Back in October, New York based prog rockers Coheed & Cambria released ‘The Color Before The Sun’, a record that broke an ethos and an idea that the band had been keeping strong for over two decades and across their previous seven albums. That is their concept, that runs alongside The Amory Wars saga and comic books, created by frontman Claudio Sanchez. It’s a brave step that worked in their favour, and now they’re in the UK to showcase this breath of fresh air in their career to a handful of sold out shows.
Still very much in their infancy right now, openers Crooks , who are the only British act on the bill, have a bit of a rocky start going into ‘Above Me’, with the guitar feeds failing to run through for over half of the song. Things soon pick back up, and their passion throughout the likes of ‘Schöne Seele’ and ‘Are We All The Same Distance Apart’. Maybe it’s the power he has in his voice, but sadly frontman Josh Rogers often overpowers everything else in the mix, which leaves the packed crowd a little off kilter. However, in a smaller venue, and a tour of their own coming in March, Crooks can really project their craft.
Admittedly one of the biggest pulling points of this whole tour, the often enigmatic and almost cult band that is Glassjaw  are rare visitors to British shores, and with only three shows for the foreseeable future it’s like this Manchester date is the only chance for the Northerners to catch them. Steering clear of their more experimental EP ‘Coloring Book’, the band pound out track after track of ‘Worship & Tribute’ favourites, and though far from his days of being a psychotic spectacle, Daryl Palumbo‘s voice is on top form again Justin Beck‘s crunchy riff work, and with the introduction of a new track titled ‘Shira’, the ever questioned third Glassjaw album may finally become a reality this year.
The stage is cleared for Coheed & Cambria , who need plenty of space for Sanchez‘s captivating mass of hair anyway, and burst right away into ‘Island’. Even the infamous sticky floors of the O2 Ritz can’t keep the crowd from bouncing, and crowd favourites ‘Blood Red Summer’ and ‘Devil In Jersey City’ have everyone hooked, the latter of the two seeing the crowd singing even louder than Sanchez himself.
Though they of course showcase a lot of their new album material, with ‘Here To Mars’ being a particular highlight, it’s the older cuts that sees the crowd far more responsive, and at the same time the band displaying far more conviction and passion. This couldn’t be more of the case than with the one-two encore of ‘Ten Speed (Of God’s Blood And Burial)’ and ‘Welcome Home’, closing off with Sanchez playing a guitar solo with his teeth. Yep, his teeth. Coheed, it’s great to have you back.
Written by Zach Redrup (@zachredrup)