Last week I had the privilege of seeing one of my current favorite bands (Foxing) open up for the band (Coheed and Cambria) that headlined my first concert. The last time I saw Coheed and Cambria was September 2010, in the same venue of Minglewood Hall. My father blessed me with the opportunity to brag about my first concert experience being a band as reputable as Coheed and Cambria. I remember clear as the dreary day I am now writing this, walking into my room and finding two tickets printed out laying on my desk. My 13-year-old self was beyond excited to be out past 11 p.m., but even more thrilled to see my first live commercial performance of music with my dad.
The Foxing and Coheed and Cambria show is one that I will certainly never forget. More than likely it is in my top five concert experiences at this point in my life. Foxing came out and played a number of songs from my favorite album of 2018, “Nearer My God” and had me moving to every song. Foxing in the past had been shoved in the corner with an “emo” sign around their neck, but for their third record, they stretched themselves out to show the world what they are sonically made of.
Originally the pairing of the two bands seemed odd to me. Coheed is one of this generation’s more important prog-rock bands and is one of its more relevant, having stood the test of time throughout the 2000s. After hearing tracks from “Nearer My God” in this specific setting, it dawned on me just how big of an influence Coheed is, not just to this particular band, but alt-rock in general.
A brief synopsis on Coheed and Cambria: the band’s discography is almost entirely filled with solely concept albums about frontman, Claudio Sanchez’s, sci-fi comics, “The Armory Wars.” Not only did the band musically influence this generation of artists with their hard-hitting guitars paired with high-pitched melodic vocals, but they also played a part in changing the landscape of storytelling and branding in music. Seeing any band live is a thrilling experience, but seeing Coheed and Cambria tag-team with Foxing was otherworldly.
These statements are only special to me and maybe a few others. These two bands may mean absolutely nothing to you. Music can mean an immense amount to one person and have no effect on another. This is why concerts are one of the most special things we are able to experience as humans.
There is something unique about live music. I would add a line that specifically highlights the importance of live music in today’s digitalized world, but that observation is tired. Live music will always hold an important place in the hearts of mankind because it showcases the raw, emotional impact that music has on the soul. There’s a connection between the performer and the audience at a concert that you aren’t able to get in other performing arts. Yes, you could go down the line of theatre, comedy, etc. and argue points about how each of these involves the audience. But, you cannot tell me that in the middle of some guy’s set or in a Broadway production, you can simultaneously yell a song back to a performer while running into other people for fun, trying not to hit some guy’s girlfriend. (I do not mosh, but I can appreciate it — from a distance.)
Concerts provide a space for a myriad of different people to come together and enjoy something they all have in common. Everyone there paid an upwards of $40 for three hours of standing while listening to something that they already heard on their way to work that morning because they did not listen to the band they’re seeing on the way to the show because that is very uncool. With live music, everyone in attendance becomes immersed in the same world. Each individual interprets and experiences songs in a variety of ways, but there is still this strong sense of unity within the room, with the exception of the few people who just talk over the music the entire time. Don’t be one of these people. While the car is parked at concert etiquette, never push your way to the front. It’s annoying and rude, and you look entitled.
Music is something that is meant to be experienced in countless ways, and concerts bring people together in a space where we can all, ideally, get along. It’s a medium in which all have something in common — something we are passionate about. Concerts allow us to have a sing-along with your favorite artist and a group of enthusiastic strangers.
During the encore, nodding along to “Welcome Home” on an island surrounded by cyclones of moshpits, protected by a John Cena look-alike and a dungeon master, I felt at home. Music is a thread in the blanket of humanity that brings us together and makes us feel less alone.