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Thursday, October 11, 2012

Deftones Inspire Sweaty Mayhem at the Warfield, 10/10/12

Posted By on Thu, Oct 11, 2012 at 9:07 AM

Deftones at the Warfield last night.
  • Deftones at the Warfield last night.


Scars on Broadway

Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2012

The Warfield

Better than: Nü-metal

Deftones don't get enough credit. They created a unique brand of hybrid metal that survived the '90s and '00s without hopping on the reunion train. They weathered the rise and fall of nü-metal without the vouchsafe of the pop world, and managed to remain relevant to kids after everyone got tired of guitar-driven rock. That and not hating the Internet will earn you a career in this business, kids.

After a middling period creatively, Deftones dropped 2010's Diamond Eyes, not only their best effort in years but one of the most sonically adventurous metal albums of that year and most of the next. Recorded over a mere six months after an accident left bassist Chi Cheng in a coma (from which he's yet to fully recover, unfortunately), the album is a clearing of the air and a kick in the ass to a band that had lost some attack for the sake of texture. Perhaps it was the infinite gaze of mortality, but 2010 was the year this Sacramento outfit got its mojo back. 

Scars on Broadway
  • Scars on Broadway

Presently they're touring in advance of upcoming record, Koi No Yokan, with System of a Down alums Scars on Broadway (that name...) as support after a stint earlier this year with System themselves. Scars hit the Warfield's stage last night at exactly 8 p.m., as the first trickle of rain began to fall outside. SoaD mastermind Daron Malakian sold the crowd pretty quick on Scars' System-esque bombast. It was deserved as well. Their brand of drama-inflected weirdo anthem rock sits very close to SoaD, with the metal injection replaced by hard rock. The band was solid, if a little anachronistic, in its rock star posturing, sporting whipping curly hairdos and a bank of no fewer than four keyboards. But when a band sits in its sound this well, it deflects any surface criticism. These guys were TIGHT, almost sociopathically so.

The general admission pit at the Warfield was an unceasing, throbbing mass throughout Deftones' greatest hits-laden set. After a churning, atmospheric opener, the band launched into "Feiteceria" and there began a madness that never quite abated. We got no deep cuts, and only a handful of new material. The crowd lapped it up, eagerly helping Chino Moreno carry some particularly challenging extended falsettos. Early on, enthusiasm reached a boiling point for a suite of Around the Fur-era material and didn't significantly wane through the show's 90-minute running time. Seriously, this was a deeply exhausting performance, churning up sweat worthy of a hardcore show.


The set was a study in Deftones' strengths, most notably anthemic chargers like "Engine No. 9" and "Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away)" tempered with dynamic yet perverse psuedo-ballads like "Digital Bath" and "Hexagram." It's surprising how diverse Deftones have sounded over the course of their career, and how that diversity has strengthened instead of fractured their audience. Their migration from the aggressive metallic lacerations of their debut to the twisted, soaring pop band they are today (albeit with elephantine guitars) is kind of a neat hat trick from an outsider's standpoint. And yet it all seems of the same cloth, especially when viewed onstage last night. Closing with a suite from debut Adrenaline is the aural Red Bull that gives the audience here an implausible second wind. This included truculent closer "Seven Words" and a rendition of "Root," featuring hospitalized bassist Cheng's son, Gabriel.

All exited the Warfield sweaty and happy. Thankfully, it hadn't rained.

Critic's Notebook

Daron Malakian: "This one's for the girls throwing rocks at our bus tonight!"

Overheard [re: Scars]: "That was like Slash's Snakepit meets System of a Down."

Jeers to the flatulent gentleman (gentleMEN?) standing in front of your poor reporter. 

-- @AOKarim

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Alee Karim


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