Coheed and Cambria + Closure in Moscow
Max Watts, Melbourne
7 May 2016
Review by Rod Whitfield
Photos by Sofie Marsden
The previous night’s Coheed show sold out, so he venue was probably only 2/3 full when Closure took the stage on the second night. The vibe possibly wasn’t as buoyant as it is with a full room. But that hardly matters, since the good natured, fun energy that flows of the stage when this Melbourne alt-rock band takes the stage is truly contagious. The crowd built steadily over the course of their set, and by their closing numbers this band had won them all over.
That’s because, not only are they full of positive energy, they are also ridiculously tight and musically exemplary. They can be explosive, they can be retro, they can be whimsical and fun, they can be just about anything. Their vocal harmonies are absolutely spot on the money, and in Christopher De Cinque they have a truly magnetic frontman.
In fact, I would rate them among Australia’s absolute best live bands.
They ripped out an all-energy 30 minute set this night. The band locked in as tight as a clenched fist and De Cinque was in a pretty risqué mood. The crowd were now humming and ready for the headline act.
Coheed main man Claudio Sanchez came out with an acoustic guitar, accompanied by his lead guitarist Travis Stever and they opened the show in a low-key fashion. The crowd was immediately spellbound. But this was merely the calm before the storm, as the band exploded moments later and the floor erupted into a spontaneous mosh.
This classic, long-running American prog rock band put on an extremely crowd-pleasing 90-minute set, including three blistering encores. One of the great beauties of this band’s music is that, while their albums and overall output is extremely conceptual and full of theatrical imagery, many of their individual songs are reasonably straight forward, kick-arse, catchy rock tunes, so they work an absolute treat in a live setting in that sense. There are certainly longer, more progressive pieces, but many of their songs you can simply rock the f*ck out to, mosh, sing along and slam your fist to the sky. So you kind of get the best of both worlds in this way with Coheed and Cambria.
Special mention must be given to the incredible drum sound this night, it absolutely ruled. The drum mix did exactly what it’s supposed to do, that is, make the drums cut through without dominating, and they sounded sweeter than a cupful of sugar laced with honey. The snare was neck-snapping, the toms rolled like thunder and you feel the kick drum as well as hear it.
The crowd reached absolute fever-pitch by around 2/3 of the way through the main set, with some intense moshes and crowd-surfing happening in the pit.
Sanchez brought out his double-necked guitar for the encore, which he played with his teeth, behind his head and any other way he could think of. His stage presence, in fact that of the whole band, is no-nonsense, get down to business and say very little to the crowd. At the end of the set proper and encores he and the band merely put down their instruments and walked off, with very little acknowledgment of the crowd. But hey, that’s just their style.
This was a true tour de force performance from a legendary, road hardened unit that has honed its craft for two decades. It was everything you would ever want from a powerhouse prog-rock show and plenty more.