Coheed and Cambria


Mar 10, 2013 – 8:00 PM

1000 Seaboard Street
Charlotte, NC 28206 Map

  • Coheed and Cambria
  • Russian Circles

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Coheed and Cambria: American progressive rock band, Coheed and Cambria, has taken the musical narrative to a whole other level. Besides their hugely popular tour dates, the band's albums tell a continuous story of a couple (Coheed and Cambria) who live in a futuristic society that is threatened by a seemingly unstoppable virus, and soon find themselves the only ones that can stop it. In the process, Coheed and Cambria has become rock stars, and their albums have arguably become better known for its hit music more than its story line. After recently finishing up 2011 tour dates on their 10th Anniversary tour, Coheed and Cambria have only a few shows remaining this year.

Initially called Shabütie, while the band was on tour in Paris they decided to adopt the names of characters in lead singer and guitarist Claudio Sanchez's short stories, and to base their lyrics and albums around them. The result was The Second Stage Turbine Blade which is actually the second volume in Sanchez's epic known as The Armory Wars. The album was well received by audiences and led to numerous supporting tour dates over the next year. Coheed and Cambria's follow-up album, In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3 was an even bigger success, receiving praise from music critics and catching the attention of major labels.

Coheed and Cambria's latest album, Year of the Black Rainbow is the prequel/1st installment in the Armory Wars saga. Critics have called the album possibly their best yet, and have noted that the music appeals to those who are interested in the story line or not. Coheed has a few 2011 tour dates in South America in September, including a performance at Rock in Rio. With so few remaining shows this year, fans in South America should leap at the chance to catch these tour dates in 2011.

Russian Circles: Russian Circles have it. That's really what it all boils down to in the end, after all the promotion, the interviews, the advertisements, the one-sheets, the haranguing from publicists: Does this band have it -- that impossible-to-define something that you can't explain, but instantly recognize? It's what makes a band indelibly memorable and sends people scurrying to the merch table after their set. Up until recently, Russian Circles didn't have much to sell those people besides a self-released four-song demo. That's because the band only formed in late 2004, after the break-up of Dakota/Dakota, the math-rock band in which guitarist Mike Sullivan and bassist Colin DeKuiper played. When drummer Dave Turncrantz moved to Chicago after he quit his old band, Riddle Of Steel, Russian Circles cohered into something formidable. When the band started playing out, word of mouth spread quickly and continues to do so. Russian Circles habitually steal the show from headliners, even though they don't play the most accessible music. First, they're instrumental, which for many people is an instant strike against them. Second, they play an intense amalgam of punk, metal, indie rock and even prog -- not exactly the kind of stuff aired on your local alt-rock station, or college station for that matter. But people who don't even like instrumental bands still rush Russian Circles' merch table after their sets, buying an average of 40 demos per show. For bands hawking their wares at the same table, it's an impressive sight. With the May release of their debut full-length, Enter, for up-and-coming indie label Flameshovel Records (Chin Up Chin Up, The Narrator, Maritime), Russian Circles now have something else to sell at the merch table. Recorded over the course of five quick days with Greg Norman (Zwan, Guided By Voices, Pelican, Neurosis) at the renowned Electrical Audio Studios in Chicago, Enter contains only six tracks, but they pack a lot into them -- the album clocks in at 44 minutes. Each song flows into the next as if the record were one single composition in six movements. "We just wanted to make sure it was one giant piece, not disjointed song by song," Sullivan says. "Just very thematic, not all over the place. We went into the studio knowing what songs were going to be in what order and how we were going to segueway." He laughs before adding, "It was way too thought out." But Enter doesn't seem forced, and Russian Circles don't sound like a new band clumsily over-thinking their songs. Four of the songs appeared, in a different form, on the group's demo, so they have a lived-in feel. The stunning opener, "Carpe," throws the gauntlet down early and doesn't let go for nine minutes. Russian Circles specialize in shifting dynamics, and not just the binary code of loud/quiet. The songs seem to hold their breath through intense moments (check the beginning of the fantastically titled "Death Rides A Horse"), but exhale through sweeping, airy horizons that slowly collapse into dense panoplies. Instrumental bands have to compensate for the presence a vocalist would bring, but with Russian Circles, vocals seem extraneous. Who needs some dude's caterwauling when you have Sullivan's richly textured playing? It's got enough technical flair to make guitarists in the audience reconsider taking lessons, but it flows naturally, never resorting to wanky theatrics. DeKuiper's thick, growling bass lines provide the punch in the low end. Drummer Turncrantz's propulsive, polyrhythmic beats make him the "Jesse's Girl" of the indie scene, leaving band dudes everywhere wondering, "Where can I find a drummer like that?" Taken together, Russian Circles prove that people who whine about the dearth of good bands just aren't looking hard enough. Enter is an exhausting 44 minutes, but it leaves listeners wanting more. What can you say? Russian Circles have it.

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