Friday, November 23, 2012

Deftones at the Hollywood Palladium

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After witnessing a blistering set at the House of Blues San Diego, it was a no-brainer to see Deftones again at the Hollywood Palladium. Koi No Yokan has been in constant rotation since its release and is rapidly ascending the ranks to being my favorite album in their discography. Given the fact that Chino Moreno and Stephen Carpenter reside in the Los Angeles area, it was a special partial hometown show that featured a few guest appearances.

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While the setlist closely mimicked the San Diego show, there were a few notable exceptions. The crowd was perplexed when Sergio Vega pounded out the ratchet sounding bass line for Joe Jackson's classic tune "Steppin' Out" as Moreno sang it true form to the original. I'm not familiar with Jackson's discography but "Steppin' Out" is a legitimate classic song and it was interesting to hear the song through the sonic prism of the Deftones. "Passenger" had Greg Puciato from Dillinger Escape Plan handle the vocal parts while Alexi Laiho added some guitar muscle to "Root". Hopefully the Deftones will do another run across the States or maybe a slot at Coachella to show some bands how it is done.

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Deftones Setlist at the Hollywood Palladium
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 "Engine No. 9"
13 "Riviere"
14 "Change (In The House Of Flies)"
15 "Steppin' Out"
16 "Passenger"
17 "Bloody Cape"
18 "Bored"
19 "Root"
20 "7 Words"

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

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Sea Wolf at the El Rey Theatre

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Sea Wolf received a warm welcome for their homecoming tour finale on a chilly evening at the El Rey Theatre. Wrapping up a headlining tour in support of their excellent album Old World Romance, Alex Church and company weaved together an entrancing set.

The Donnies The Amys
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I wasn't familiar with the name The Donnies The Amys at first. But instantly recognized drum goddess Amy Wood who has slayed on the kit for Big Black Delta and also helmed the drums during Fiona Apple's tour. Quite the impressive resume.

Amy had been pulling double duty as The Donnies The Amys had been opening a handful of shows on the Fiona Apple tour before linking up for a few of the remaining Sea Wolf dates. The Donnies The Amys played a delightful set and I would recommend checking out their album which is economically priced at five dollars on bandcamp.

Hey Marseilles
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Hailing from Washington, Hey Marseilles worked through an infectious set of sweeping orchestral inspired pop.  They have one album so far entitled, To Travels and Trunks with a follow up album promised to be released soon.  Their music had elements of The National, The Decemberists and a touch of Arcade Fire.

Hey Marseilles used every band member effectively though and didn't include instruments just to make noise. Matt Bishop was an engaging frontman with his vocal style reminiscent of Colin Meloy. Since it was the last night of the tour, members of all the bands appeared at the end of their set for a sing along of "Rio". Keep an eye out for their sophomore album.

Sea Wolf
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I distinctly remember Alex Church standing out in Irving when they opened for Silversun Pickups at the Troubadour in 2006. When he eventually formed Sea Wolf, I was onboard from the start. Earlier this year, I caught Sea Wolf's return to the stage when they played the Observatory and debuted some new material from Old World Romance.

Catching the tour finale was a good idea as they sounded razor sharp from the opening chords of "Miracle Cure". A flood of old memories came tumbling back upon hearing the familiar notes of "Winter Windows". Another familiar tune "The Traitor", kept everyones heads bobbing throughout the venue. A tremolo guitar opening for "Old Friend" melted effortlessly into the ringing picked acoustic guitar notes.

Circular guitars and dampened drum snaps dictated the pace of "In Nothing" which sounded even more formidable live. Deftly bouncing between old and new material, "Dew In The Grass" and "White Water, White Bloom" were followed by the symphonic swirl of "Priscilla". The pace quickened with "Middle Distance Runner". Turning back the clock to 2007 and their first EP, "I  Made A Resolution" was a pleasant surprise.

The sublime jangle of "Turn The Dirt Over" washed over the crowd like a cool breeze. "Kasper" haunted the audience with its snappy drums and Church's smooth vocals. The highlight of the evening was "You're A Wolf" with some guest cello from Hey Marseilles. A generous applause had Sea Wolf come out for an encore of "Black Leaf Falls". Church's aching vocals of "Saint Catherine St." were underpinned against shimmering guitars to the point of perfection. "Black Dirt" capped out an evening that seemed to go by in seconds.

Sea Wolf Setlist at the El Rey Theatre (11/ 11/2012)
1. "Miracle Cure"
2. "Winter Windows"
3. "The Traitor"
4. "Old Friend"
5. "In Nothing"
6. "Dew In The Grass"
7. "White Water, White Bloom"
8. "Priscilla"
9. "Middle Distance Runner"
10. "I Made A Resolution"
11. "Turn The Dirt Over"
12. "Kasper"
13. "You're A Wolf"
14. "Black Falls"
15. "Saint Catherine St."
16. "Black Dirt"