Venue: Bentley Music Auditorium, Mutiara Damansara, Malaysia
Date: 24th April 2013
Promoters: Livescape Asia, LAMC Productions, Rockstar Touring
Review by: Mikhail S.
Special Thanks: Marlina and the Livescape Asia team
Photos by Aidil R.
Circa Survive and Coheed And Cambria have been making their rounds across the scene for a considerable amount of time, racking up legions of fans along the way. It’s no surprise both acts have garnered so many fans, with their respective music styles learning towards more avant garde genres, and lots of preferential reviews about their live performances.
As night descended on 24th of April, so too did throngs of fans at the Bentley Music Auditorium to witness the Malaysian debut performances of these powerhouse bands. As the crowd started to pile into the auditorium, Malaysia’s very own Tres Empre glided onto the stage as the opening act for the night. Dripping in influences of the post-hardcore type, Tres Empre proceed to enthrall the crowd that had the pleasure of seeing them perform, performing with the type of energy and showmanship that you would expect from a seasoned band. Tres Empre left the stage as proof that the Malaysian music scene was surely on the rise.
After the opening act, the crowd was left buzzing, clearly warmed up and had been pumped full of energy from Tres Empre. As hundreds of fans draped in their favourite Circa Survive and Coheed and Cambria shirts started their entrance into the auditorium, the level of expectation in the crowd suddenly sky-rocketed.
Looking around the room, you could feel that this was a smaller venue then what most would have expected for acts such as Circa Survive and Coheed and Cambria. But, this would be one of the best things of the night. The sound was top notch through out the entire performance, and a smaller venue meant that the place was kept cool enough so that no one came out of the venue smelling of sweat.
But best of all was that anywhere you stood felt like you were in the front row. Standing near the back of the auditorium felt like you were standing in the front row in a larger venue. Fans could get close enough to the band that they could almost taste them, with a metal barricade and roughly five-feet of carpet was all that separated the crowd from the band. This was as close and as intimate this group of people would get.
After 15 minutes, the lights went out, and from the dark emerged Anthony Green, Colin Frangicetto, Brendan Ekstrom, Nick Beard, and Steve Clifford, who are also known as Circa Survive.
Vocalist Anthony Green immediately thanks the audience for their hospitality, and compliments the country of Malaysia.
They then immediately launch into “Act Appalled”, one of their more popular songs, to start off the set, and the fans were clearly delighted with this. As soon as the song had gone into the second line, fans were already using the energy they had stored up, starting a mini-mosh pit whilst the rest of the crowd screamed every word they knew of the song. Circa Survive has arrived, and they announced it in the best possible way.
Right off the bat, Anthony Green’s vocals were in top form, and you could hardly tell if you were hearing his voice through a record or he was singing the songs live. Green likes to please the crowd and his fans, and gave them a treat by marching right to the front of the barricade to make sure the fans got close enough for them to remember him forever, singing whilst looking into their eyes. All the while, the band coordinated their headbanging and on-stage movements, almost as if the band was entertaining the crowd with the cabaret, never missing a beat or a note, ensuring that Mr. Green was adequately accommodated musically.
After the song finishes, Green takes a moment to speak of how amazed he was that he had this many fans in Malaysia, and how he was overawed by performing half the world away from his hometown.
Next song up was “Birth Of The Economic Hit Man”, the first track from their new album. The track took a slower pace, which gave the band a chance to creak out some haunting and delayed-driven notes, whilst Green massaged his microphone and gave the crowd the “eyes” in between words, while the crowd sang along to every word. When “Sharp Practice” hit the chorus, the entire room sang “you get what you paid for”, as though the band and the crowd had found the perfect time to express their emotions in unison.
Loving every moment in their fans company, Anthony Green singles out one audience member to compliment him on his singing skills, telling him that he should be on the TV show “The Voice”.
“In Fear And Faith” started off slowly and progressed to the its height when Green thought the best way to share the song with their fans would be to dive into the crowd to sing the last verses of the song, while the crowd held him overhead.
The best was clearly saved for last. As the first notes of “Get Out” were played, the energy suddenly soared, as a mosh pit erupted during the duration of the song, with the crowd sensing that this was their last chance to make Circa Survive remember them. As the lights came up, the fans were sweaty with ecstasy, and Circa Survive left the stage with a permanent mark left in everybody’s ears and minds.
