JAM Magazine Concert Reviews

November 14, 2012
The Palladium Ballroom
Dallas, TX USA
Review by David Huff
Photos by James Villa

Deftones - Dallas

A Stallion with Plenty of Kick

It's hard to believe the Deftones have been together as a solid unit for almost a quarter of a century, and recording as a band for 17 of those years. Supposedly, they had reached their apex in 2000 with the release of White Pony. There recent sold-out performance in Dallas proved otherwise. Ask anyone who attended the show and they'll tell you this horse is a stallion with plenty of kick left in it.

Scars on Broadway came out first from the starting gate with a spirited show that proved to be the perfect warm up for the main attraction. It is fronted by System of a Down co-founder Daron Malakian. This entity is yet another side project coming out of the System camp that just can't figure out if they want to be the real thing, or merely a hobby for its members to visit every once in a while.

Formed in 2008, essentially because Malakian had grown bored writing the music for System, this particular outlet for the guitarist has released one self-titled album to date. Tonight, eight of those songs made it into the 13-song set list. Presumably the other five will be included on the release of the next Scars record Malakian announced from stage would occur in early 2013. Regardless, the Deftones provided the guitarist with a wonderful platform to present his group's music. Throughout their tight set, the band let the music do virtually all the talking. The music was fast-paced and frenetic. Though the appreciated audience cheered the music, it was quite clear who they had paid good money to see this evening.

First off, I want to give some props to the Deftones.

Texas has always been a sort of 'home away from home' for this Sacramento, California band. The day before the scheduled performance, hundreds of fans had shown up at a Dallas record store meet and greet signing party. Entry to the event was the purchase of the Deftones new album, Koi No Yokan. The band signed each album, and graciously posed for pictures when possible during the two-hour event. If the passage of time has proven anything to lead vocalist Chino Moreno, guitarist Stephen Carpenter, drummer Abe Carpenter and keyboardist Frank Delgado, it's this. When you pay attention to your fan base, they'll stick by you for life.

The Deftones, if anything, are extremely loyal, not only to their fans, but to fallen comrade Chi Cheng, the bassist who was involved in a near fatal car wreck in 2008.

In a nod to their still recuperating band mate, the Deftones kicked off the night's proceedings with "Diamond Rings" from the 2010 album of the same name. Two years ago, guitarist Carpenter remixed the song and made it available for a .99 cent download with all the proceeds going to Cheng's hospital bills. This crowd of 2,500 had no doubt spent that dollar for the tune. The noise was deafening from the opening chords to the last. The band quickly followed with two more numbers from Diamond Rings, "Rocket Skates" and "You've Seen the Butcher" (the drum set and keyboard used in filming the music video were auctioned to benefit Cheng as well.) Intended or not, it was still a classy move by the band that probably went unnoticed by most in the audience.

Chino Moreno and his band mates also made another smart move by waiting a bit to introduce songs from their new album. After the three songs from Diamond Rings, the Deftones reached all the way back to their platinum disc, 1997's Around the Fur, to perform the hits "Be Quiet and Drive (Away)" and "My Own Summer (Shove it)". With the packed house squarely in the band's corner, it was finally time to introduce the new tunes, "Poltergeist", "Swerve City" and "Rosemary", from Koi No Yokan.

The rest of the night would see the Deftones cover various songs from their entire album catalog. Five tunes from their 2000 classic White Pony, and four selections from 1995's definitive Adrenaline, made up the bulk of the tunes the second half of the show. The exceptions were the slow churning "Riviere" (dedicated by Moreno to Cheng) from 2003's Saturday Night Wrist, and the final song of the set, "Bloody Cape" from the band's self-titled 2003 recording. The encores were Deftones classics "Bored" and "7 Words".

Despite the tragedy that's befallen Cheng, the Deftones, particularly with Sergio Vega stepping into the shoes of the bass player, are as strong as ever. The band has shed whatever musical skins critics tried to peg them with the early part of their careers to create a tour de force unit that's capable of anything musically. Tonight, with a smart 20-song set list, they proved just how formidable they've become with the passage of time.

This band may never move on to arena size venues, and it's doubtful their fan base would want to see them in that environment. Truth be told, when you're following a horse like this pony express of a band, it's always best to be as up close and personal as you can get. This is one act where you don't ever want to miss a second of the non-stop action on stage. The Deftones may never cross the finish line to graduate to the major leagues, but in that kind of race, the losers end up the winners. That was certainly the case tonight.

Set List:
Diamond Eyes
Rocket Skates
You've seen the Butcher
Be Quiet and Drive (Away)
My Own Summer (Shove It)
Swerve City
Digital Bath
Knife Party
Engine No. 9
Change (In the House of Flies)
Bloody Cape
7 Words