped furthering the Amory Wars Saga in 2007, there is still and equal amount of fans that have remained open-minded to their post Amory output as well, often to their own benefit. Their latest effort ‘The Color Before the Sun’ received some understandably mixed reception as it diverged from the concept driven songwriting the band had once championed so proudly and in turn felt fairly corny at parts. So did this mixed reception translate into an awkward live experience?
Well first off we had the supports, with Australia’s own Psychedelic Rock misfits Closure in Moscow set to open the show. You couldn’t have chosen a better band to open a Coheed show as their groove-centric psych riffs alongside the goofball antics and jaw-dropping vocal prowess of frontman Manny Zennelli got the relatively small crowd of early arrivals moving. Highlights included Manny’s gutsy roar as the chorus of “Kissing Cousins” kicked in, which was practically deafening and the small dance-party which ensued during “The Church of The Technochrist”.
As Closure in Moscow exited the stage, the crowd was left exhilarated and wholly ready to embrace some more raucous tunes. After a brief wait Coheed finally took to the stage; however, they were armed with only an acoustic guitar and some light percussion to perform the track “Ghost”. Opening with an acoustic deep-cut is pretty against the norm, with most bands opting to get the energy riling from the get go, but the decision worked in Coheed’s favour as Claudio Sanchez’s emotive performance set a special intimate tone. It wouldn’t be the last acoustic cut from “The Color of The Sun” the band would play, with “Peace To The Mountain” coming later and sounding far more inspired than on record.
Thankfully the rousing guitarwork came in thick and fast as the band roared into an epic rendition of fan-favourite “In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3” which had the crowd shouting the chorus back in momentous fashion and generally revelling in the glory of the occasion. Songs like the classic “Devil in Jersey City” and the Afterman cuts like ”Key Entity Extraction V: Sentry The Defiant” went over exceptionally well with the rabidly engaged crowd. Coheed and Cambria have an impressively tight stage presence, never missing a beat amidst all the guitar theatrics, technical drum patterns and of course their much beloved Pop melodies. At some points it almost felt too well executed, like the band have fine-tuned the art of the live performance so much that they’ve lost any air of unpredictability, but there genuine stage presence helped to dispel any feelings of illegitimacy.
Closing out their gargantuan set with their most popular single “Welcome Home”, Claudio saved all the ridiculous antics for last as he pulled out the totally impractical (but rad) double-headed guitar and played a portion of the song with his teeth. It was a great way to wrap up what was a totally fun set from top to bottom. Coheed and Cambria satisfied fans both old and new with impeccably tight performances of both old favourites and fresh cuts.