Hot Water Music / Thrice / Coheed and Cambria - live in Cleveland (Cover Artwork)

Hot Water Music / Thrice / Coheed and Cambria

live in Cleveland (2002)

live show

In an effort to beat something as far into the ground as possible. I've decided to toss my hat into the ring of reviewers trying to decipher this amazing tours various performances.

I guess I should start by letting you know that I've fallen in love with Hot Water Music and that not only was I looking forward to this tour since it was announced, but it also happened to be my 21st birthday. Talk about a present. I'd heard a lot of good things about Thrice from the other people in my band, among others, and I was certain they'd put on a show.

The first band I saw was Coheed and Cambria [insert afro reference here]. While the afro was astounding, it was not the most shocking thing for me. Upon the first note this guy sang my jaw dropped open. Not in a good or bad way, I guess, at first listen, the singer sounded like a dead ringer for Geddy Lee. It took me a while to deal with that. Eventually I settled in and enjoyed their set somewhat. The singers voice live was infinitely better than on CD, but still not enough to totally sway me. Still, I couldn't help but think of the guts it takes to sound like that and play for music snobs like me.

Next up was Thrice. As I said before, I'd heard nothing but good things about them. They played an enthusiastic set to play the least. Something about them didn't seem to click for me though. Sometimes it seems as if riffs are added to their songs in order to make them significantly different and complex. I'm still trying to digest Illusion of Safety, but that seems to be a prevalent theme throughout. Either way their performance was full of energy and the song Phoenix Ignition is still really awesome.

Hot Water Music, one of my favorite all time bands was up next. My friends said that they had seen one of the guitarist/singers (I think Chris, is he the one with the higher voice?) pounding shots at the bar pre-show. That seemed standard enough. They took the stage in front of a medium sized but devoted following. They kicked it off with "A Flight and a Crash." Energy and intensity were both present and it turned into a rocking show. They played mostly songs from the new CD (which I love), one from most of the old (it's got to be hard to make everyone happy when you have that big a catalog) and kept the intensity going the whole show through.

Two things were nagging me the whole show though. The first was that, like I mentioned before, any hardcore fan of the band has a tough time since they have a load of releases and not a really weak CD among them. I had only gotten the chance to see them before at Warped Tour, where they played a set that was from many different albums, but, obviously, was too brief. Of course, some of my favorites were left out, but I knew this going in.

The real issue that I had was with Chris(?) (the aforementioned higher voiced singer). While I have no problem with a band drinking pre-show, I do get disappointed when it affects their performance. You could tell he was pretty wasted on stage. Everywhere he moved he stumbled and some songs he had to just stop playing and steady himself. His singing on some songs really stood out in a bad way. Overall, this wasn't a huge deal, but it was a distraction. Since Hot Water Music's main power lies in it's mixing technical flair with blue-collar intensity, it came across solid, but flawed at times. Maybe my expectations were too high, but I enjoyed the show nonetheless.