Category Archives: Progressive Rock

Coheed & Cambria / Porcupine Tree / The Dear Hunter – Nautica Pavilion – Cleveland, OH – 08/26/2010 – Concert Review

Last Thursday evening progressive sci-fi rockers Coheed & Cambria headlined a triple bill with help from The Dear Hunter and UK’s Porcupine Tree.  The triple bill landed on a comfortable cool evening at the Nautica Pavilion, a perfect night to take in a show.  The venue sadly was not packed at all as ticket sales suffered but all who did show up that evening enjoyed three levels of prog-rock any aged fan could appreciate.

A fine mix of Coheed and Porcupine Tree fans gathered around the stage to give the night’s openers The Dear Hunter a chance.  The alt-prog act from Boston, Massachusetts took to the stage while the sun slowly crept away to open up the night.  Upon their first couple songs much of the crowd did not seem to pay attention but soon were sucked in to what sounded like a Mars Volta meets Queensryche.  Their set seemingly became more impressive through the lengthy songs to the point where people started turning their heads to the music.  Not being too familiar with their material I was impressed with what i heard.

UK’s Porcupine Tree took to a freshly vacuumed stage – yes, someone vacuumed the stage prior to them taking it – just after 9pm.  Older fans of the band, that started as just a concept in 1987, gathered around the stage and focused all of their attention to the band and the visuals being show on the backdrop.  Opening with “Ocean’s Razor” it was clear that I had never heard of them before.  I for some reason thought they were a newer act but was just a little bit wrong as I soon discovered they have been around for a little bit.

At one moment lead singer Steven Wilson asked everyone in the house if they sounded ok due to the position of the stage.  He then commented that everyone was treated to two shows – them and the Cleveland skyline.  Comically declaring “that’s one big reverb” got more than one laugh from the crowd but also hinted to the soundboard that they were not happy with their sound.

The videos that played behind Porcupine Tree was full of random clips and psychedelic light shows that periodically would sync up with the music.  At times I would almost fall into a musically fueled trance watching the screen trying to figure out what was going to happen next.  The prog-rock was almost a prog-jam during certain moments of their set was a lot more progressive than I anticipated but delivered a killer set.  I know I was not the only one impressed and I am pretty sure a lot of the younger Coheed fans went home later that night to check them out a little more.

The band thanked the fans for their support, thanked Coheed for their invitation, and then announced that it was the last night of their tour and that they would be retuning home.  For a band that has not really been plastered all over the radio it was refreshing to see an act 23 years in the making take the stage and play their hearts out showing no indication that they will be slowing down anytime soon.  I will be checking these guys out a lot more now that I saw them.

Porcupine Tree Setlist:
Ocean’s Razor
The Blind House
Great Expectations
Kneel & Disconnect
Drawing The Line
Open Car
Russia On Ice
Anesthetize
Trains
Blackest Eyes
The Start Of Something Beautiful
Way Out Of Here
Sleep Together

The headliners of the night, also known as Coheed & Cambira, took to the stage and opened with “In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3”. Claudio Sanchez and crew tore up the stage with their sci-fi prog rock goodness to all of their adoring fans, well, those who decided to show up. The pit was sparse and the bleachers were not filled that all. It was almost depressing to see the turn out of the evening as many of the older fans who came to see Porcupine Tree headed out after their set.

Coheed did not let that bother them at all playing through with “The Suffering”, a song I sang along to as loud as possible. Continuing with selections from their latest release Year Of The Black Rainbow the band rocked out to “Year Of The Juggernaut” and the acoustic “Pearl Of The Stars” with Claudio whispering to the adoring crowd.  Starting strong the band had a couple of lulls in between songs but kept the momentum going with “Delirium Trigger” and closed out with the always amazing “No World For Tomorrow”.   With fans screaming for more the band took the stage for a couple more songs ending the night with one of my favorites “Wake Up” where the entire place sang along with lighters in the air.

