This past Thursday brought two of the alternative rock scene's most coveted acts, as well as one rising-to-prominence pop-punk act, all together under the Berkeley evening sky. Two of New York's finest, Coheed & Cambria and Taking Back Sunday, have been on the road together all summer for a massive co-headlining tour, so it was with much anticipation that the band brought their outing to Berkeley's Greek Theatre for a night filled with high-energy anthems. With a only a few dates left on the run (Berkeley being the fourth to last), every band on that lineup was giving it everything they had.
Among those giving it everything they've got was Bay Area act The Story So Far, who opened to show. To say that the band have grown immensely as musicians since their 2011 debut, Under Soil and Dirt, would be an understatement. With three full length records under their belt, as well as a fourth coming later this Fall, The Story So Far are a band that teeter between the kind of pop-punk that coats the walls at 924 Gilman Street and the modern alternative rock that permeates culture today. Their forty-minute opening set was met with crowd-surfing, thunderous sing-along moments, and mosh pits that could put other bands to shame. While the band didn't move around too much throughout their set, it didn't seem to matter. The crowd was at their beck and call, and their musicianship throughout each song was impeccable. It's clear that whatever they have coming up this Fall on Proper Dose, their fourth studio album, should be great.
The sun began to set as Taking Back Sunday took the stage. To any Taking Back Sunday fan, the opening riff of "What's It Feel Like To Be a Ghost?", the first track off of their critically acclaimed third album Louder Now, signifies that you're going to be singing along. A lot. Taking Back Sunday are a band that are chock full of songs that inspire those kinds of moments, and Thursday's Greek Theatre set was no exception to this. Performing a number of tracks from Louder Now, along with their newest offering Tidal Wave, 2004's Where You Want To Be, and 2002's Tell All Your Friends, vocalist Adam Lazzara commanded the entire theater with such energy and passion that any other band would be envious of. With a strong lineup rounded out by lead guitarist/co-vocalist John Nolan, drummer Mark O'Connell, and bassist Shaun Cooper, Taking Back Sunday continued to prove why they are playing as massive of crowds as they are today.
The anticipation had been building up significantly before Coheed & Cambria took the stage for a highly-anticipated closing set. After an initial introduction track played over the PA, the band wasted no time and launched headfirst into "The Dark Sentencer", a brand new track from the band's upcoming ninth studio album, The Unheavenly Creatures (set to be released on October 5th, 2018). Without any pause, they launched headfirst into "Here We Are Juggernaut", a fan favorite from their 2010 album Year of the Black Rainbow. From that moment on, the crowd began screaming back vocalist/guitarist Claudio Sanchez' words, and didn't really let up until the end of the show. Sanchez, along with guitarist Travis Stever, drummer Josh Eppard, and bassist Zach Cooper, played through a thirteen-song setlist comprised of some of their best material. Tracks from In Keeping Secrets Of Silent Earth: 3 and Good Apollo I'm Burning Star IV, Volume One: From Fear Through The Eyes of Madness were performed, and there was even an appearance from their first album, 2002's The Second Stage Turbine Blade, in the form of "Devil In Jersey City". Progressive rock can be a tricky genre to get into, but it's so damn hard not to like and appreciate Coheed & Cambria, particularly after seeing their live show. You feed off of an energy that most bands at that level can't even come close to producing. Pairing them with Taking Back Sunday was a smart move, making it a summer concert of epic proportions. With only a couple of dates left, it's a shame that it's coming to an end so soon.