The high school kids were out in full force – Sunday night curfew be damned – to see their prog-rock emo heroes Coheed & Cambria make a triumphant return to the State Theatre in Detroit. For the lip pierced, not yet tattooed masses, the judgment had been cast before they even entered the building. Short of delivering a full set’s worth of Enya covers, nothing Claudio Sanchez and the boys could have done would have let those kids down.
Supporting Coheed as an opener was Seattle screamo outfit Blood Brothers, who got a fervent reception from the crowd. The fact is, most of the sixteen-year-olds were ready to blow from the get go.
Blood Brothers can be extremely distasteful to some A– two singers who screech with equal aplomb and one who reaches heights heretofore unknown to all but the eunuchs. While Jordan Blilie’s falsetto wasn’t as high live as on the record, somehow, it managed to be more annoying. While the band flailed with gusto, they seemed a step behind. Other than the midtempo “Crimes,” which received a proper epic treatment and gave the band a chance to catch their breath, Blood Brothers’ spastic acrobatics failed to compensate for a lackluster set.
Coheed & Cambria came out completely hidden behind clouds of smoke, as Sanchez’s guitar drone built the anticipation. Four years ago, this band was a supporting act playing in run-down nightclubs. Now they’re on stage at the State, with 5,000 eager fans staring back at them. Clearly, they had to have an appropriately over-the-top stage show. Smoke machines, rainbow lighting and a winged guillotine all had steady work throughout the night.
Sanchez pulled out all the tricks of the Eddie Van Halen School of Guitar Shredding. Behind his gigantic puff of hair, he played the frontman role to a tee. “A Favor House Atlantic” inspired a rabid sing-along and “Everything Evil” brought screams of approval from the opening notes. When they pulled out the slow jams, the high school kids waved their lighters without irony.
To be truthful, Coheed’s poppy metal shtick is not overly gripping, with the same slow-intro-to-anthemic-chorus framework repeated in almost every song. And while Sanchez has oodles of energy, the rest of the band moved around as much as the stage props. Still, not one of those kids seemed to mind. By the time the band came back for an encore of “In Keeping Secrets Of Silent Earth,” fans had gotten what they’d come for.