Finishing off a six-date UK tour, Coheed and Cambria played Roundhouse, a unique circular venue found just north of punk and counter-culture mecca Camden in London. Dubbed “The Unheavenly Tour”, this leg is merely the start of playing around the world in support of masterful new release Vaxis – Act 1: The Unheavenly Creatures. Marking a return to the Amory Wars concept which was the story behind seven of their previous eight albums, this release is the first in a pentalogy, and serves as an introduction to two new key characters in Creature and Spider Sister, and of course, displays top-notch prog-rock chops. 
Prior to Coheed’s set, math rockers Chon open the show. Their music is instrumental and blends the performers’ exceptional technical ability with catchy passages loaded with hooks which wouldn’t be amiss in some of the biggest pop songs. The San Diego foursome don’t miss a note in their complex progressive grooves, and the grin born on guitarist Mario Camarena’s face show how satisfying it must be for something so complex to come together perfectly on stage. The crowd engage well, “woo”-ing along with “Perfect Pillow”, which is impressive given the band spoke fewer than 20 words on stage.
Check out CHON performing “Perfect Pillow” live in concert.
Entering to a packed Roundhouse, Coheed and Cambria immediately launch into “Dark Sentencer” from their latest. Playing tracks from most of their previous albums , such as “Devil in Jersey City” from their debut (The Second Stage Turbine Blade, 2002) and the title track from In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3 (2003), this is a greatest hits set with Unheavenly Creatures songs scattered about, rather than dedicated to the one album. What is on display tonight more so than other live performances is the polish of the mix and vocal harmonies, at its peak during fan favourite singalong “A Favor House Atlantic”.
New track “The Gutter” evokes Queen with its Brian May-esque tones and the bombastic prog-rock nature in its structure; sitting midway through their set, it stands out as not only a highlight from the new album but one of the strongest tracks they’ve ever written. Having the quality in their back catalogue to move straight from this into “Wake Up”, it’s clear vocalist Claudio Sanchez and his bandmates have the crowd in the palms of their hands.
Some live shots, courtesy of John Gilleese, of Coheed and Cambria @ Academy in Manchester on October 13.
Sanchez ditches the guitar for “Old Flames” (off The Unheavenly Creatures) and bounds around the stage like the experienced frontman he is, leading the audience to join in for the chorus and its iconic wordless outro. Returning for an encore to finish with a euphoric “Welcome Home”, Coheed and Cambria display that even after album number nine they are still at the peak of their powers, and are not only one of the most visionary and pioneering songwriters on record, they are a must-see live rock band.
Coheed and Cambira’s Setlist:
01. The Dark Sentencer
02. Here We Are Juggernaut
03. Devil In Jersey City
04. Unheavenly Creatures
05. In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3
06. The Crowing
07. Blood Red Summer
08. A Favor House Atlantic
09. Ten Speed (Of God’s Blood & Burial)
10. The Gutter
11. Wake Up
13. Old Flames
14. Welcome Home
Coheed and Cambria throwing up some “Old Flames” in the live setting.
 Coheed and Cambria’s albums are set within the futuristic sci-fi universe of “Heaven’s Fence” – understanding the back story is not essential to enjoy their music, but it is well worth checking out to get fully immersed. Learn more about The Amory Wars right here.
 No World For Tomorrow (2007) and The Afterman: Ascension & Descension (both 2012) are missing.