Deftones at Viejas
7.3.7 Chris Dier
When I think of a Deftones concert I imagine some abandoned warehouse with exposed rafters, shattered windows, blinking fluorescent lights hanging from exposed wires. Someplace dank where the air is so thick you see it stir around your feet. Someplace deep and hollow where voices echo into oblivion, where guitars reverberate infinitely, where bass actually splits and distorts the walls. So when I walked onto the lawn of the Viejas Outlet mall on June 27th I wasn't anticipating much. Boy was I wrong.
The Viejas venue is small enough that you feel as though you are part of the show, but large enough that you can escape the ever-morphing mosh pit and still make out the blue and red strips on Chino 's socks. From what I could see, every spot was a good one, even the free ones outside the temporary fencing.
First up was The Fall of Troy; a band that I had heard little of but I'm sure will hear lots of in the future. Their lead guitarist/vocalist Thomas Erak played the role of showman extravagantly. Tone pulsed from his guitar with speed and fluidity. Music moved and changed profusely. This style is noted by Jonah Bayer in a recent Guitar World article as "schizophrenic," involving, "eardrum-shattering low-end riffs," and, "fleet-fingered lead runs." All the while the audience stood in awe. When I looked around I saw at least fifty open mouths.
Next up was Dir En Grey, who had an eye-catching following of neon-painted teens, adorned with mesh, studs, and eyeliner. While definitely not headliners, this Japanese rock band kept me happily entertained, due largely in part to an intense, haunting vocals by Kyo.
The sun set, signaling the end of Dir En Grey's performance and the crowd gathered close in anticipation. The energy became tangible. Looking around, I recalled something Stephen Carpenter said in an interview for Music in High Places: Deftones Live in Hawaii , "I like acoustic. But there's nothing worse than playing a song you wrote to rock, acoustically." This crowd was ready to rock.
The show started off heavy. The crowd instantly threw down to songs like Passenger and My Own Summer . The guitar was hypnotizing getting everyone to rock back in forth in unison. Chino and Che's voices both were possessed. A few songs later the tempo slowed and got even heavier with songs like Beware and Around the Fur . Huge tsunamis of sound washed over the stage and audience backlit by smoked blues, washing away bent up frustration and rage. Leaving no fan unsatisfied, Chino picked up a Mexican flag that had been thrown on stage, roosted on his perch and closed with 7 Words .
My ears hemorrhaged after 21 songs and I smiled about it. I don't know what it is exactly but something about the Deftones makes me want to rip off my shirt and pound my way into a brawl one second and sprawl out on the floor with studio headphones in the dark and scream my fuckin' heart out the next. There is something innately pure and honest about their performance that makes even a respectable teacher, a caring father and a loving husband like myself want to be a rock star.
I've seen the Deftones twice now and I've realized it doesn't really matter where they play. They could fuckin' rock the lunch cafeteria of a geriatric home if they had a stage, a couple of spotlights and an effects pedal. Hell they might even move a couple of those geezers to jump up out of their wheel chairs and break a hip, after a long hit from the oxygen tank of course.
My Own Summer (Shove It)
Around the Fur
Engine No. 9
Needles and Pins
Hole in the Earth
Rats Rats Rats
Change (In the House of Flies)
Back to School