Having seen Coheed many times in my time including last year at Bonnaroo I could not say this was the best show that I have seen by them but was far from terrible.  The fans sang along with practically every song but at times when Caludio turned the vocal duties over to the crowd it almost became difficult to hear them due to lack of a bigger fan base supporting guest duties.  I would have loved to seen more people fill up the venue that evening but at the same time was perfectly contempt with the almost seemingly intimate set.

The term “you get what you pay for” came to mind after the show’s end.  Three amazing bands took to the stage that night with long sets giving all who attended their money’s worth.  I do wish that some of the Porcupine Tree fans stayed a little longer to check out Coheed before calling it a night.  I am pretty sure they would have enjoyed what that amazing band had to offer.

Coheed & Cambria Setlist:
In Keeping Secrets Of Silent Earth: 3
Ten Speed (of God’s Blood And Burial)
Here We Are Juggernaut
The Crowing
The Suffering
Pearl Of The Stars
Everything Evil
When Skeletons Live
The Willing Well 1: Fuel For The Feeding End
Delirium Trigger
No World For Tomorrow
Encore:
Wake Up
Welcome Home

Tri-C: Coheed & Cambria + Cleveland

Who:   Coheed & Cambria w/ special guests Porcupine Tree and The Dear Hunter
When:  Aug 26th – 7:30pm   
Where: Nautica Pavilion (or whatever the hell it is called)

Progressive indie rockers Coheed & Cambria return to Cleveland this week with special guests Porcupine Tree and The Dear Hunter.  I really didn’t think I was going to make it to this show but a pair of tickets landed in my lap and there is no way I am going to miss seeing them.  Having been to multiple Coheed shows over the years I know they never fail to impress.  Looking forward to seeing Porcupine Tree finally as well as taking in The Dear Hunter.

Snacktruck – Spacial Findings 1 – 7 – CD Review

When I see the words “snack” and “truck” the fat kid inside me usually gets excited and is ready to mow down some mobile junk food.  This time around though the words have different meaning and refer to a band’s name and not the no-so-good-for-you cuisine.   Snacktruck is a truly unique threesome from Richmond, VA consisting of a guitarist/keyboardist and two drummers.  Yes, two drummers.  (I do believe there is a guest bassist too but can not confirm that)

The band recently released Spacial Findings 1 – 7, an album that is more of a masterpiece of specifically layered sounds resulting in quite an impressive instrumental release.  With no pinned down genre the album glides through styles such as progressive, jam, thrash, and even pure rock with no hesitation what so ever in between.  The album was dropped on Rorschach Records.

If you asked me what Spacial Findings 1 – 7 sounded like I would first just say “awesome”.  Why?  Because the moment I put the CD in for a listen I was just fixed on what was hitting my ears and listened to it from start to finish with no interruptions.  The moment the CD ended I put it on for a second listen.  No joke.

When listening to “Presence Charm” I actually looked at the CD booklet to make sure that only three people formulated this song.  Heavily progressive but inclusive throughout there was no wonder why this caught my attention…it was good.

“Blooms (Horrible)” continued on with an experimental interesting piece that hooked around momentarily and ended far too soon.  I was digging the almost sci-fi soundtrack and was a little bummed when it smothered out.  “Blooms (Sweet)” stifled out just like the previous track right during a sweet guitar manipulation and that is when it hit me…  The band very well may take their songs completely into new territory when playing live so why ruin it on a studio release?  Now I want to see this band live more than ever.  I can only imagine the intensity of a live experience.

“Life Prism” was perhaps the highlight of the album for me until the following song “Blake Jones In Space” intensified the feeling.  Imagine insanity compiled into a two and a half minute song with sick drumming and technical goodness.  All I could think of is a mutant Mike Patton taking hits of 90’s grunge music heavy acid and painting a picture of the future through music.  Yes, I just said that.

“Gravi-Thorn”, the longest song on the disc, starts out ever so soft and gentle and suddenly transforms into a crazy collection of guitar and feedback with faultless drumming.  Did I mention the band has two drummers? 

Snacktruck surpassed my musical range in every way possible (that is a good thing) but I could not help but reach out and grab their insanity note for note and beat to beat because it was so alluring.  It’s without a doubt something that needs to be heard without being too much to take.  Technical music lovers and experimental intellectuals are going to love this trio of musicians.  Hell, music lovers need to give this band a chance, it’s that good.

