Live Review: Deftones at Rock in Rio USA
Sun, 10 May 2015 13:41:02
Sacramento alternative trailblazers solidify their impact with triumphant Las Vegas festival's Rock Weekend set.
Rock in Rio USA crystallized just how influential Deftones remain. The Sacramento quintet's set delicately thrived on a moment's gorgeous, guttural aggression tempered with a tense vulnerability, often spiraling out into a stratosphere of its own. Diamond Eyes' salvo "Rocket Skates" ignited the performance as guitarist Stephen Carpenter's immortal down-tuned chug wound tightly with a hyper-charged groove from bassist Sergio Vega. Abe Cunningham transmuted funk and jazz feel into an intricately woven percussive palette that was as kinetic as it was succinct, especially when punctuated by Frank Delgado's electronic textures. Vocalist Chino Moreno captured a raw fire that never waivered from the first note, while Around the Fur's "Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away)" and "My Own Summer (Shove It)" illuminated his vibrant, visceral versatility.
Back to the group's pervasive influence…R&B trendsetter The Weeknd nods to them with his adoption of grimy erotica to enhance and expand live setpieces and music videos. Remember, Deftones pushed the envelope on the "after party" vignette first with the "Change (In the House of Flies)" video back in 2000 on White Pony (Added Track). Muse's amalgam of soft hypnotic harmonies and explosive walls of distortion pays homage to the likes of "Bloody Cape," which received a phenomenal rendition last night. You can hear strains of Deftones across the entire musical landscape from Paramore to Periphery, but there's still nothing like seeing the original.
All of those elements came to the forefront last night, especially on the Koi No Yokan epic "Tempest," while "Diamond Eyes" stands out as the best indication of their mastery of dynamics. Carpenter's riffs practically splintered the stage as Moreno carried the hook. The same could be said for the jagged step of "Swerve City," which belied the cinematic brilliance of "Passenger," which saw Rise Against's Tim McIlrath sit in for Tool, A Perfect Circle, and Puscifer singer Maynard James Keenan's parts. Adrenaline anthem "Engine No. 9" sparked a groundswell of energy before "Headup" got the entire audience screaming along.
Deftones walked from the stage quietly as Moreno smiled. It's always as if he's known a secret within the music, and the myth deepens with every album. Whenever their forthcoming new full-length drops later this year, one thing's for sure—its influence will be unmatched.