I normally don’t do music festivals. I lived in Tampa for most of my life, and my favorite radio station always had a big one-day Memorial Day Weekend festival, the 97X Backyard BBQ, and I went to that for a few years. But for the most part I like to stick with shows where I’m going for a particular band.
After my huge Heedventure a few months back, hearing that Coheed was playing at Rock’n Derby in upstate New York sounded like a thing I needed to do. It had crossed my mind a few times, but I didn’t officially decide to go until my friend Kailyn said she’d find us a ride if I got a ticket. I’m not about to turn down Coheed round 8, so I bought a ticket for just that Sunday.
Saturday evening, Kailyn and I met up with Jason in Long Island. We made a pit stop at Dairy Queen for food for the road, and then hit the ground for the three hour trip to Albany. When not busy eating or jamming out to Coheed and Thank You Scientist, we spent most of the trip catching up on life post-tour.
We spent the night prior to the Derby at a friends’ house in Albany who was throwing a pre-game of sorts. Upon exiting the car, I was immediately greeted by Alex, a Viking who I hadn’t seen since Philly, and Danielle, who I hadn’t officially met in person until now. I was then introduced to a few other people I didn’t know, but with COTFs, they were already family.
We all chilled at a picnic table outside drinking and catching up until the last two joined the party.
“Is that a Lindsay I see?”
Blake, who I’d met at a few shows in the Northeast, and another Danielle who had traveled from Michigan, had done all three days of Rock’n Derby. They joined us and told us all about what we’d missed, including a car catching on fire and number 33 (the unofficial Coheed car) winning the race.
Butt grabbing is a necessary thing at any Coheed related function for reasons I can’t fully understand but will not question. So Saturday night marked the beginning of the butt judging (which I ultimately was awarded with the title of “Best Young Ass.” I’ll take it).
Eventually we all headed inside to crash. There were a bunch of us and not a ton of space, so we all kinda cuddled. I can say it’s for space reasons, but honestly we’re just cuddlers. Like the butt grabbing, cuddling’s just a thing. You saw the pictures of the beds at Denverender, right?
The morning of, we all woke up, got ready, and headed to breakfast.
Sometimes the entire point of posing for a picture is so someone can later Photoshop in a Jesus Claudio.
Stomachs full, we all loaded back in the cars and were en route to Schaghticoke, NY, for the day. Try pronouncing that word. Yeah no. Anyway. Pulling out of a gas station, we hear Coheed blasting out of one of the other cars, so we all scream along with the windows open, clearly in the same group. Eventually our car starts blasting nothing but Coheed the entire way too. It was kind of the best.
Getting into the festival was a bit difficult. Our group separated between those of us who did have VIP and those who didn’t. I did not have VIP, so my smaller group wandered around trying to figure out where wristbands were versus where the bag check line was, which was where we started before being sent back to the entrance before the entrance. I had assumed that was for VIP, so I was thoroughly confused. Eventually we made it in.
We didn’t make it very far before Alex, being the Viking that he is, decides to throw me over his shoulder, and then Jason follows up by trying to lift me above his head. I don’t like heights. It was scary.
I wasn’t too interested in most of the bands playing during the day, so when the opportunity arose, a few of us joined No Shirty Dirty Ern (DJ to Weerd Science) wandering around the festival grounds.
Yes, this is a thing that happened.
At one point I decided to separate from the crew to find food and ended up meeting a girl with a Keywork tattoo. I gushed way too much about Coheed and the tour and my friends there who were on a mission to grab the butt of every COTF at the festival. Luckily she didn’t seem too scared of me. But I definitely talked her ear off.
I knew Alex was switching stages to watch Collective Soul at some point, so I joined him just in time for the last song, which I was surprised to find out I knew—”December.”
Frontman Ed Roland injured his hand and had duct tape covering it keeping it together while he played. Kinda badass.
Then we switched stages again for Ghost. Now I’ve heard about Ghost, but I was a little worried. All I knew was that they wear masks and worship the devil. While on stage. I wasn’t sure how to take that.
Their frontman Papa Emeritus III (apparently their band members are all Nameless Ghouls aside from Papa Emeritus, and there have been three of him. That’s not confusing at all) put on a damn good show. The music was a bit weird for me (which is saying a lot because I feel like my taste in music is generally pretty weird) but still really good, and Papa Emeritus III seemed like a minimalist onstage who still had the ability to control the entire crowd. It was unlike anything else I’d ever seen. He didn’t really dance or make any sudden loud noises, just kinda waved his hand around and walked slowly but with purpose. It worked. Extremely well. I’m not sure if I’d choose to listen to them, but I wouldn’t ever write them off either.
Then it was time for the main event. Well, my main event at least. Coheed technically wasn’t headlining, but still. We all knew who we were there for.
I quickly learned that Coheed at a festival isn’t quite the same thing as Coheed at a show. The crowd doesn’t necessarily know the music, and also there were a decent number of people who had spent the entire day beforehand drinking. So you can imagine what that pit was like.
It hardly even needed to be opened. There was nothing but space behind the main section of the crowd, so the pit formed naturally there. However, it was much more spread out than the pit at an average Coheed show would be. Yet it was somehow just as aggressive, if not more. The number of times the same drunk guy came crashing through was a little disconcerting. Just kinda gotta ignore him and the rest of the drunk people, I guess.
The setlist was very similar to the ones they played on The Color Before the Sun Tour, minus a few songs, predominantly from that album. However, they played “Ten Speed (Of God’s Blood and Burial)” which was not played at any of the stops on that tour, so that was pretty cool. And on a few occasions they would intro a song and my friends and I would stand around trying to guess what it was.
“Was this something they did on the tour? I don’t remember this.”
I crowdsurfed probably three or four times, but I didn’t trust the crowd enough to try to pull off another handstand unfortunately. It wasn’t a purely Coheed crowd, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. However, three friends pulled off some pretty awesome crowdstands.
Overall (minus the drunk guy) it was a good show. It was mostly still daylight out, so after all the moshing we needed to drink all the water. Unfortunately the closest tent only sold beer, so me and two friends wound up walking through almost the entire festival grounds to find some. (So the Viking picked me up and carried me a ways because Viking.)
Shinedown was the headliner at this stage, and as far as I knew at the time I was vaguely familiar with Shinedown. Turns out I actually knew a lot more of their music than I thought I did. I was too tired to mosh anymore so I sat on the ground behind the pit and watched the band from there, surprising myself by singing along to at least half, if not more, of their set. They put on a pretty good show. Definitely worth seeing, despite being so far back.
And then it was time to go. We couldn’t find our cars in the lot for the longest time, but eventually it was time to separate and go home. I was hitching a ride back to New York City with Kailyn and Jason, not sure when I’d see any of the rest of my COTFs again, aside from Alex who had offered to help me pack up my apartment in Boston. I’m moving to San Francisco, and while I couldn’t be more excited, it’s a little sad knowing I can’t catch up with my East Coast crew as often anymore. But as always, #tilnexttime, never goodbye.