A 30-minute break follows, with people going for a breath of air, a puff of a cigarette and a sip of water. Inside, Rahul from Malaysian punk-legend One Buck Short takes the stage to announce that Malaysia’s biggest rock festival, Rockaway, would be back this year on October 26th, and promised more bands and showcases were to follow.
As the lights dimmed, it was clear that a majority of fans at the show were either fans of both Circa Survive and Coheed And Cambria, or they liked one band wanted to stay to see the other band, which gave the crowd a nice mix of fans and first-timers.
An electronic voice and sounds blare from the speakers. The lights flicker. In seemingly slow-motion, front man Claudio Sanchez emerged from the dark, followed by Travis Stever, Josh Eppard, and Zach Cooper.
Coheed and Cambria had arrived.
With no introduction or salutation, they immediately launched into getting the crowd going with popular hits like “A Favour House Atlantic”. With its almost pop-type influences and jumpy tempo, the performance turns into a disco of sorts, with people jumping up and down and singing to each other. Claudio lets the crowd indulge in themselves by muting himself during the chorus, so that the fans can hear themselves in all their unified glory.
Still feeding from the first song, Coheed slowed it down a little bit, as “Goodnight, Fair Lady” offered the crowd a very nice opportunity to sing along.
Claudio Sanchez’s vocals as a lead singer was every bit on form as his albums, bar a few strained high notes, but with Stever and Cooper doing a wonderful job on backup vocals, you could forgive Sanchez for one or two mistakes. It became apparent that the band was split into two groups: Eppard and Cooper gave Coheed their groove and head-bopping with running, groovy bass lines paired in with some solid drumming, while Stever and Sanchez went forth and created a tapestry with their impressive guitar work, alternating genre lines of post-hardcore and alternative metal and prog-rock.
Only after “Goodnight, Fair Lady” had finished did Sanchez start talking to the audience. He thanks the crowd and is somewhat surprised at how many people had shown up on a Wednesday night to see him and his band.
After the thanks was given, the electronic sounds went up again, and the band started on “The Crowing”, with Sanchez letting his long hair down all the way, it completely covered his face, treating the crowd to a faceless guitarist and vocalist, as they screamed “Dear Ambellina, the prise wishes you to watch over me”.
The electronic sounds come around again. The opening riff for “Vic The Butcher” rings out, signaling to the crowd that things were about to take a turn for the heavier. The crowd duly replied by screaming the chorus while having their fists raised firmly in the air. Sanchez’s piercing vocals rings out all around the auditorium, making sure that even the people lying down at the back end of the room got on their feet. The energy and cohesion of this band was driving everybody to the front to get just a little closer to the action, and the moshpits start getting more and more frequent. It continues to the next song, “Evagria The Faithful”.
Sanchez turns to the crowd and gives them a heartfelt thanks for being a great audience. The interactivity between the band and crowd only came around a few times, but one could probably see why. Coheed’s albums crafted a storyline that spans across 7 albums, and the band were trying to somehow tell the crowd a story. The electronic voices and sounds were to give everybody a backdrop of another universe, and crowd interaction was kept minimal to keep themselves in character.
“The Afterman” slowed things down a little bit, with Sanchez crooning into the microphone, as the entire mood got very visceral. But it didn’t last long as the bands closing song, “Dark Side Of Me” resulted in a constant 3-minute mosh pit, five cases of crowd surfing, and a small contingent of people jumping on each others shoulders to make sure they made one final push for Coheed to give it their all. As the guitars died down, Coheed give the audience a bow and exits to the right.
Shouts of “we want more!” break out, and after five minutes of pleading, an encore was underway. Not one to hide his showmanship, Sanchez indulges the crowd with a guitar solo that he plays using his teeth, showing off his Hendrix influences.
The encore ends with “Sentry The Defiant”, with the band almost visibly spent and a little weary, giving everything they had left in them for the crowd. As they left the stage for the last time, a two-minute long round of applause broke out.
As the night was ending, a few things were definitely apparent. Circa Survive and Coheed And Cambria proved their live credentials were real, and they both gained a lot of new fans, and made a lot of their current fans turn into die-hard fans.
Regardless whether or not either band actually makes it back to perform on Malaysian soil again, their performances in an auditorium in a suburb of Kuala Lumpur will never be forgotten.