Coheed and Cambria live at Koko, London 2017

The power-house American prog-rock band Coheed and Cambria performed their 2005 smash-album, “Good Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV, Volume One: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness” in its entirety at KOKO, London on an absolutely sweltering Monday night as part of their “The NEVERENDER GAIBSIV” tour. To see a band, play an entire album from start to finish is a unique experience and a first for me. The second night of two London dates was attended by a lot of clearly obsessively dedicated fans which nearly packed out the 1500 capacity venue.

The atmosphere was electric and the standing area and balconies of Koko were filled with sweaty twenty-thirty-something fans, the self-proclaimed “Children of the Fence”, with most looking like they’re part of the cast of Metalocalypse. After a forgettable performance by English alternative rock band, Dinosaur Pile-up the stage was set, the music died down and an orchestral piece signaled the start of the Coheed and Cambria show. As the crowd started to chant along to the orchestral piece the hair on the back of my neck stood up.
Frontman, Claudio Sanchez walked onstage, illuminated from behind, with only an acoustic guitar in hand and of course, his magnificent hair amongst incredible decibel screams. The crowd calmed and he performed opener ‘Keeping the Blade’ and then faultlessly went into performing the opening acoustic number ‘Always & Never’. Sanchez then exchanged his acoustic guitar with a double-necked Gibson SG and when the band joined him on stage and the very recognisable riff of the band’s biggest single “Welcome Home” started playing and, the crowd went mental!

Despite minimal sound glitches in the beginning of the show, the band displayed ultimate control from the notable opening track to peak ‘The Willing Well IV: The Final Cut’. They maintained their level of energy and kept the crowd moving in a few intense mosh-pits with arms flung into the air and air-guitar gestures.

Sanchez demonstrated his exceptional guitar chops and changed his shiny guitars often. Lead guitarist Travis Stever’s high speed playing style and back-and-forth guitar duels with Sanchez thoroughly entertained the audience. The rest of the band played their instruments without flaw, but special mention needs to be given to drummer Josh Eppard who kept up an excessive state of liveliness throughout the show and never missed a beat – this man plays with Passion-with-a-capital-P!

Their set list was made up of a total of 17 songs, including ‘Ten Speed (Of God’s Blood and Burial)’, ‘Crossing the Frame’ and ‘Once Upon your Dead Body’. Highlights for me were softer songs, ‘Always and Never’ & ‘Wake Up’. They brought the house down one last time with 3 encores: ‘Island’; ‘Delirium Trigger’ & ‘In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3’.

The signature high-pitched vocals conquered throughout the electronic live set and altogether it was a superb performance from a great, tight group of musicians that has refined their art to near perfection. A stellar night to remember, for fans and none-fans alike.

Set list:

Keeping the Blade – opener

1. Always and Never
2. Welcome Home
3. Ten Speed (Of God’s Blood and Burial)
4. Crossing the Frame
5. Apollo I: The Writing Writer
6. Once Upon Your Dead Body
7. Wake Up
8. The Suffering
9. The Lying Lies & Dirty Secrets of Miss Erica Court
10. Mother May I
11. The Willing Well I: Fuel for the Feeding End
12. The Willing Well II: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness
13. The Willing Well III: Apollo II: The Telling Truth
14. The Willing Well IV: The Final Cut


15. Island
16. Delirium Trigger
17. In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3 

All Images ©Marianne Brits-Strodl
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