Story & Photos by Andy Lyons, Editor-in-Chief
As a light drizzle settled on Kansas City Tuesday night, Starlight Theatre’s lights went dim and Coheed and Cambria hit the stage with a fantastic light show and played a set 20 years in the making.
The prog rockers are touring in support of 2018’s “The Unheavenly Creatures” which continues their Amory Wars narrative – a story they began with fans on their first album. Dubbed “The Unheavenly Skye Tour,” the show featured support from Mastodon and Every Time I Die.
Coheed and Cambria hit the stage to “Prologue” and then exploded into “The Dark Sentencer,” the first single from last year’s album. The gloomy weather made the accompanying light show that much more spectacular. Frontman Claudio Sanchez amped the crowd up seemingly by just doing his thing – he was stationary through the first couple songs behind the microphone, his fingers a blur on his guitar while nailing the up-and-down vocals.
When Sanchez wasn’t on the guitar, he was bouncing around the stage fully entranced in song. As he hopped around it amped up the crowd and gave guitarist Travis Stever and bassist Zach Cooper a chance to shine. Throughout the set, the crowd was louder than Sanchez singing along. As they closed the show with legendary track “Welcome Home,” fans were bobbing to the beat in unison – quite the sight as the lightshow illuminated people throughout the stands.
The drizzle started just before Mastodon went on stage, and that didn’t stop the onslaught. Despite being heavier than headliner Coheed and Cambria, they were really well received. The group’s mix of heavy vocals and melodies give them a bit of a catchy edge and fans reacted by jumping out of their seats to headbang with the band.
One of the more interesting things about Mastodon is that all four members trade vocals. Drummer Brann Dailor took the lead vocals on “Crack the Skye,” a song dedicated to his sister, Skye Dailor, who committed suicide at age 14. The front three seemed to trade the rest of the vocals seamlessly, with guitarist Brent Hinds stepping out onto the side wings of the Starlight stage for a guitar solo early on.
The crowd had donned ponchos and rain coats during their set, but the drizzle didn’t diminish their spirits. Beer still flowed and Mastodon had the majority of the crowd out of their seats and rocking out. The high energy performance seemed a little stifled by the lack of a pit section at Starlight, yet the crowd didn’t seem to mind.
Every Time I Die kicked off the show a bit early – the impending rain had them on stage just before 6:30 p.m. While the crowd was still filing into the Theatre, the band went off as if in front of millions. Their hard and heavy set had most of the fans in front of the stage on their feet and headbanging before dark.
The Tuesday night show had more than 3500 people in attendance. The die hards braved the weather and a week night for an incredible night of music and all three bands didn’t disappoint. Starlight has great sound and Coheed and Cambria’s light show in the rain made being a part of the Amory Wars well worth it.
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