Deftones -- Montreal, Quebec -- March 3rd, 2013
Tour: Koi No Yokan
I was extremely excited for this show, since Deftones has been one of my favourite bands since early high school. The tour also had Periphery opening, but since they are playing at Soundwave in Australia, The Contortionist took their place for the first few dates, which made me happy since I had seen Periphery at least three times before and I had missed every occasion to witness the live incarnation of The Contortionist's progressive deathcore. I'm not a fan of the djent/8-string groove style and I wouldn't have payed to see them headline, so having them open for one of my favourite bands was the perfect occasion. Before going to the show, I've listened to a few tunes from their latest record, Intrinsic, and I have to say they've improved a lot, setting themselves apart from the many boring bands in their genre. It's not perfect: their song structures and mood changes still often lack coherence, but they're definitely listenable. Very few people in the crowd seemed to have heard about them, but I believe they've earned themselves some new fans yesterday night. Their grooves and breakdowns were really heavy and Jonathan Carpenter's growls were brutal (though not my style; I usually prefer lower, more cavernous ones), but the parts that worked the best were doubtlessly the atmospheric post-rock and fusion influenced parts. During these, they managed to create a beautiful, light and uplifting atmosphere, that was too often shattered by an ordinary breakdown. Nevertheless, they brought some really good moments and the sound mix was surprisingly clear. Also, Jonathan switching between his keyboard and the front of the stage made their show even more dynamic. They were a good opening band, apart from some flaws, like their song structures. They had some trouble in communicating with the casual, non-metalhead crowd too (the kind of people that can't fucking stop talking when they're watching a band that they don't know - ugh) and they could have moved a bit more, but when they played "Flourish", things started to move a bit more. In brief, I got a much better opening set than what I was expecting.
After the young Indianapolis band finished playing, I met with one of my friends, drank some water and got psyched for Deftones. By that time, the Metropolis had filled up and it was packed tightly (if it wasn't sold out, it was close to being), but after some squeezing and polite wrestling, we managed to get near the front. About 30 minutes later, the lights were shut down and the band came on stage by the sound of a heavy electronic intro. Let me tell you that my heart was racing pretty fast. I was expecting to hear the opening bouncy groove to "Swerve City", so I was surprised when they busted out the opening dissonant chords to their hit single "Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away)", which has never been one of my prefered songs of theirs. For me, the gig really started when they jumped into the nu metal hymn "Headup", that immediately made me lose my calm, shove a few people and wreck kids up in the pit (I'm exaggerating but you get the picture). To calm things up a bit (notice the irony), the Sacramento boys decided to pursue with more classics from 1997's Around the Fur. We were only given rest when they skipped a few years and brought us the dreamy ballad "Sextape": a welcome breath of fresh air. Just as when they played here two years ago on the Diamond Eyes tour, the sound was astonishing. Stephen's guitar tone was monstrous, Abe's drums were precise and percussive and Sergio's bass was heavy and surprisingly discernible. He also improvised a bit in the older songs, adding a fresh new touch to them. Speaking of improvising, one of the things that I appreciate the most in Deftones concerts is the presence of Frank Delgado on the keyboards, samplers and turntables. The atmospheric sounds he produces are much more developed, and audible, live than on CD. He manages to give old songs like "Around the Fur" a whole new dimension. The beautiful light effects they used only contributed to that more ambient side they have in their live performances. A lot of people who had seen them at Heavy MTL last summer told me they were disappointed, and I was too, but you have to witness them in an indoor venue to get the real deal. Aside from the lack of atmosphere, one thing that sucked at Heavy MTL was Chino's performance; he looked ill and tired. Well, this time it was the opposite: he was all over the place, dancing, jumping, running, singing on the fence, smiling, shouting (you get it... he was at the top of his shape). His vocals were the best yet. He gave me chills when he successfully hit the high notes in "Digital Bath" and his screams were viciously piercing. He managed to infuse huge amounts of energy into the large crowd. Everyone was singing, clapping and yelling; and those pits! They were among the most fun I've ever been into, especially during the trio of songs they played from their debut album, Adrenaline. Bodies, mine included, were thrown in every direction. The only wierd thing was the setlist. Ten songs into the set, they still hadn't played anything from the album they were touring for, the recently released masterpiece Koi No Yokan. I was starting to wonder what was going on when they all switched instruments and dived into the hypnotic "Tempest", followed by the polyrhythmic violence of "Poltergeist", the dreamy beauty of "Entombed" (I couldn't believe they were actually playing it), the manic groove of "Swerve City" and the spacey atmosphere of "Rosemary". This segment - the five songs from the new record they all played in a row - was probably my highlight of the show, along with the others mentioned previously. After the chaos that ensued during the old songs that followed, the band left the stage, but didn't stay out for long, since everyone was screaming for them to come back. They ended that evening perfectly with the classic that is "Change" and a beautiful rendition of "Passenger", in which Chino brilliantly picked up Maynard's parts. It was not as epic as when Greg from The Dillinger Escape Plan sang in with them in 2010, but close. Once again I was left exhausted, purified and in pure bliss after a Deftones performance. I was lucky enough to grab one of Stephen Carpenter's picks. It's actually pretty funny: it only features his face with sunglasses and a joint in his mouth. I was only disappointed by the absence of songs from their self-titled record. I'm also jealous that Toronto got "Lhabia" and "Rivière", but oh well, you can't get everything you want and I'm in no position to complain.
After it was over, I once again suffered one of the Metropolis' main flaws: getting out. During winter, the line-ups to the coatcheck are enormous. Me and my friend waited about half an hour, still with that stupid smile on our faces that you can't keep yourself from showing after such a moving performance, untill we could make our way home and get some rest (the night before was "La Nuit Blanche" in Montreal; a yearly night where there are tons of cultural activities and during which the metro stays open all along, so I guess we weren't the only ones in need of some sleep). To sum up, a Deftones performance is a unique experience and is worth every single dollar spent - 38 in this case. It was an awesome way to kick off my spring break, and I've got three more shows coming up this week. Bring it on.
Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away)
My Own Summer (Shove It)
Around the Fur
You've Seen the Butcher
Engine No. 9
Change (In the House of Flies)
12/18 - Neutral Milk Hotel
12/19 - GY!BE/Neurosis
12/25 - Tribunal (my band)
Last edited by VoidFlame; 03-04-2013 at 06:12 AM.