Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Deftones at the House of Blues San Diego

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While the year isn't over, Koi No Yokan might race to the finish as being my most listened to album all year. Interviewing Chino Moreno a few months ago was definitely a highlight of the year as I've been a longtime supporter of the Deftones dating back to when I saw them on the Warped Tour during the Adrenaline tour. Most fans of Deftones are accustomed to lengthy delays between albums but the inclusion of Sergio Vega on bass has seemed to reinvigorate the band as they basically leveled a beyond sold out House of Blues San Diego.

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You could feel the energy in the room start to surge as the lights dimmed. Grasping his signature black ESP eight string guitar, Stephen Carpenter unleashed a sonic storm with the crushing riff of "Diamond Eyes" as Frank Delgado manned his synthesizer station adding samples and layers. It was going to be a crazy night as Moreno dove right in front of me into the crowd. This usually doesn't happen in the first three songs.

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It was a barrage of riff after crushing riff. "Rocket Skates" and "Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away)" made the whole floor of the House of Blues one large mosh pit. Usually the energy level drops when bands play new songs at concerts. This definitely was not the case during "Poltergeist" as the crowd echoed the electronic hand claps before Carpenter and Vega unloaded their locked-in bone rattling guitar and bass bludgeoning. Moreno picked up a Gibson SG guitar to add shades of texture to "Rosemary".

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"Feiticeira" kept the mosh pit spinning as Moreno sounded demonic with his processed screams as Abe  Cunningham dutifully crushed his drum kit. Stepping into their dark and ambient phase, "Digital Bath" melted smoothly into "Knife Party". The dreamy intro of "Tempest" could lull you into sleep before the main riff kicks in and kicks you in the face. Deftones are masters of utilizing song dynamics and "Tempest " is a beautiful example of pacing and song structure.

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Stepping into a time machine and landing in 1991, "Fireal" and "Engine No. 9" were white hot with Moreno never missing a beat on the vocals. The crowd up front was getting punished but still sang along every word to "Change (In the House of Flies). One of the most impressive performances was that of "Passenger" as the band was completely locked in and Moreno handled both his and Maynard James Keenan's vocals effortlessly.

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The overall volume was deafening as the Deftones had brought in extra speakers as if they were playing an arena. "Bloody Cape" sounded so gigantic that a light bulb literally unscrewed itself and fell from the ceiling. That is a concert first. A heavy textural dispatch of guitars soon melted into the jackhammer riff of "Bored". "7 Words" sadly brought the evening to a close but I was only slightly relieved that I would possibly catch their show at the Hollywood Palladium. Koi No Yokan will be favorite album of 2012.

Deftones setlist at the House of Blues San Diego (11/19/12)
01 Diamond Eyes
02 Rocket Skates
03 Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away)
04 My Own Summer (Shove It)
05 Poltergeist
06 Rosemary
07 Swerve City
08 Feiticeira
09 Digital Bath
10 Knife Party
11 Tempest
12 Fireal
13 Engine No. 9
14 Riviere
15 Change (In the House of Flies)
16 Passenger
17 Bloody Cape
18 Bored
19 7 Words

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