To the delight of Denver prog and metal fans, Valentine’s day was run amok as Between The Buried and Me, Coheed and Cambria, and Russian Circles ripped through the Ogden Theater. The day of the show, Denver got hit with its first noteworthy snowstorm of the year. This was a good indication that it was going to be quite an interesting evening. Denver seems to loose a grip on its wild and weird citizens when the city is covered in a blanket of snow.
The Ogden Theater was packed to the gills with die hard Between the Buried and Me fans, as well as the progressive rock fans of Coheed and Cambria. Getting upstairs in the venue was a nearly impossible feat, and the smokers section resembled farm animals headed to the slaughter, each of them howling, hot, smoky breath unfurling from their mouths in the frigid air.
Russian Circles took the stage in complete darkness, with the hum of a guitar chord distorted and constantly rolling on. They took their positions on the stage and the crowd seemed curious and patient. The lead singer flipped on a bright orange tungsten tube light above his pedal board. The band began to play a very transient and relaxing song (I think it was “Atackla” off of the Empros album) that mesmerized the audience like moths diving into a fire. The track lead into a very powerful heavy rock beat, bass-driven, and oriented to be felt in the gut. I looked over the crowd to see everyone head banging with a hand in the air, most with their eyes closed. The instrumental and ambient rock offerings emoted an industrial feel emphasized by the warm halogen light show.
The buzz began about fifteen minutes before Between the Buried and Me came on stage, the crowd was in a frenzy, yelling over one another, chanting BTBAM, with smoke rising over the crowd. There was an elaborate light wall set up behind the band on stage with flashing LED lights changing colors. Between the Buried and Me came on stage in full force; the crowd went absolutely bonkers, the lights blasting white flashes out on over audience, a plum of stage fog rising was creeping over the elaborate light set up and falling on the band members like mist from above. The music started, and with it they tossed the audience somewhere into the vast forever-ness that is known as the album Colors. As a photographer in the pit, it was great- The album coming with one song left and photo-pit security confused as to what exactly three songs were. They went on to play a twenty-five minute set that was nestled somewhere within the Colors album. If the lights and very present, and energetic stage presence didn’t catch the whole audience; then it was the ‘universe-traveling’ sounds of Between the Buried and Me that abducted them. The light show was incredible with the waves of the music, it seemed tuned to each note that went through the soundboard; creating a universal visual and auditory connection. They followed up their stint in colors with a song from their new album on Metal Blade (The Parallax II: Future Sequence) and the audience completely lost it. They took a trip back to their roots and played “Mordecai” off of the Silent Circus, followed by a song from their album Alaska.
Between The Buried and Me put on an amazing show as always, they are constantly followed by die hard fans and have an ever-growing fan base. They’re a cult staple to any hard rock or metal fan that has the ears of an audiophile. Each of their songs are structured around an elastic and constant pulling, getting heavier and faster with each second before bursting into an array of color and beautiful sounds that seem to come from another dimension.
As I entered the photo pit before Coheed and Cambria took the stage, it looked like a tornado had just rolled through. The gate between the crowd and the stage had buckled in the middle, making a V shape in the middle pointing right at the center stage microphone. There were bazar, glass-encased, pearl-white mannequins on both back sides of the stage that began to fill with smoke, and the interlocking Coheed and Cambria symbol that was elaborately changing colors. The lead singer took the stage to screaming fans, all with both hands in the air. The light show was incredible, with strobes blasting from behind fog coming out of the glass-encased mannequins. Projections of creatures and objects to the left and the right of the giant Coheed symbol on the wall began once they dove into sections from their new albums. The photo pit gate was moving closer and closer towards the stage until it was nearly impossible for anyone in the small space to move whatsoever. Coheed and Cambria are an amazing band to see live, very high energy and all over the stage; they rock hard as hell. The entire place went up in madness when they broke into “Keyed Entry Extraction V” (second song on The Aftermath: Descension) and at one point in the show they blew a fuse and all the music stopped except the stage monitors, but it didn’t seem to bother them – Coheed played on until the music started and brought it back twice as energetic and powerful.
Words and photos by BTS Photographer, Joshua Chase