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Neverender: Coheed and Cambria at The Avalon

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Thanks to a few MTV hits and a tour schedule that often paired them with the likes of Linkin Park and AFI, Coheed and Cambria have long been wrongly confined to the teeny-bopper ghetto of emo/nu-metal genres -- when in fact, their work is much closer to the expansive prog-rock of Rush and the epic fantasias of Led Zeppelin. Each of their four releases is a "concept" album in the strictest sense -- lead singer and guitarist Claudio Sanchez has constructed an entire sci-fi saga of love, death, and family, a storyline that is also retold in his comic book series, "The Amory Wars". This is not teeny-bopper shit, here, this is rock and roll. Ok -- so maybe it's "Star Wars" inspired rock and roll, but no matter how nerdcore their lyrics might get from time to time, C&C still have the courage of conviction enough to pull off concept albums with ambition and skill.

With a body of work like C&C's, it's actually most fitting for the band to perform each album in its entirety, a feat that they have accomplished twice so far this year with four-night stints in New York and Los Angeles. Titled "Neverender," this concert series is a fully realized, stunning performance that honors both the integrity of the music and the intelligence of the audience. At the Avalon last week, there were no opening acts, no between-song chit-chat, and no disinterested fans. Ok, yes, there was maybe a 15-minute drum solo and maybe, just maybe, Sanchez plays his guitar with his teeth a few times, but even these typical rock band behaviors are integrated into a performance that does not fail to shock and awe.