Live Review: Coheed & Cambria, Glassjaw and Crooks – Student Union, Cardiff – 31/01/2016

Sunday January 31st saw Coheed and Cambria’s latest UK tour swing through Cardiff at the excellent Student Union Great Hall. With a capacity of just over 1,500, the venue proved an excellent setting for the show which boasted material from their new album ‘The Color Before The Sun’.

Photo by Zain Zia. Taken at The Ritz, Manchester – 01/02/2016.

The show kicks off with Cheltenham-based melodic hardcore quintet Crooks. It’s a unique moment watching them, as they performed at my very first show as a promoter in 2010, so to see how far they’ve come since then was satisfying. At first, the band look a little nervous playing in front of a very large crowd early on. Frontman Josh opens with an a cappella piece before the rest of the band jump in with lots of energy and deliver an emotional performance. Josh doesn’t look like your regular confident hardcore frontman, but his range is immaculate and the band as a whole grow in confidence as the set progresses. While the band perform well, I feel there’s something missing from the collective. Crooks deliver on the night and can do themselves proud, however a mixture of stage presence and overall passion in a collective sense stops this being a completely solid performance. (3/5)

Photo by Zain Zia. Taken at The Ritz, Manchester – 01/02/2016.

Glassjaw take the stage shortly after, in what’s always guaranteed to be a nostalgic trip back to the noughties. Having not released a full album in 14 years, Glassjaw are a band that I myself wondered if I would ever see in a live capacity. Opening with ‘Tip Your Bartender’ is a sure-fire way to detonate the capacity crowd. Nostalgia sweeps through the venue and all I can think throughout the entire set is, “They’ve still got it.” Watching Justin is particularly entertaining due to the fact I’ve never seen someone dance so much without moving his feet.

It’s fantastic to see Daryl Palumbo back on form. Suffering a long term illness in music is always limiting, but on stage he is commanding, vibrant and delivers a textbook vocal performance. ‘Pink Roses’ and ‘Siberian Kiss’ add to a plethora of other numbers from Glassjaw (including a new song or two) in what is a fantastic set. The new additions to the band in Travis Sykes (bass) and Chad Hawkes (drums) show a few signs that they aren’t fully adjusted to the band, with Travis being very static at times and Chad having one or two tempo issues. All in all, Glassjaw return with authority, and I think I speak for their fans when I say it’s great to have them back and firing on nearly all cylinders. In what is an interesting choice of line-up for this tour, it’s definitely complemented by these returning Long Island titans. (4/5)

Photo by Zain Zia. Taken at The Ritz, Manchester – 01/02/2016.

Enter Coheed and Cambria. The band make their way on to the stage to what can only be described as an utter eruption within the Cardiff Great Hall. Claudio Sanchez in all his hairy glory instantly commands the crowd as the outfit open with ‘Island’ and ‘Eraser’ from the new album to give the crowd a new perception of their live credentials. The new material sounds much better live than on record for me personally, and this is a theme that stays true for their entire set. Their live show proves to be emotional, inspirational and near perfect.

The emotion from the band is clear during one of the new numbers ‘Here to Mars’, a song which I personally fell in love with upon hearing live. Seeing Claudio tear up with the lyrics, ”I hope I’m being clear, because there’s no one like you on Earth that can be my universe,” was a sincere moment and really brought out the emotion in their performance. The overall musicianship of the band is outstanding, with hardly a note out of place.

Coheed fill their set with classics such as ‘In Keeping Secrets Silent Earth: 3’, ‘Devil In Jersey City’, ‘Ten Speed’ and of course their finale of ‘Welcome Home’. The latter is the second of two encores in which Claudio summons his famous twin-neck guitar, much to the delight of the gathering. With a much heavier sound live than on record, Coheed and Cambria bring everything that should be brought. (4.5/5)

Overall, their live performance is nothing short of incredible. Along with Claudio playing the guitar behind his head and with his teeth on numerous occasions, it’s a performance to remember for the packed Cardiff crowd.


Words by Andrew May. Photos by Zain Zia.


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