Sound interesting?  Head over to Rorschach Record’s website to grab a copy for yourself!

Mastodon – Beachland Ballroom – Cleveland, OH – 05/02/2009 – Concert Review

I am sure it is safe to say that there was a lot of ringing going on in the ears of many fans who attended the Mastodon show at the Beachland Ballroom in Cleveland, OH.    Of the hundreds of shows I have attended in my time, this was by far one of the loudest.  The show was sold out, and had been for months, so needless to say there were a lot of excited folk in the house.

When I first heard that Atlanta heavy metal / prog rock artists Mastodon were going to be playing at the Beachland Ballroom with special guests Intronaut and Kylesa, I knew it would sell out quickly because of the smaller capacity venue.  Sadly I was not able to get a ticket in time and I really thought that I was going to miss this show.  As luck would have it someone reached out to me with an extra ticket.  Matt, you are my hero.

Before I even continue I need to make it clear that I am “one of those fans” meaning that I am not a long time Mastodon fan.  I have heard of them since they started and checked out their material but it was not until Crack The Skye that I really started to appreciate them.  Since the release I have collected the band’s entire catalog and realized what I had been missing.  Call me what you want, Crack The Skye is still my personal favorite album by the band so one could imagine my excitement to witness the entire album being played start to finish with no interruptions.

My two friends Shannon and Josh from West Virginia had mentioned they were making the 4+ hour drive to see Mastodon and that they had purchased tickets earlier.  We decided to meet up and attend the show together.  After many hours of showing them around Cleveland (My Mind’s Eye was a fav stop for them) we finally arrived to the Beachland Ballroom three hours prior to showtime.  We arrived early to meet up with Matt and also check out Music Saves as well as other shops on Waterloo.

Brann & Shannon
Brann & Shannon

As luck would have it members of Mastodon, more specifically Brann Dailor the drummer, and guitarist Bill Kelliher were checking out Waterloo Ave, mostly looking for some food.  Shannon spotted Brann while we were shopping inside Music Saves, and being the huge fan she is she took off out the store and was able to get the ultimate concert souviner, a photograph of her and Brann.  Brann was more than kind to pose with her and even thanked her for having the picture taken with him.  Shannon’s day was complete and the show hadn’t even started.

Metal fans young and old filled up the Beachland Ballroom at a quick rate and Intronaut began the show to cheering fans.  Having never heard their material before I got a kick out of how they would throw in almost jazzy sounding instrumental breaks in between their brutal heavy metal playing.  Sadly they only knocked out a couple of songs and left the stage leaving some of the fans wanting much more.

Kylesa was up next and having never heard them either I was not sure what to expect.  While the band set up Josh noted that there were two drum sets on stage and in no time the sludge metal act were hammering out songs impressing me and my out of town concert buddies.  I loved how the singing duties revolved around the stage while the duel drummers almost seemed to out drum one another.  I’ll be checking this Georgia act out some more soon.

The crowd in the venue seemed to double just before Mastodon took stage.  Just prior to them doing so I was able to exit the Beachland Ballroom and hand off a ticket to Adam who had to work late but managed to meet us there just in time.  We all found a spot just in front of the soundboard and planted out feet for what was to come.

It seemed that Mastodon came to Cleveland to do their job and then leave.  They never said hello, they just picked up their instruments and began playing “Oblivion”, the first song off of Crack The Skye.  The stage was clear of distractions with the exception of a giant screen hung behind them.  During the performance, strange visuals were propped up on the screen showing black and white images that reminded me of something H. P. Lovecraft might have written a story about with helmeted warriors, wizards, and fair maidens as well as a cosmic atmosphere.

The band members some bearded and messy haired, minus drummer Brann Dailor who is more of a clean cut chap, were not there to entertain, they were there to perform.  The band collectively kept concentrated while executing their latest masterpiece to the fans and did so very well.  The band continued playing until the album was covered start to finish and then left the stage for a break.  Hearing the entire album played live was just incredible.

