Progressive rockers Coheed and Cambria are nearing the final couple of weeks of a month-long tour supporting their latest release Vaxis – Act II: A Window of the Waking Mind. Accompanying them on this run are pop-punk legends Alkaline Trio and alt-pop artist Mothica. We caught up with the tour at the halfway point on July 29th at Boston’s Agganis Arena.

The night began with a set from Mothica, the stage name for musician McKenzie Ellis. Ellis strode out onto the stage before the nearly half-full arena and kicked her set off with the track, “Casualty.”

During the set, Ellis opened up to the crowd about her struggles with depression, sexual assault, and domestic abuse. At one powerful moment, she spoke about a moment in her life when at the age of 15, she tried to take her own life before in her song, “forever fifteen.”

Things took a lighter note as Alkaline Trio emerged to play a hit-filled set interspersed with the typical stage banger. The running gag from guitarist/vocalist Matt Skiba on this night seemed to be replacing different words in their songs with references to Boston, but in places that didn’t really make sense. They started off with sing-along-worthy, fan-favorite “Warbrain,” from their 2007 record Remains, following with the newer song, “Blackbird.” There was a lot more overlap in the fanbases of Coheed and Alkaline Trio than I had expected, and the crowd seemed eager to sing and bob along to their set as the band continued with the catchy hit “Calling All Skeletons.”

At last, it was time for Coheed and Cambria! This tour sees the band sporting some of the wildest production I’ve ever seen them with—almost Iron Maiden-esque—so it was fitting that the speakers at the venue rang out with Maiden’s epic song “Aces High” before the band emerged to open their set with the first two tracks from The Unheavenly Creatures, “Prologue” and “The Dark Sentencer.” It was eerie hearing the evil voice in the first song booming out as a giant horned monster loomed out over the stage from the backdrop.

Their performance went on to include newer material from their latest release, including the tracks “Beautiful Losers,” “Blood,” and “The Liars Club.”

Frontman Claudio Sanchez sounded flawless—as good if not better than on the new record. Truly, no one has a voice like Sanchez, and his range is incredible to behold in a live setting! For the longtime fans in attendance, Coheed didn’t hold back from playing the hits—though, to be fair, I’m pretty sure if they didn’t include “In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3” and “A Favor House Atlantic,” in their set, the audience would’ve rioted—and the crowd sing-alongs for these were massive! The band’s enthralling 18-song set came to a close with an encore of “The Suffering” and “Welcome Home,” complete with Sanchez’s signature double-necked Gibson SG guitar.

If you haven’t caught this tour yet, you have a couple of weeks left—the band continues through August 17th. The remaining dates are below.

Remaining Tour Dates:

08/09 – Denver, CO @ Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre
08/10 – Salt Lake City, UT @ The Lot at The Complex
08/12 – Los Angeles, CA @ Shrine LA Outdoors
08/13 – San Diego, CA @ Cal Coast Credit Union Open Air Theatre
08/14 – Berkeley, CA @ Greek Theatre
08/16 – Seattle, WA @ Marymoor Park
08/17 – Troutdale, OR @ Edgefield


When he's not out in the woods, clomping around in streams, or looking at shiny rocks, you can find our U.S. Managing Editor and contributing photographer Nathan Katsiaficas in the photo pit, covering everything from heavy metal to punk, alternative, indie, and hip-hop.