man your battle stations

There’s nothing like a good face-melting, and all you have to do to get one is attend a Coheed & Cambria show. On November 17, 2007, I did just that at Austin’s Waterloo Park.

Touring in support of their most recent album, No World For Tomorrow, the boys served up an amazing and lengthy set that made standing in the rain and sitting in the mud completely worth it.

Due to their excellent musicianship, Coheed & Cambria will always be good. What makes them great is their showmanship and connection to their fans. Their music is naturally theatrical, so they don’t need to rely on big sets or props to convey a sense of grandeur. They don’t shy from their hits and play a fairly equal mix of material from all of their albums. Though they remain stoically in character for the most part, occasionally a genuine smile will slip – often in conjunction with the crowd cheering the epic nature of a solo or Claudio’s coiffure.

Adding to the experience of seeing Co&Ca live is the sense of community. Bringing in the likes of everyone from cute hipster girls to greasy, D&D-playing metal kids, the band unites a wide cross-section of people for one night to raise their fists and half-shout, half-sing “man your own jackhammer, man your battle stations” to spine-tingling effect and stand rapt for a twenty-minute rendition of “The Final Cut”. This is not something every band on the planet can accomplish.

Also on the bill were The Fall of Troy and Clutch. The Fall of Troy offered finger-tapping and head-banging to songs that fell along the metal/hardcore continuum with an occasional nod to pop-punk, while Clutch played blues-infused rock that leaned a little too far toward rap-rock vocals for my liking. The band does get extra points, though,  for handling a massive PA failure that cut their set short with grace.

Find out more about the bands: Coheed & Cambria | Clutch | The Fall of Troy