Here we were, on the road again, heading back to the scene of so many shows past. Worcester is a love/hate thing for me, as I’ve seen some fantastic shows and some godawful wastes. I hoped tonight would be the former rather than the latter. After meeting up with some friends for a drink beforehand, it was showtime. We walked in midway through the set from “Fall of Troy”, but based on what I heard, we didn’t really miss anything. I like metal, I like hard rock, but dear god, please put some rhythm into your music, or it just ends up a mishmash of loudness. Thankfully it ended soon enough, and the crowd started to amp up for the main event.
The next opener was Clutch, a band that describes themselves as “Pure Rock Fury”. I wouldn’t say they were that, but they were enjoyable. Harking back to more the 70’s power-rock with a bassoon of a lead singer, they put out a unique and quality sound. Most of the crowd was an all-ages mixture there for Coheed & Cambria though, so sadly there weren’t enough people willing to be into the music for them to really set it off. By the last song, they had the crowd singing along and moshing about, a testament to their ability, but that was about it. Sadly, they didn’t play my favorite song, 21 shots, but we can’t get everything we want all the time.
Coheed took the stage to a roar and a push. As we were on the floor, we were treated to the gigantic crowd push at the start of the set. Swept into the mosh pit, it was an interesting time, as the forces ebbed and flowed with the songs themselves. Normally, I hate all-ages shows, as you end up with a bunch of scenester high school kids stealing the spots right in front of the stage and doing nothing but gaping and staring at the band. I appreciate the need to see your heroes perform, but move around for christs sake. Music is about energy and connection, and you get neither of those when you stand stock-still for 2+ hours. However, at this show, everyone seemed to be trying their damnedest to get into it and move about. Granted, most of that moving was pushing and shoving, but at least it’s a start.
When you talk about any band, your words are colored by your own personal feelings about them. Coheed & Cambria are a band I sort-of like, but a few of my friends are nutso about them, so I tried to come in with an even keel as to what to think about them. To be honest, I was impressed overall with their song choices, tempo, and just pure rock presence. In addition to a diverse mixture of their own tracks from their many albums, they played the classic Trooper and a few others. One of the only downsides to the show was the overboosted guitar and bass that completely drowned out the vocals and half the drums. I enjoy a lot of guitar, especially in the hands of such a capable band, but it was kind of ridiculous hearing every tiny piece to every note on the guitars, but only catching 1 out of every 6 words from the singer. The other downer of the night occurred at the very end, when C&C turned into a solo jam-band. If they had cut it by about 5-10 minutes (it was maybe 20 minutes long of noodling solos on every instrument), it would have been perfect, but with the length it was, it just deflated the crowd. Skillful yes, but not exciting as a show-ender.
Throughout the whole show, I just got more excited, as the crowd pushed and pulled and sang their lungs out to every song. To a lot of the kids there, it was clear that Coheed & Cambria were more than just music to them, they were an escape. For a few hours, people were able to get away from the people they were or had to be and just become swept up in something that resonated with them a bit more. I didn’t completely feel it, but saw it on the faces of nearly everyone in the pit, more focused on singing along and moving around than pushing and shoving. They picked up people when they fell down, they sang and high-fived complete strangers, and for a minute, high school and the general insecurity of being a youngin’ went away. That was the best part of the show for me, seeing the connection with the music that so often doesn’t exist or people are afraid to express. Great times this time in Worcester, and if you like C&C even a little bit, I highly recommend their live show.