Coheed & Cambria and Mastodon Mesmerize Stir Cove

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Stir Cove was the place to be Thursday night (6/13), as one of the most highly anticipated shows of the summer rolled into Council Bluffs.

Coheed & Cambria and Mastodon are on a co-headline tour this summer and they are bringing along Every Time I Die to round out the package. Dubbed the “Unheavenly Skye” tour, a combination of Coheed’s new album “The Unheavenly Creatures” and Mastodon’s prog-rock masterpiece “Crack the Skye,” the tour is hitting 26 cities across the U.S. Thursday’s show marked the halfway point for the tour, but there were no signs of fatigue here. All three bands put on amazing sets that had the Stir Cove rocking!

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First up was the hardcore punk band Every Time I Die from Buffalo, NY. If you’ve ever been to Warped Tour, there’s a good chance you’ve caught Every Time I Die (ETID). Since 2002, the band has played the famous punk rock tour eight times! There’s only a few other bands who have done Warped more, including veterans like Less than Jake, Anti-Flag, and Pennywise.

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ETID started the set with “Roman Holiday,” the lead track from their 2009 release “New Junk Aesthetic.” There were a lot of folks riding the rail who threw up their fists and screeched along as Vocalist Keith Buckley shredded his tonsils. Guitarist Andy Williams looked like a beast in his cutoff muscle shirt as he proceeded to riff out on a pink guitar. It was quite the visual contrast seeing this giant guy with a feminine toned axe, but I have no doubts about Andy’s tough guy prowess. When he’s not melting faces, Andy is a semi-pro wrestler known as the Butcher of Buffalo. How cool is that?

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Towards the second half of the set the band had a lot more clean singing, which I enjoyed, but the biggest reaction came from “the New Black,” which was featured on the wildly popular video game Guitar Hero 2.

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ETID played 12 songs during their 40 minute set, and many of the folks I talked to were really stoked with the performance. You can find more ETID info HERE.

After ETID it was time for the first headliner, the mighty prog-rock wizards, Mastodon!!

As smoke billowed across the stage, the band stepped out to thunderous applause. Wasting no time, Mastodon ripped into “Oblivion,” the first track from the band’s seminal album “Crack the Skye.” I caught Mastodon the first time they toured in support of ” Crack the Skye” on the Black Diamond Skye tour with Deftones and Alice In Chains. Talk about a top-notch lineup!

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What I remember from that show, aside from Deftones absolutely killing it, was Mastodon’s visuals were really cool. I didn’t know much about the band at the time, but their background images still stick out. There was some crazy half man, half goat looking stuff, a lot of stars and space, and assorted woodland creatures.

This time around Mastodon had a similar setup with large screens behind them displaying accompanying video. With the sun still shining it was a little hard to tell if it was the same video as last time, but what was running did look pretty slick. There was a lot of fiery red and orange, while geometric shapes cut across the screen. I talked to a lot of fans after the set, and some said the videos were so good they almost distract you from the band!

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Mastodon played the entire “Crack the Skye” album which runs about 50 minutes, and still had time for a few older songs including “Ember City,” “I am Ahab,” “Bladecatcher,” and “Black Tongue.”

I had fun watching Mastodon for the second time, but I was hoping they would have played a few more songs from their latest album “Emperor of Sand.” Unlike some of their earlier prog-rock releases, which can be a bit abrasive and hard to get into for the untrained ear, “Emperor of the Sand” is a straight forward rock record with amazing melodies and pop sensibilities. See singles “Show Yourself,” and “Steambreather.”

Even without the new songs it was still a good set, and I know a lot of fans turned out to see Mastodon. Looking to the rock band T-shirt pie graph below, you will notice a fairly close distribution between Coheed and Mastodon.

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At the end of the set drummer Brann Dailor mentioned that Mastodon will be back next year with a new album. I’m excited to see where the band goes next. Hopefully they stick with the pop-groove metal stuff. Either way, I would see the metal giants Mastodon again.

In between Mastodon and Coheed I talked to all kinds of fans!

This kid was seeing his first show with his dad. Way to go dad! Starting him out with a banger of a show.

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These ladies were ready to rock!

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These friends were having a blast!

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I talked with Zach (in the middle) who was wearing a 311 shirt, and he’s been to 54 three eleven shows! We gabbed about 311 for a while and he had the best quote of the night

Look around…there are no frowns. This is a no frown zone!

This guy put Coheed tattoos on his head with Sharpie! That’s some dedication. He saw Coheed back in 2003 and has been a fan ever since.

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After all the crowd mingling the sun had set and it was time for one of my all time favorite bands Coheed & Cambria! This was my eighth time seeing Coheed and I was so pumped! I took my spot in the photo pit and patiently awaited for the band’s arrival.

An eerie piano started playing and static flashed across the screen. Soon, the smoke started rising and the screens lit up.

A scruffy Claudio stepped out and I (um.. I mean the crowd) screamed!! “Claudio, Oh! Dear Claudio, Oh! We’ll make it if you believe!” Sorry, I drifted off there.

With his wild hair flowing, Claudio and crew started jamming out with “Dark Sentencer,” the first track from Coheed’s new album “The Unheavenly Creatures.”

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Then, throwing it back to to the double album “The Afterman: Ascension (part 1) Descension (part 2),” Coheed played “Key Entity Extraction V: Sentry the Defiant.”

Following “Sentry” was the title track to Coheed’s new album “Unheavenly Creatures.” With an arcade style piano intro and upbeat chorus, this was one of the more pop sounding songs of the night.

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Alas, my three song window was over and I exited the photo pit. Now, I typically walk around and talk to fans, or watch from the back after I’m done shooting, but this show was different. This was the mighty Coheed & Cambria!!

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As soon as I heard the opening notes of “In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth 3” I ran into the pit and got right in the thick of it. I got chills as I sang sang along with my fellow “Children of the Fence.” “Man your own jackhammer! Man your battle station!” “In Keeping Secrets” ranks as one of my top five Coheed songs of all time.

As I mentioned previously, I had seen Coheed seven times before, but the rush of energy from being with true Coheed die-hards was just as powerful as the first time I saw them.

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Next, Coheed threw it back to where their breakout success all began with the song “A Favor House Atlantic.” This song got the crowd pumped! As one of Coheed’s biggest radio hits, Claudio had no problem stepping back and letting the crowd take over the vocals during the chorus.

A few songs later, Coheed pulled out a deep cut “Mother Superior.” The song starts out very stripped down, but builds into a beautiful symphony of guitars by the end. I’m glad they played it, as I don’t think I had ever heard “Mother Superior” live.

As the night came to end, Coheed brought out one of their go-to closers, the quintessential workout jam “Welcome Home.” A six minute romp of squealing guitars and Viking-like whoa-oh vocals, it’s the ultimate finale of Coheed songs.

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Without a cloud in the sky it was the perfect night for a show. They came, they saw, they rocked. I can’t wait to do it all again!

Shout out to Stir Concert Cove for bringing one of the best package tours of the summer. I feel like every year, Stir Cove steps up their concert game a little bit more. We have several more shows on our list for Stir this year, but you can find their full list of shows and purchase tickets HERE.

Finally, the biggest shout out of the night goes to Roadrunner Records for the photo access. Roadrunner has some killer shows coming up including the Knotfest Roadshow featuring: Slipknot, Gojira, Behemoth, and Volbeat on August 8 at Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln. Make sure to grab your tickets HERE! We’ll see you in the pit!

Thanks for reading. If you like what you read, please share! Every share, like, comment, and social media follow helps keep the dream alive!

You can also follow along on Facebook and Instagram: @storiesfromthecrowd

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