Coheed and Cambria steal the show at the Xcel Center

By Nelli Thomas

The first warm-up band at the Xcel Center on Feb. 13 was rising scremo artist Chiodos from Davison, Michigan. The approximately half-full venue appreciated the music, but it seemed that most were there for the later acts. I’ve seen them a few times in a smaller venue with a more appreciative crowd and can testify that they’ve been better. The highlight of their show was a single from their first album called “There’s No Penguins in Alaska.” The song really shows off the technical prowess of lead guitarist Derrick Frost, and was carried well by energetic lead singer Greg Owens. The second act of the night was prog. rock/emo band Coheed & Cambria. The band has a very enthusiastic if somewhat small fan base among fans of both dramatic graphic novels and dramatic guitar solos. Between acts, stage hands revealed decorations from the epic graphic novel “The Amory Wars” written by lead singer Claudio Sanchez and corresponding to albums released by the band. The main stage feature was a giant hanging “keywork,” a recurring image in the novel representing the flow of energy in The Amory Wars.

In short, Coheed put on their best show yet. Their sound reverberated well through the huge venue and they played at a less rushed but more intense pace than other performances. Their opening song, “No World for Tomorrow,” was one of the best of the night. Accompanied by female backup singers, Sanchez’s singularly high voice, delivered through an impressive mass of curly brown hair that covered most of his face during the show, carried the message of the end of war and hope for renewal. Sanchez has denied suggestions that “The Amory Wars” is an allegory for any current events, explaining that the themes it explores are go deeper than any political event. The band kept the energy well through the show, encouraged by a fairly large crowd, although most people were there to see Linkin Park. They closed with their biggest single, “Welcome Home,” featuring an impressive dual guitar solo and a talk-box.

After Coheed finished, the stage was majorly reconstructed to include a ramped pyramid-like structure with 5 color screens suspended from the ceiling. Linkin Park made a dramatic entrance from lifts below the stage and opened with their newest single “What I’ve Done.” Lead singer Chester Bennington, dressed in tight black clothes with giant combat boots, moved about the stage with energy and fed off the enthusiastic crowd, which was surprisingly diverse. A large group of somewhat intoxicated St. Thomas Linkin Park fans sat behind us and were very excited to be in attendance. The St. Thomas kids, and many of the people at the show, responded best to singles from Linkin Park’s most successful album “Hybrid Theory,” which made up most of the show.

All in all it was an excellent and entertaining evening. Coheed and Cambria definitely put on the show of the night but Chiodos and Linkin Park certainly brought their best to the table to the appreciation of their many fans.