If you've ever been to a Deftones concert in a large venue and left feeling as if you've been slighted in some way, you need to see the Deftones in a club-style venue PRONTO! I've seen the Deftones live and went home with a bad taste in my mouth. This night was quite the opposite, and I'd definitely gotten my money's worth. I missed the opening band, but I also had to drive over an hour to get to the venue.
This was my sixth time seeing them since 2000, and was by far tied for my favorite, that being the first time I saw the Deftones play at The Electric Factory. Thankfully, I was able to snap over 400 pictures (with the assist of rapidshot) over the course of approximately an hour and a half. As always, the bouncers and subsequent staff of the umm, glamorous...^cough^...Crocodile Rock in Allentown, Pa., were as self-absorbed and charming as ever. Some of the bouncers said it was cool to bring in a camera while another bouncer, who made a grab at my camera, had a different sentiment to my photo-snapping and filming. Regardless, this place was packed, and I knew that I'd have no better option than to stay put if I wanted a decent view.
Deftones hit the stage and went right into the title track of their recently released album, Diamond Eyes, and lit up the stage with tons of vigor. This seemed like the most enjoyable show that they've played--that I've, attended at least--in the last 10 years. Chino was vaulting from the stage to the crowd, then back to where Frank was spinning discs, and back to the crowd again. I was generously reminded of the videos I watched of the Deftones' performances during the mid-to-late '90s with them thrashing about and delivering the high-octane energy fans of this band have come to expect.
Mind you that during this album cycle/tour it is of particular importance to note that Chi Cheng, their primary bassist, is still sidelined due to a car crash a few years back, and is having his legacy up held by Quicksand bassist, Sergio Vega. Sergio seems to fit in seamlessly with the band, and is doing a killer job ripping it up on the low end. Honestly, if you've never witnessed a Deftones show, you'd never know anything was amiss. Sergio was up front with the crowd for most of the show, and he was loaded with smiles.
That evening's set list comprised mostly of songs from their new album, primarily neglecting previous releases Saturday Night Wrist (2006) and the eponymous Deftones (2003) almost entirely. The show closed with a four-song sampler from Adrenaline (1994), the last song being fan favorite "7 Words." I was hoping to hear classics and personal favorites like "Bored," "Minerva," "Minus Blindfold," "Xerces," "Teething," "Crenshaw Punch," "RX Queen," "Hexagram," "Can't Even Breathe" or any of the covers they perform. What can I say? I've got a long list since I've been a fan for over a decade!!!
Every song that was played was played with loads of integrity. The opening melody of "Be Quiet and Drive" gives me chills whenever I hear it and transports me back to being 13, rocking out on the way to school with my face happily between a pair of headphones; that happened again without mercy. If you looked over at Steph, Deftones' guitarist, all you could see was this huge mop of hair, at stage right, thrashing about like a sincere metal guitarist's hair should. He seemed to grow a wicked smile while chugging into "You've Seen the Butcher" and his adoption of the eight-string baritone guitars over the years adds a particular strength to his acclaimed riffage. It's no wonder why he's consistently named one of the top 100 guitarists of all time.
Though I couldn't see him, Abe's distinct style of drumming was without flaw, and kept perfect time on the snare throughout "Elite." The crowd erupted for the third single off of White Pony, "Digital Bath," of which Abe drops into before Chino serenades with the line of "You move like I want to; to see like your eyes do." It is borderline haunting.
Without any hesitation, I am very eager too see these guys again. I've been formerly let down at Deftones concerts by issues that can be solved by hiring the right audio tech, or being in a better venue, but everything came together perfectly the other night and there wasn't a person in attendance that could've said they didn't enjoy the show.