After a long hiatus of 10 years, I finally got to see Coheed and Cambria again. I got into them around Second Stage Turbine Blade, my interest fueled by a few tracks I found on Napster that ended up actually being recordings by their previous side project, Shabutie. From that point on I was hooked. I saw them open up for Thursday with Thrice at Club Ovation in Boyton Beach. It was a mediocre performance from them: the music was cool, but Claudio could really not recreate his recorded voice well in a live situation at that point. Plus, since that venue was basically a gutted out Winn Dixie (large supermarket with a tall ceiling) the sound there was always atrocious. Side note: Thursday was amazing. I had actually fallen out of listening to them at that point a bit, and went more for Coheed, but Thursday stole the show.

Flashfoward 10 years, to the Fillmore Miami in South Beach. I got there very early with Carlos, and we ended up spending $10 on “Fastlane” tickets that got us into the venue 20 minutes earlier. I’m glad we did this, because there were already 30+ people in front of the stage when we got in, and by the time the doors actually opened there were 70+ people crowding the front of the stage.

COHEED & CAMBRIA @ FILLMORE MIAMI 03/08/13Opening acts

Russian Circles: Pretty good opener, they were a hard rock/metal instrumental band. 3 piece, very loud. Not something I would listen to, but the music was good enough and they performed very well. One small complaint:  the guitar player did a LOT of work with a looper, and there were a few points where the loop was a bit off.

Between the Buried and Me: I had seen these guys once before at this venue, opening up for Dream Theater on one of the Progressive Nation tours. I was only familiar with their first album at the time, and they only played 2 songs that time (both of which were from Colors). This time they mainly played new songs. They did do Ants of the Sky and Selkies though, which were great. The downside to their set? I had managed to get a front and center position by the railing, and the Fillmore’s speakers do not reach anyone in the front. Most venues are like to this some degree, but you can usually get some aural information from the main speakers or the monitors. Not at the Fillmore though, it’s a complete void of mixed sound and if the band isn’t blasting their amps on stage (BTBAM and Coheed weren’t) you will not hear much.

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That being said, watching the drummer the entire performance was pretty fantastic. Super tight player and great sounding kit. About the only thing we could really hear more of the time. The whole band played great though. They came out in costumes: one in a guayabera, one in a skipper’s shirt and cap, and the other dressed like a casual Cuban gangster from the 40s.

Coheed & Cambria

Stage set up:  Front of stage was mostly bare, the Fillmore has a pretty large stage area and the drums and back set up were pretty far back. Josh was up on a small riser, and there was two glass structures on either side of him that contained 4 white mannequins in interesting positions. There was a large video screen behind them, but I don’t think they used it as well as they could have, there wasn’t a lot of great material happening on it. There were no amps on stage, so like I mentioned before the stage was pretty bare. They did have 2 small 2 x 12 Mesa Boogie cabinets but I think they were mainly serving as a place to put the lights that were on top of them, and also to help go along with whatever Mesa sponsorship requirements Claudio/Travis might have. 

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The performance: The show started with the band coming out and Claudio with a ukulele and them launching into Pretelethal. That led to a very high energy “Sentry the Defiant.” The performance overall was pretty good, with some really great moments (Sentry, Secrets, Welcome Home) and a few less than great. Claudio looked pretty damned tired, while playing “The Crowing” I could have sworn he was about to fall asleep. Nonetheless the show was pretty great. I would have preferred a significantly different setlist: don’t get me wrong, they did play two of my favorites (No World + Crowing – although they were not played with as much energy as I would have liked) and I totally understand the emphasis on the Key Entity Extraction motif songs. I just feel there were WAY better songs on the Afterman albums that they could have done like “Hard Sell,” “Number City,” and “Away We Go.” Obviously setlists will never please everyone though, and it wasn’t a bad one at all.

Overall the show was great. It wasn’t the “mind blowing” amazing experience I had been building myself up for the last few weeks, due to a less-than-amazing performance and some assholes, but it was still a lot of fun and I am so happy to have seen this fantastic band again after all these years!

Overall: 8/10
Performance: 8/10
Sound: 7/10
Experience: 7:10
Finally seeing Coheed again after all these years: 10/10

Coheed and Cambria Setlist The Fillmore, Miami Beach, FL, USA 2013, The Afterman