Claudio Sanchez's hair is as big as his imagination, and at the helm of progressive rock band Coheed and Cambria he lets it all loose.
Coheed and Cambria brought its concept-based rock to Echostage on March 2 as a part of its The Color Before the Sun Tour. The band's thematic qualities flow through many of its albums, and sets Coheed and Cambria apart from just about any other group.
Sanchez and lead guitarist Travis Stever came to the stage bathed in a blue light. The two shared a microphone while their harmonies floated through their acoustic fingerpicking as the duo performed "Ghost." Sanchez exchanged his acoustic guitar for his go-to electric, a 1980 Gibson E2 Explorer as the rest of the band made their way to the stage.
The light fingerpicking gave way to the band's instrumental-heavy metal sound. Sanchez's tenor danced among the melody before breaking for a head-bang or a screaming solo. At one point, Sanchez stopped playing for a moment to ask a photographer in the pit if he would pass a guitar pick to an audience member who could not have been more than 10 years old.
The crowd was a mix of youngsters who know the band for its hit "Welcome Home," which made an appearance on the Rock Band video game soundtrack, and people who have been listening to the band since its debut album in 2002. The range of ages did not stop anyone from crowd surfing throughout the performance.
A median song length of about five minutes gave the band plenty of time to explore many directions within their compositions. This can take a song like "In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3" (which runs about eight minutes) from the quietest, low energy intro to the heaviest, wailing bridge.
The lasers kick in about halfway through the set, draping the club in frenetic green light, matching the pace of the band. The band kept this energy up until the first end of its set, when the acoustic guitar made its return. This closer of "Peace To The Mountain" acted as a calm and reflective resolution to Coheed and Cambria's long career: "Peace to the mountain/ Girl, I'm gonna go, go."
The energy returned as a final breath of life to the show, ending the night with three powerhouse songs, including "Welcome Home." The six-minute power song is as symphonic as it is metal, with the sounds of orchestration and heavy shredding blending seamlessly before the audience, bringing the performance to a culmination of brilliant musical perfection.