Sunday, March 10, 2013

Coheed and Cambria @ The Fillmore Miami 03/08/13

(Opening acts: Between the Buried and Me, Russian Circles)

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 though, 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.

Russian Circles: Pretty good opener, they were a hard rock/metal instrumental band. 3 piece, very loud. Not something I would listen to ever, but the music was good enough and they performed very well. Well...mostly. They 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.

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 and 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. 

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.
My concert experience: I managed to get one hand on the railing during the first band, and was making my subtle attempt to claim a spot. I REALLY hate people that force themselves into the front of a crowd, because my thought process on this is that if you want to be close, get there early, don't get there late and be an asshole about it. So I was being delicate about the operation and not forcing myself in. I was just waiting for the crowd to start moving, as they always do, and jump in when I got a chance. Let's be serious, unfortunately at a rock concert you WILL get squished at the railing and you will no have leg/arm room. This is a given.

Unfortunately, the huge Marshall Eriksen looking motherfucker to my left either had never been to a concert in his life, or he was just completely dillusional. While I had almost enough space to squeeze in between him and the guy to my right, he had his feet so wide apart that I couldn't get in there (that's what she said). When BTBAM was playing though, some people started crowd surfing and landed on us. I had my chance and I jumped forward and threw my arms over the railing. All's fair in love and concerts, right?

WRONG. This asshole starts pushing and elbowing me with all his might, which I might have been able to fight off if the guy on my right wasn't doing the same thing. THAT guy I understood a little bit though, as he had his bag on the other side of the railing right under him and he didn't want to lose it. Granted, his gf on his left had a bit of space on HER right, but at this point that didnt matter. What mattered was the humongous asshole to my left. He kept pushing and shoving and elbowing me. Finally he starts yelling at me, saying "STOP PUSHING DUDE" at which point my brain almost imploded, because HE was the one doing all the pushing. I was simply resisting. I was able to grab a hold of a bar on the other side of the railing and not lose my spot. He didn't stop for 10-15 minutes, yelling the whole time, with me yelling back that I wasn't pushing and for him to stop what he was doing. 

By the time BTBAM and finished, he had stopped pushing, but I was in a really uncomfortable spot squished between two people. The guy on my right I had already cleared the air with, and I attempted to do the same with Eriksen by offering him a Starburst. He declined. Obviously, he is a mindless heathen. Fine though, I could deal with some lack of space. The concert was going to be great....until asshole #2 behind me showed up. I didn't think it was possible to be SO tone deaf, that you actually go into NEGATIVE tone deaf territory (in which you start sucking the correct pitch ability out of those around you), but that's where this guy was. So he yelled and yelled and yelled, in a super hoarse voice that was completely out of pitch. Nonstop. For 6 songs straight. But it doesn't end there folks, he not only had a terrible and out of tune voice, but he was also completely off time. He would "sing" the lines in cadences that would make Claudio cringe. Sometimes, when there was a break between lyrics, he would just "sing" the line a measure early. I don't think this guy could have been more obnoxious if he were trying to piss off all the people in front of him on purpose.

I mentioned he was doing this for 6's not that he stopped, no. It's that I couldn't take anymore. I was just not enjoying myself. Between him and Eriksen, who had started pushing me again, and the fact that I was getting slammed from behind by the crowd, I was just NOT enjoying the show. My back started spasming and I decided to leave. It sucked losing my spot...I had managed to be on the railing RIGHT IN FRONT of Claudio...great spot and got some great shots. I spent the rest of the show walking around and enjoying the concert (and actually being able to HEAR it properly now that I was out of the audio dead spot) at different spots in the venue. I even went upstairs to the second level and shot some video.

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

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