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Coheed and Cambria at First Avenue, 2/10/13

Coheed and Cambria at First Avenue, 2/10/13
Photo by Erik Hess

Coheed and Cambria
With Between the Buried and Me and Russian Circles
First Ave., Minneapolis
Sunday, February 10, 2013

Coheed and Cambria are metal to the core, but at that core lies a collection of songs that have underlying melodies that pull the parts together. Through a haze from the fog machine -- and also fog from the weed -- the band pulled out classic and new pieces amid a stage set with a light show and creepy, faceless mannequins.

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Slideshow: Coheed and Cambria at First Avenue, 2/10/13

You don't think of the ukelele when you think of a rock music, but the band pulled out the tiny instrument for their opening number "Pretelethal," an epic building piece that previewed the flavor of the evening. Much of the band's new album, The Afterman: Ascension, is centered around a fictional character named Sirius Amory. The story of Sirius plays around his discovery of the energy sources of the Keywork, thus the reason much of the songs on the album are titled "Key Entity Extraction," and eventually coming to find that it is the afterlife. The "Key Entity Extraction"s weren't played in order, but they still held the epicness that was promised in each song.

Coheed and Cambria at First Avenue, 2/10/13
Coheed and Cambria at First Avenue, 2/10/13
Photos by Erik Hess

Compared to Rush, not in music, but in delivery, Coheed resemble the bluesy-inspired rock band, especially on "No World for Tomorrow." The bluesy open of the song had lead singer Claudio Sanchez raising his finger -- no, not the middle one -- to the sold-out crowd, leading into a bridge that showed off Sanchez's range with its soaring vocals. The lead singer is charismatic and enchanting his his head of curly hair. With so much headbanging, he often traded from pulling it back and letting it flow freely.

A straight-up rock show, the band barely conversed with the crowd, but mid-set Claudio asked, "Thanks a lot. How are you guys doing tonight? Are you having a good time?" From the looks of it, the crowd certainly was, but the band didn't wait for a response. They were gonna rock people's faces off no matter what.

The title track off The Afterman: Ascnesion, an ambitious piece that is a step in the new direction of the band, lead into the driving "Here We Are Juggernaut." "The Dark Side of Me" played with the backdrop screen that had images of alien-like characters reminiscent of the band's mannequin props. "The Dark Side of Me" segued into the daring "In Keeping Secrets of the Silent Earth: 3," which revisited much of the evenings set into a medley.
 

Coheed and Cambria at First Avenue, 2/10/13
Photo by Erik Hess

For the encore, the band slowed it down with the acoustic and lovely "Wake Up," proving that they weren't just one wall of sound. "Key Entity Extraction I: Domino the Destitute" is the first installment of the "Key Entity"s and told the saga in the seven minute narrative. For those brave enough to venture out the snowy evening, they were treated to Sanchez's grand guitar solo on "Welcome Home," classic Coheed and Cambria.

Critic's bias: I honestly have heard the band's name a lot, but have never heard their music before. They are the epitome of metal in the new century.

The crowd: More metalheads than bros.

Overheard in the crowd: "His hair reminds me of Animal from the Muppets."

Random notebook dump: The Amory Wars comic series from Claudio is being developed into a full-length action movie.

Setlist

Pretelethal
Key Entity Extraction V: Sentry the Defiant
A Favor House Atlantic
Goodnight, Fair Lady
No World For Tomorrow
The Crowing
Key Entity Extraction III: Vic the Butcher
Key Entity Extraction IV: Evagria the Faithful
The Afterman
Here We Are Juggernaut
The Dark Side of Me
In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3

Encore
Wake Up
Key Entity Extraction I: Domino the Destitute
Welcome Home


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