While on their short break a great Mastodon album cover morph animation displayed on the screen that kept repeating itself almost hypnotizing the fans making them scream louder and louder for the metal band of the night to continue their performance.

The band returned to stage and offered a selection of tracks from their past albums Blood Mountain, Leviathan, and Remission.  The songs were much faster and, to some, were songs fans came to see.  Even if I am “one of those fans”, I enjoyed what I heard and a couple of the tracks were familiar to my ears.  I was enjoying every eardrum destroying moment and felt cheated when the band finished their final song and exited stage.  I was selfish and I wanted more.

Considering the band will be touring with Metallica this summer I think it is safe to say this is the last time Mastodon will play smaller venues.  I am glad to have been a part of a more intimate show that evening as were everyone else surrounding me.  It was a top notch performance by an up and coming metal band I have the feeling will be going places in the music world.

Here’s a video a fellow concert goer took of Mastodon opening the show with “Oblivion”. Not the greatest quality but it should give you a taste of what I experienced that amazing evening:

Coheed & Cambria Join Heaven & Hell This Summer

This is a huge annoucement!!!  Coheed & Cambria were hinting about something good today on their Twitter account…

Coheed & Cambria were selected by Heaven & Hell (Ronnie James Dio, Tony Ioomi, Geezer Butler, and Vinny Appice) to join them for a summer tour.

The following comes from a Sony Music announcement:

(May 4, 2009 – New York, NY) Coheed and Cambria, the progressive rock outfit who are recording their fifth album, are also spreading their wings by playing to new audiences in 2009 creating more visibility in the metal world, as well as the jam and indie circles more than ever. Earlier this year, the band supported the heavy metal juggernaut, Slipknot, and now mix that with varied festivals such as Mountain Jam, Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, and Austin City Limits it’s hard to find a current band that can stretch those kinds of boundaries.

There is another reason for Coheed supporting H&H. Black Sabbath (Dio version) was Claudio and Travis’ favorite group growing up, and Claudio’s very first concert – at NY’s Beacon Theater in October of 1992. “The night would prove to be one of the most influential of my life. I got the overwhelming feeling that the whole stage was alive–the lights seemed to be as controlled by the sounds as everyone there, and I would exit the venue that night with a fire lit under me.”

Seventeen years later, the band shares the stage with their mentors.

HEAVEN & HELL TOUR DATES
8/07 – Vancouver, BC – Thunderbird Arena
8/10 – San Jose, CA – Event Center Arena
8/11 – Los Angeles, CA – Greek Theater
8/12 – Phoenix, AZ – Dodge Theater
8/14 – Albuquerque, NM – Journal Pavilion
8/15 – Denver, CO – Red Rocks
8/18 – Cincinnati, OH – PNC Pavilion
8/19 – Chicago, IL – Charter One Pavilion
8/21 – Detroit, MI – Meadow Brook Pavilion
8/22 – Cleveland, OH – Nautica Pavilion
8/23 – Baltimore, MD – Merriweather Post Pavilion
8/25 – New York, NY – WaMu Theater @ MSG
8/27 – Wallingford, CT – Chevrolet Theatre
8/28 – Boston, MA – Bank of America Pavilion

This is going to be a unique show for sure and I am planning on checking out the Cleveland stop.  I’m shocked to see the Cleveland stop is being played at Nautica, a smaller venue than the last venue that Heaven & Hell played at.  This show will be selling out so make sure you get your tickets as soon as they go on sale.

I have a feeling many of the Heaven & Hell fans are going to be asking why Coheed & Cambria was chosen and not another metal band…  After all the last time I saw Heaven & Hell tour a few years back, Machine Head and Megadeth opened for them. 

I think that once Coheed & Cambria takes the stage in front of those questioning fans and dish out a few songs they will not wonder anymore.  Live Coheed is amazing and I am hoping will be appreciated by Heaven & Hell fans.

Heaven & Hell released their first album in 17 years titled The Devil You Know.   

Coheed & Cambria recently released Neverender a box set of a live show they played in NYC last October where they played four nights, each night playing an entire album start to finish.