Live Review: Deftones — The Ventura Theater, Ventura, CA
Mon, 09 Aug 2010 07:10:16
Deftones still dream like no one else.
The ethers of each song are as infectiously intoxicating as ever live—if not more so. On Friday night at The Ventura Theater, they carefully lulled the sold out crowd into a trance only to violently shake them back to reality, sometimes all within the landscape of the same song. Their live set could very well be the musical equivalent of Inception or Vertigo. The mind takes over and every sensation—from love to hate—becomes tangible in either an off-kilter guitar chord or a cryptic lyrical passage. Deftones wield that balance between beauty and brutality better than anyone, and it makes for one of the best shows on the circuit at the moment.
The band initiated the night's lucid dream state with the cackling clean riff of "Hexagram." Suddenly, vocalist Chino Moreno let out an earth-shattering scream, announcing their arrival. His voice seesawed seamlessly from a vulnerable croon to a blood-drawing howl. Simultaneously, he circled the stage without taking a minute to breathe. Hyper-charged and hypnotic, he sounds like a man ready to take over rock 'n' roll, and with this performance, he certainly deserves to.
During "Needles and Pins," a true album gem, Stephen Carpenter's gnashing riffs converged with seductively dangerous beats from Abe Cunningham. Ominous lights surrounded the sound, and it was an utter rapture as Moreno ripped through the chorus with the crowd screaming back to him. "Dai the Flu" proved elegantly evil as Frank Delgado's electronics buttressed up the darkness on the verses. Diamond Eyes cut "Risk" tenuously tore through any sense of security as Moreno and Carpenter locked into a tandem riff-n-vocal assault.
After Moreno conjured all kinds of feedback from his Fender strat on "Beauty School," "Knife Party" curled into the watery grave that is "Digital Bath." The White Pony tracks still sounded ahead of their time as Moreno took to the front of the stage and perfectly sang the hooks, entrancing and engaging the crowd like very few can.
"Be Quiet and Drive" teetered between somber, gorgeous and angry, wrapping a myriad of emotions into one explosive package. In fact, thirteen years after its release, the sound rings more poignantly and poetically than ever before as the band delivered it with so much impenetrable power. "Lotion" followed with a chaotic clash of guitars and Sergio Vega's bass rumble.
The precise crunch kicking off "Diamond Eyes" was nearly overpowering live. Moreno carried the chorus over Carpenter's polyrhythmic bludgeoning. Then there was "You've Seen the Butcher." It's one of the band's most cinematic songs. From the stilted guitar to Moreno's creepy and inviting lyrics, the track exudes the kind of uneasy beauty that's made Deftones so unmistakable, undeniable and unforgettable over the years. It's a new classic from the band, and hearing it on stage only supplements that claim.
"Lifter" and "Bored" brought the audience back to 1995 with an updated fire, while "Sextape" took everyone on a ride to regions unknown with a dreamy melody and even dreamier lyrical poetry. The ride climaxed on the Drive Like Jehu cover "Caress" and live staple, "7 Words." It was an unbridled thrash-y end to it all, showing the perfect meeting place for chaos and catharsis.
That's where Deftones have lived for years; and they're still the kings.
Check out our most recent interview with Chino Moreno here!
Were you at the show?