Photos and Review by Heather Burditt
When I heard about this lineup I couldn’t figure out the connection between these two bands. Sheer Mag and Coheed & Cambria are stylistically different. Somewhere halfway through Coheed’s set, it hit me. It’s Iron Maiden. Iron Maiden is the connection. Sheer Mag takes it back to the early days of Iron Maiden with their strong Thin Lizzy influences. While Coheed and Cambria takes Iron Maiden forward with their layered guitar and dark, saga style songwriting. The whole show was a journey from past, present and to the future.
I was introduced to Sheer Mag years ago, right when they started to evolve from that garage punk sound demanding you have a PBR in your hand and an old leather biker jacket on regardless of how hot it is outside. Oh, and you probably haven’t brushed your hair in like 6
weeks either, if you ever have. That’s not even important when you’re making music as straight up as Sheer Mag puts out. The first time I saw them on stage was in a 250 person capacity venue. Getting to see them on the Orange Peel stage (1050 capacity), to a sold out crowd, I felt like I was watching them grow up before my eyes. Singer Tina Halliday stands on that stage like she lives on it, Tina doesn’t give af. The band gives a non-stop, high-octane 70’s inspired punk-esque performance. From authoritative, angry and politically relevant lyrics to edgy love songs that hit hard, like an on again off again relationship. There’s a texture to her voice that can’t be taught, that comes straight from the garage. It’s straight-up, there’s no cream and sugar. With Sheer Mag, you’re getting your coffee black, and it’s a little bitter but it wakes you up in all the right ways.
Coheed & Cambria has one of the most dedicated fan bases I’ve ever seen. The fans showed up, found their spot and did not move for the entire show, unless of course they could get closer. It felt like the crowd knew every word to every song. And the merch representation was palpable. Coheed & Cambria shirts permeated the crowd. People were carrying posters and albums they bought long before the show even started. And why wouldn’t they? This band has built a universe around their music, complete with a narrative arc to their albums and a comic book series. These fans respect this band in the way that Star Wars fans regard the pre-Disney days. The fans love them so much, that one fan decided to propose to his girlfriend mid set! When Claudio Sanchez hits the stage, the epic begins. Their music is loud, edgy, and powerful. It’s heavy but it’s also uplifting. Claudio has the vocal range of the 80’s power metal singers and the whole set is an amalgamation of post grunge alternative, 90’s emo (I know he hates this. I’m sorry!) and that 80’s power and the crowd can’t get enough of it. If it’s the theatrical presence that’s selling it, it’s the vocals, the swirling guitar over bass heavy riffs that’s carrying it.
Many people debate what rock and roll is and isn’t. Two bands, two very unique modus operandi, but similar roots and influences captured that rock and roll feeling. I didn’t feel like I was watching a band, I felt like I was watching a movement I wanted to join.
Coheed and Cambria
Review originally published by UnHinged Mag