COHEED AND CAMBRIA+ Saosin. Astoria, London. 16.12.05

It takes a fine band on amazing form to make the room they play in feel half the size and the set they play feel especially written for each member of those in attendance, but tonight Coheed And Cambria defy their patchy live reputation and become that band.

Since this lone English date (until the band return with Thrice in January) was announced there has been magic in the air. The show sold out in three days, driven by the feeling that this would be the last time to see the whites of Claudio and Co's eyes. They also have new material to play, the arrival of their ridiculously titled and some believe, breakthrough album, should mean the set list won't be quite so predictable.

Before the headliners claim the stage theirs, cult champions Saosin make their debut on British soil. Probably hoping to make some new fans on the trip, theirs is a whirling, screaming, impressive display, but it seems more than a few people have already picked up on the buzz.
People are singing loud down the front, girls are screaming and the bands smooth melodic hardcore has heads bobbing all the way to the back. If they can convert the energy of their live performance into next years album things are looking bright.

Coheed don't so much bob heads as blow them clean off shoulders, and they don't look bright, they blind. Arriving on a stage bathed in lasers and lights and decked with props based on the new albums artwork they soak up the cheers for a second before opening with an absolutely massive rendition of 'Welcome Home'.

The sound is perfect, Sanchez's voice high and clear and the crowd are locked in, singing along with even the most ridiculous lyrics. The music sounds so impressive, so big it sucks the space out of the room, bringing band and fans closer. Changes between venomous heaviness and gorgeous melody are as flawless as on record and the force is neck-snapping.

There's no denying Coheed can get excrutiantingly boring but tonight they shave most of the wanky excursions from the set list and slam through tracks like 'Ten Speed' and 'A Favor House Atlantic' with an almost unbelievable vigour.

They play 'Everything Evil' like they do everytime, even when no one wants them to. There is no 'Time Consumer' or 'Heartshot Kid Disaster' and most of the personality onstage is coming from a pile of hair but after the completion of a ropey new album appeared to signal the end of the Coheed story, it now seems, in the live arena at least, it could run and run.

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