Live Review: Coheed & Cambria and Fighting With Wire – The Ritz, Manchester – 12/11/2012

The Ritz sits comfortably in terms of capacity between Academy 1 and Academy 2 whilst being so much better placed in terms of Oxford Street train station so I’m already giving it a thumbs up. I think I’ll always be surprised with where Coheed And Cambria play as they’ve played bigger and smaller shows before. I’m never quite sure how popular they are over here, or why the support over here is never as good what our American counterparts are graced with.

Opening up our night is Fighting With Wire. Not too similar to Coheed And Cambria and pretty lifeless. A three piece is too small for the stage and more so when being as static as they are (get those legs moving!) The reaction from the crowd is largely ignorant and not truly caring. Coheed need better supports to really up the antics before they come on as it’s been a bit slack in recent years. (1.5/5)

A nice idea is Coheed And Cambria supporting themselves. Yeah, exactly that. Well, it’s an acoustic set so it’s not quite the same. The beauty of it is that the acoustic side of the bands song are given a chance to breath. Songs like ‘Pearl Of The Stars’, ‘Mother Superior’ and ‘Wake Up’  (to the ecstatic screams of one girl) are given the chance to feature in the setlist whilst ‘A Favor House Atlantic’ is given a swung feel and dresses the song in a completely different way. Claudio sounds fantastic and Josh sitting at his kit joins in with some much needed harmonies. Acoustic songs as slow as these seem a little flat in large venues like this but it’s good to hear songs we wouldn’t otherwise hear. (3.5/5)

15 or so minutes off stage until the band are back on, launching into (to my pleasant surprise) ‘No World For Tomorrow’ and then straight into ‘Gravemakers And Gunslingers’. At first I’m disappointed. The sound seems a bit blank and not as in your face as it should and the band staying largely static again doesn’t help. Claudio gets into it though with his stomping feet as he charges around in the space he’s developed. This does get Travis and new bassist Zach Cooper moving more and getting in the swing of things until I can safely exclaim to myself ‘this is more like it!’

Luckily as well the set reinforces this happiness of mine. I always find that the setlists at these shows are unpredictable. Despite Josh being back on the drum stool, and to no surprise with a big smile on his face, there’s only ‘Everything Evil’, ‘In Keeping Secrets…’ and the encore based ‘A Favor House Atlantic’ that cover the first two albums, whilst to my surprise ‘Ten Speed’ and ‘The Suffering’ are brought to life once again as usually songs from ‘Good Apollo I’m Burning Star…’ are sadly replaced by newer songs.

It took a while for the new songs from ‘Afterman: The Ascension’ to take full form. Sounding incredibly crisp and precise, crafted purely from the line up on stage, ‘The Afterman’ and ‘Goodnight, Fair Lady’  are absolutely brilliant with ‘Domino The Destitute’ taking a well sought out place within the encore. The fans sing along whenever conducted to do so by Claudio and even surprise him on songs such as ‘Domino…’. A storming ending of ‘Welcome Home’ is expected and easily expected as the double necked guitar comes out. As heavy as ever and the crowd are happy; sore necks aplenty. (4/5)

What I’ve learnt tonight is to never doubt Coheed And Cambria. I still wish they would tour with the ‘Neverender’ line up of female vocals, keys and extra percussion as it fills out the sound as on record there’s so much going on. This wasn’t the best time I’ve seen Coheed And Cambria but the utlisation of the acoustic set to play some otherwise unheard songs and the unusual surprises within the electric set made me a happy fan. Now let’s get some better support next time PLEASE? Between The Buried And Me, Circa Survive or Torche would be nice!

3/5

Words by Mikey Brown (@MikeyMiracle)

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