Saturday, September 29, 2012

Coheed and Cambria blasts off

Guitarist Claudio Sanchez faces off with Josh Eppard (Sam McLennan photo)
C&C's Claudio Sanchez (Sam McLennan photo)

The Amory Wars may be over for Coheed and Cambria but the band hasn’t lost its fight. Headlining The Palladium in Worcester on Sept. 28, Coheed and Cambria touched on songs from across the four main Amory records and its prequel, plus showcased three songs from the forthcoming “Afterman” project.

Few bands fare so much better on their own versus in an opening or festival slot than Coheed and Cambria does. Because the band’s songs are fictional narratives with cleverly interwoven broader themes, it’s best to let them unfurl slowly. Not gingerly, but slowly to fully appreciate their cinematic sweep. The band coursed through 15 songs over an hour and a half, starting with “No World for Tomorrow.”
Tavis Stever (Sam McLennan photo)
Zach Cooper (Sam McLennan photo)

An engaging pace was set from the opening with guitarists Claudio Sanchez and Tavis Stever firing off knotty, frenetic bursts one moment, commanding chant-alongs and clap-alongs the next, and occasionally turning the mic toward the audience, which inevitably could sing any line it was asked to deliver _ not just the catchy choruses (which aren’t a staple of too may C&C songs anyway).

Drummer Josh Eppard is back in the fold and teamed perfectly with new bassist Zach Cooper as the rhythm duo navigated C&C’s brash dynamics shifts.

Singer and chief writer Sanchez pulled apart the Amory narrative without wrecking any of its clout, instead finding the power within each tune, be it the icy effect of “Everything Evil” or battle cry fervor of “In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth:3.”

C&C aired “The Afterman,” “Sentry the Defiant,” and “Key Entity Extraction I: Domino the Destitute.” In each case, the band found a fresh avenue for its progressive art-rock. “Key Entity,” played as the first encore, had the most epic feel of the three, and Sanchez has muscled up “Sentry” from its original acoustic version he posted online in February.

Sanchez (Sam McLennan photo)

One of the main set’s more interesting passages came during side-by-side readings of “The Suffering” and “Mother Superior,” with the bounce of the former and introspective mood of the latter becoming more resonant when paired.

The show’s measured control went out the window during the encore run, reminding that as heady as C&C can get it is still a rock band. Sanchez just went nutty during “The Final Cut,” using the arms and torso of a mannequin to stroke his white double-neck Gibson for a squall of tones that sounded as perverse as he looked making them.
Joey Eppard of 3 (Sam McLennan photo)
Billy Riker of 3 (Sam McLennan photo)

The Dear Hunter and 3 opened. In a bit of backwards programming, the more progressive 3 kicked off the night. Fronted by Joey Eppard_ Josh’ brother_ 3 tipped toward its heavier material; even the acoustic “Bramfatura” turned into a string-busting tour de force.
Casey Crescenzo leads The Dear Hunter (Sam McLennan photo)

The Dear Hunter’s nuanced pop certainly reflected an element of C&C’s sound, but energy wise was a dip in between 3 and Coheed. Still, with its three-guitar lineup, The Dear Hunter built captivating arrangements, such as the hypnotic finale spun from “The Collapse of the Great Tide Cliffs.”

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