Let me try and paint a picture for you. Oklahoma City, Wednesday night, June 3rd, average temp around 90 degrees. The Diamond Ballroom sold out to max capacity. Me waiting to see the Deftones and Dillinger Escape Plan. You ever spend time people watching? I often do that when I’m nervous or just passing time. The scene was one of mass unity, but of a drunken nature. The bros and hos were out in full force, average age probably around 20-25. And me, standing around, wondering how on earth Deftones could pull a crowd like this on a church night.
Opening band, Le Bucherettes, came on stage with a minimal presentation, only letting their trio-styled garage, tapatio punk speak for them. Lead singer Teri Gender Bender, in a doll dress, stormed around the stage like Courtney Love, but with a much better singing voice, only occasionally becoming silly as if she were trying hard to impress us with her gothic undertones. It felt as if Sonic Youth had merged with Hole and they had a baby from Guadalajara. During their short and grating set, Teri pointed out that “sexism is here tonight” and then finger pointing began. Of course, though, one would expect a drunkard to make fun of a song with a repeating line of “put your finger in my...” over and over to the point of having no real merit or meaning. I couldn't understand her, anyway...
Snip snap, the band is done and they vamoose off the stage while the roadies set up for Dillinger. Now, the last time I saw tDEP was back on a tour with Unearth, A Life Once Lost and Zao. I believe this was before they released the album Ire Works, so my knowledge of any new material is somewhat missing. Despite that fact, I was ready to witness the carnage that only they can provide, but what’s this? When did Nine Inch Nails come on stage? I thought this was Dillinger? Yeah, so I took a mental note and said, “This isn't the same band I remember.” Of course, bands develop over their careers, so I have no qualms with that, but man, Dillinger just weren't the same. I motioned this as a sign of the times. These guys have been thrashing around from place to place for many years. It’s almost not the same band anymore and from all that touring, self-sacrificing body damage and sometimes bleak imagery, yeah, I’d probably have settled down a bit too. Heck, I won’t lie, I only recognized “Panasonic Youth” and after that I spent the rest of the time in the smoking patio, betraying my old friends for a chance to bum a smoke off a stranger.
If you enjoy the company of concertgoers, then by all means, strike up an interesting conversation and make friends. I've done this before, but now in my older years I tend to stay in solitude. Maybe it’s the fact that I have nothing interesting to say, or maybe it’s because I don’t like hearing people mention how many times the show they last went to was amazing. Am I antisocial? I often think that, but for this night I had to be since I fractured my foot a few weeks ago and my painkillers were making me loopy.
Time-tested is the phrase for the Deftones. At exactly 10:00 p.m., the band took to the stage, opening with “Diamond Eyes”. This set the course for the whole night, as they switched between old and new. This show makes about my sixth time seeing one of my favorite bands, and every moment has been more impressive, save for my very first time back in 2006. Each song was given a makeover, belted out with force and fine-tuned musicianship. Chino Moreno was singing perfectly, each scream and whine given gracefully. Abe Cunningham, using his trademark ghost-note style of drumming, was on point, and Frank Delgado upped the ambiance like he was Brian Eno or something. Stephan Carpenter was a bit settled down from the last few times I've seen them, but nonetheless, he played greatly. Speaking of playing greatly, bassist Sergio Vega was very impressive in his handling of Chi Cheng’s vacant spot. I felt a little sad about not seeing Chi up there bangin’ his head, but Sergio was more than welcome and his performance was inspiring.
“Rocket Skates” bled into “,Teething” which then transitioned into “Engine No.9”, and then, my personal favorite tune of theirs, the elegant “Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away)”. When you have so much love for a band, you don’t care what they play, just as long as they freakin’ play, and this night was no exception. Each song was chosen well, making the set a nice roller coaster ride of soft and hard. I will always love it when I scream along to a song and the blood rushes up into my head causing me to feel dizzy. It becomes this euphoric feeling that only certain artists can do for me.
Other highlights of the night were renditions of “Minerva”, “You’ve Seen the Butcher”, “Cherry Waves”, “Sextape” and “Passenger”, the latter of which had Greg Puciato from Dillinger filling in on Maynard James Keenan’s vocals from the White Pony album. To say that the night was a mixed bag would be a slap in the face because everyone there seemed to enjoy themselves. I guess I take back that bros and hos statement, because I didn't see any of them there. It was just me and the Deftones. Dig it...
- Diamond Eyes
- Rocket Skates
- Engine No. 9
- Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away)
- My Own Summer (Shove It)
- Digital Bath
- Knife Party
- Bloody Cape
- You've Seen the Butcher
- Kim Dracula
- Cherry Waves
- 7 Words