Coheed & Cambria is probably my favorite band at the moment. (Mental note–write a blog on former favorite bands). I’ve been a huge fan of theirs since spontaneously going to a show in St. Louis in 2002 to see a different band when my friend and I discovered the show we REALLY wanted to see was actually the night before (woops), and Coheed opened. I was instantly a fan and have been ever since. But the only other time I saw them play was a few months after that first time, way back in August 2002. So when I saw they were coming to Seattle, I didn’t hesitate. I made plans to go with my good friend Kevin, got my ticket at a ridiculously marked-up price (I hate you, Ticketmaster), and got all super-pumped in the days leading up to it. And now that it’s over, I can say that Coheed & Cambria is by far one of the most talented bands around today, if not ever, and performed amazingly . . . but I’m trying really hard to not get exponentially pissed about some other things about the show. Here they are in the reverse order of their severity.
5. Torche. Bad opening bands are, to a lot of people, expected (and in some ways, desired for nostalgic purposes) at a rock concert. They are not to me. I have a long list of great bands I saw as opening acts that I ended up liking more than the headliners (Coheed & Cambria, case in point–and mental note to write a blog on opening acts that schooled the headliners). But, that being said, I have still seen some bad openers and usually pay them no mind because, come on, I’m not there for them anyway. That’s actually the reason this one is technically on the bottom of my list. Yet let me tell you: the band Torche, who opened the Coheed show, was one of the worst bands I have ever seen or heard. It was pathetic. The singer couldn’t sing, but really didn’t grasp the “sing without singing” thing that so many others like him have mastered. The guitars sounded AWFUL. I mean REALLY bad. Their distortion sounded like they bought some $15 metal petals and decided, “Well, that’s good enough!” They were total tools. Few things are more pathetic than holding your guitar out in front of you and flicking your tongue (or something else ridiculous) and no one in the audience is into what you’re playing. . . . I could go on. Who in their right mind thought these guys are good enough to be on tour with Claudio Sanchez and Michael Todd (and Anthony Green)? A garage is too good for these guys. I thought that these guys HAVE to be some kind of joke, but they’re not! They’ve been around for 6 years and (allegedly) have a huge following! sigh. I guess that shouldn’t be too surprising, though, since the modern taste for quality is amazingly low.
4. Tall people. I get that tall people can’t help being tall any more than I can help being 5’10”. But I swear there was some pact between about six or seven guys who were 6’3″ or taller to stand in the center of the forward part of the room and not budge. I couldn’t see anything but the top of Claudio’s hair and glimpses of Michael Todd and Travis Stever for the first half of their set without standing on my toes. Trust me, I felt pretty bad for myself at first, but then saw several guys and girls who were way shorter than me . . . that’s rough to pay for a show that you can only listen to as you study the back of that tall jerk’s shirt.
3. Lack of show etiquette. So why didn’t I just get around those tall guys? Because several of them were purposely forming a barricade. The “pit” was about five feet in front of them, and unless you forced your way through the crowd surrounding them, you weren’t getting in. I didn’t. One guy was pressing through the crowd, obviously wanting to join in the pushing and shoving goodness that great rock n’ roll makes you want to do, and I watched in awe as two tall guys pressed their shoulders together as this guy offered the gentle “separation” arm to make his way through. He was puzzled at first, but decided to persist, but to no avail. Then he tapped on the shoulder of one of the guys and asked if he could get through. The guy shook his head, “no.” Eventually this dude made his way around a different way . . . but I couldn’t believe it. And during Circa Survive’s set, some guy who was obviously on leave from the military had managed to put himself in an Anthony Green-worshiping trance that caused him to only acknowledge the existence of the band, himself and, sometimes, his girlfriend who he made out with in between songs. If I wasn’t watching him, I would have gotten a headbanging jarhead to the nose more than a few times. Then there were the underage drunks. If they were over 19 I’d be shocked. It’s one thing to talk about how much you like the band coming up to guys you don’t know–that’s cool. But let’s watch it when you start to brag about the STD’s you have. And lastly–if you accidentally kick an empty, fifty-gallon trash can into some guy’s legs as you’re heading to the bar–pick it up! I don’t care how much Torche sucks, you’re the fifth person to do that in two songs! Pick it up!
2. The wacky tobacy. I would describe myself as pot-neutral. I don’t do it, I don’t want to do it, but I honestly don’t think western society will collapse if it becomes legalized. Though I do think it would be immensely amusing to watch as millions of potheads realize in horror that they’ve used so much irreplaceable time from their lives to fight for a right to do nothing but alter their mental state with a plant. But sociology and politics aside, I can’t stand it when some idiot lights up during a show. The following is an open letter to that imbecile: you are not cool, you are not funny, it smells like a skunk sprayed a pile of fresh dog crap, and you’re making Anthony Green reminisce about his older brother’s jean jacket rather than sing. Fury! Sneaking marijuana and your one-hitter into a show is such an amazing demonstration how pathetic you really are. Are you incapable of enjoying music without a buzz? Are you capable of going to a public event without trying to get away with something? You are the reason intelligent people don’t take this pot-legalization thing seriously.
1. Someone needs to fire that sound guy—seriously. Hey bud, first of all—nice beard. For real. Second—turn down the bass! I like my rock shows as loud as the next guy, but it’s got to be done right! It’s not fun to only have an idea of what Claudio is shredding on the high end of his guitar because I know the song. This is really the worst thing about the whole show and is the reason it’s dangerously close to being on my “bad shows I’ve seen” list. Opening bands suck, rude people always show up, potheads will be potheads, but, in the end, if I can’t tell what’s being played or if someone’s singing backup without looking at the stage, the show is being ruined. Somebody get that guy a brochure for the Seattle Art Institute so he can develop his ear better.
Well, there it is. Towards the end of the show, Claudio told the audience how “f**king awesome” the evening had been and thank them/us, and I felt like I missed out on something. They played amazingly (seriously, I literally saw blurry Sanchez fingers! They were BLURRY I TELL YOU! THE MAN IS A BEAST!) and their stage presence and visuals are top notch, but I walked out of there completely underwhelmed, just happy that I was going to be off my feet soon. Hopefully next time will be better.