Thursday, 3 February 2011

Live Review: Deftones, UNSW Roundhouse, Sydney, 28/01/2011

After catching up with old friends, sinking a few beers while getting a detailed run down of Tool's set from the previous night, I make my way to the UNSW Roundhouse.

I successfully negotiate security and enter the roundhouse, where I'm on The Drug (That Killed River Phoenix) is playing loud, really loud. No, T.I.S.M. have not made a comeback - support DJs The Only are spinning some big club beats mixed with classic shout-along tunes. The Only do seem a strange choice of opening act a metal show but the pair of DJs are successful keeping the under 18s occupied (while the 18+ crowd cram into the bar area at the back of the venue).

A long bar queue later and Deftones spring on to the stage, full of energy and anger. The largely chronological set starts with Adrenaline-era tracks Birthmark, Engine No. 9 and Nosebleed. In the time since I last time I saw Deftones (at Soundwave 2007) front man Chino Moreno has lost some serious kilos and gained a shock of energy - when not running around the stage he is scaling barriers and jumping from speaker stacks.

On bass, Sergio Vega is an adequate replacement for the still semi-comatose Chi Cheng. While Cheng is always missed, the only time I find Vega's performance lacking is when he tries to recreate Cheng's backing vocals (screams) on Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away) and My Own Summer (Shove It).

The band play a devastating version of Around The Fur before moving onto the more experimental sounds taken from their White Pony and self-titled albums. Hexagram and Bloody Cape set up the set's massive middle section with Minerva, Diamond Eyes, CMND/CTRL and Royal raising the roof.

Deftones have always swayed between beauty and brutality. Their ability to do this has much to do with Chino's vocals. The smooth Sextape is followed by the caustic Rocket Skates.

If the middle part of the set raised the roof, its climax - You've Seen The Butcher, Hole In The Earth, and Kimdracula - blow the roof right off.

The slower tracks Change (In The House of Flies) and Passenger give everyone a chance to catch breath before the set closes with Chino squealing like a pig on 7 Words.

Deftones have followed up their return to form album with a live show that is perhaps better than anything they have put together before.

No comments: