Coheed brings the Armory Wars to Billings

Coheed and Cambria frontman Claudio Sanchez.

The reputation of Claudio Sanchez as a sincere and exceptional musician is only exceeded by his thick, spiraling hair that obscures his face in performance.

At one point in Thursday’s Coheed and Cambria performance  at the Babcock Theatre, the musician and writer pulled back his characteristic long hair streaked with blond bolts and grabbed an acoustic. He performed a skin-tingling rendition of “Pearl of the Stars,” from the band’s newest record, “Year of the Black Rainbow.”

The band is touring on “Year of the Black Rainbow,” the final saga in a series of comic books written by Sanchez titled “The Armory Wars.”
Sanchez, known for his distinctive vocalist and epic sagas told through song, began the set with the battle cry “In Keeping Secrets Of Silent Earth: 3,” and the venue shook.

“Man your battle stations. We’ll have you dead pretty soon,” Sanchez sang. Reverberations ricocheted through the theater, covering the room with thick, dense sound. Long blue shadows were cast upon the audience, and the Armory Wars began.

The correlation between Sanchez’s comics and the music is extraordinary. Within the walls of his lyrics he’s created a world that is like none other, a world that comes to life on the page, and yet when Sanchez sings, he opens doors to other worlds that are just as amazing.

Coheed ended their set with “Welcome Home.” Sanchez strapped on a double-necked guitar and mainlined rock through the instrument, at one point playing behind his back and then offering the guitar to the audience to strum.

Sanchez offers up his guitar to the crowd to play.

Local opener Past Mars played exactly 15 minutes in an opening slot that was coveted by several local bands. The fallout over the slot seemed miniscule on the day of the concert, and only a few hecklers brought bad blood to the venue. Crowd turnout was less than expected for a band as impressive as Coheed and Cambria.

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