Coal Chamber Concert Review – Cleveland, OH – The Agora – August 16, 2015

coalchamber
Photo © J.R. Bessette

It was the breakup heard around the metal world. In 2003, Coal Chamber decided to call it quits and fans around the world mourned their loss. One of the first and arguably one of the most influential metal bands of the early 2000s, Coal Chamber’s deep, heavy riffs and creepy vibe gained them a loyal following.

The chameleon-like ability of their singer, Dez Fafara, to alternately whisper, sing and scream always guaranteed rowdy crowds and sold out shows. When it was announced that Coal Chamber was reuniting and releasing their first new studio album in 13 years, the collective metal world breathed a sigh of relief. Coal Chamber was back. And they were going on tour.

Coal Chamber steamrolled through Cleveland last night (08.15.15), whipping the hungry fans- old and new- into a frenzy. Some bands return after a long hiatus and look either as if they aged 25 years or they have spent too much time on the golf course- not Coal Chamber. Still tried and true rock and rollers who have not lost their edge, the band looked as if they had stepped out of a time machine. Donning their trademark looks, each member of the band channeled the indomitable energy of the crowd into their live performance and gave with gusto a show that would have rivaled any of the best shows from the band’s heyday.

Coal Chamber opened the set with “Loco” off of their debut album, and as soon as Fafara opened his mouth, it was apparent that Coal Chamber was definitely back, sounded better than ever and the fans were still just as loyal and rabid. The band’s ebullient demeanor reflected their enthusiasm for being back together and playing together every night. Coal Chamber fans that had not seen each other in years reunited- because that’s how they roll- it was like a big creepy family reunion. A pounding rendition of “Big Truck” was followed by “I.O.U. Nothing” off of their new album ‘Rivals’ (Napalm Records, 2015), which demonstrated the band has not lost their gift for writing killer riffs. “Rowboat” saw Fafara growling into a sparkling bullhorn and commanding the crowd with every flick of his wrist.

As the set rolled on, peppered with goodies such as “Drove,” “I,’ and “No Home,” bassist Nadya Peulen swirled her trademark red hair as guitarist Meegs Rascon displayed his usual frenetic fervor as he crisscrossed the stage at a dizzying pace. Mikey Cox worked the crowd from the drum set- shirtless and often drumming standing up, commanding attention even from the back of the stage. Fafara’s deep, gritty voice punctuated Coal Chamber’s trademark dark, heavy groove and he played close to the crowd, often intently looking his fans directly in the eyes. In lieu of an encore, the band closed the set with a rousing version of their anthem “Sway,” much to the delight of the bruised, sweaty and reunited fans.

Drumsticks and guitar picks were tossed as the band lingered on the stage for several minutes after the set was over. Fafara stayed onstage the longest, even doing what could only be construed as a ‘happy dance’ before exiting. Coal Chamber was enjoying basking in the connection with their fans- a connection it seems both parties missed tremendously over the years.

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