Coheed and Cambria Pull Out the Stops for Their Dear Auntie

"Did anyone see where I left my guitar?"Photo: Elizabeth Cline

Forgive us for saying so, but Coheed and Cambria’s Friday-night CMJ gig doubling as a fund-raiser for Alzheimer’s — Antonia Cristiano, front man Claudio Sanchez’s aunt and band den mother, recently passed away after battling the disease — seemed especially poignant given how young their fans are and how difficult it is to track the group’s convoluted sci-fi narratives. As Sanchez was dedicating the ballad “Mother Superior” (off No World for Tomorrow, out tomorrow) to Cristiano, his monitors went out, tripping the singer up, and leading to the night’s most emo moment: “I sat up all night last night thinking of the perfect thing to say at that moment,” he confessed glumly from somewhere within his hair. “And of course this happens.”

The encore, meanwhile — which came after a typically terrific, anthem-packed show — emphasized the band’s prog-rock leanings. It was devoted entirely to jamming: Sanchez soloed with the guitar behind his head and on a theremin; Travis Stever blew on the mouth harp; and the band’s new drummer, Chris Pennie, earned his keep with some insane off-tempo, double-bass drum rolls. The teenage fans were left seeming a little slack-jawed — but Aunt Antonia could not have been better honored. —Elizabeth Cline