Out celebrating both the 20th anniversary of the band, as well as the release of their latest installment in their vast universe of creative progressive rock, Coheed and Cambria stopped off in Missouri at the Saint Louis Music Park on Sunday, August 7th on the Window of the Waking Mind Tour. Joining them were punk vets Alkaline Trio and imaginative pop singer, Mothica, who opened the night. The epic heat wave rolling through the midwest did nothing to stop the cohort of Coheed fans from hitting the road and making their way to the outdoor venue, pounding cans and cans of Liquid Death — along with plenty that were filled with liquid confidence — while rocking out to a concert that was as equally as epic as the weather itself.
Kicking things off for the scorcher of an evening was Mothica, a singer from Oklahoma City who has chosen to take her collective past traumas and experiences and turn them into beautiful, hard-hitting pop rock songs that have helped both her and her fans find comfort in community. Mothica, born McKenzie Ellis, discusses openly onstage how her past has influenced her present, recognizing that it cannot be something that defines her. She uses her music (which I was pleasantly surprised by) and her stage presence to help others realize they have the power to define themselves, however they want to. One thing she also discusses is how her unique stage name came to be. At a young age, she found herself relating more and more to moths; it’s an insect most of us find disgusting and cast aside, which was similar to how she felt after experiencing so much hardship. Somehow, these misunderstood beings are drawn to light, which inspired Ellis to do the same. No matter what happened, she was determined to strive for the light, adopting the name ‘Mothica’ as a way to remind herself of her ever-longing pursuit. It was an inspiring set, mixed with truly enjoyable tunes. Mothica has a new album called Nocturnal that is available now.
Up next came no strangers to the world of punk music, Alkaline Trio.
A band out of Chicago that has been crushin’ stages and bangin’ heads since the late 90s, Alkaline Trio is showing no signs of stopping yet. The trio took over and had the crowd flashing back to the days of Warped Tour ‘02. The band was generous enough to gift fans in attendance with music straight off of their highly anticipated upcoming album, as well as hits dating back to before that debut WT ‘02 show. Lead singer Matt Skiba has been taking time in between fronting for another famous punk rock band (Blink… and you’ll miss it), making sure this new record is just what the fans have been waiting for. Judging by the reception those songs got in St. Louis, I’d say the new Alkaline Trio album is right on track.
Closing out the night was none other than Coheed and Cambria. Memorializing 20 years together the only way a touring band knows how: out on the road promoting their new album and the latest addition to the ongoing “Amory Wars” saga, Vaxis II: A Window of the Waking Mind. A sprawling, lengthy album that dives deep into the immense, almost unfathomable chronicle that’s only grown more elusive and elaborate with each new installment, the melodramatic story continues from the simple sci-fi beginnings of young Claudio Kilgannon and his parents, Coheed and Cambria — now a total mythology all its own of monstrous proportions.
The presence of the story isn’t lost on the band, who brings a rival energy to the stage that matches any monster set loose.
Lead singer Claudio Sanchez’s aptitude for fronting this band and leading its overarching story is a feat to behold. I mean, his hair almost comes to life after every glorious riff of his Gibson SG. Throughout the night, the crowd got to experience plenty of tracks from the new album, including “A Disappearing Act”, “Shoulders” and “The Liars Club”, but, of course, the show wouldn’t be complete without getting to hear the hits like “A Favor House Atlantic” and probably the most recognized Coheed song, “Welcome Home”. The whole show was exactly what I needed and I couldn’t have been more impressed with the lineup of Mothica, Alkaline Trio and Coheed and Cambria. If you have a chance to check this tour out, I highly recommend you do so — you will be very happy you did! Vaxis II: A Window of the Waking Mind is available everywhere now.
Photography by Thomas Semonco