Monday, 29 November 2010

Gig Review: Deftones @ Leeds O2 Academy

I know I'm not the only person noticing the rocketing numbers of ill-behaved twats attending gigs in the UK over the past few years. I think it's a symptom of the growing popularity of live music, coupled with the revitalised exposure to new genres and acts that the internet has dragged screaming with it into the 21st century. These are of course both positive developments, but a side effect seems to be that shows are increasingly populated by mouthbreathing bellends with little to no idea of how to enjoy themselves without inconveniencing others. The time has probably come for the more sensible and diligent among us to act on this. I suggest perhaps bringing along a fire axe and plastic coveralls to future events, and laying about yourself wildly whilst shrieking incoherent noises, tears of joy streaming down your face. Don't worry about the possibility of hitting other innocent gig-goers. They will understand and respect the part their maiming played in improving the live music experience for everyone.
As you may be able to tell, the crowd at this gig was not a shining example of gentlemanly conduct. But frankly, I don't want them to colour this piece. Not least because they inspired me to construct another article, which will be stomping and thrashing over the horizon soon.
Coheed And Cambria are a bit of an odd choice for a support band on this tour. Partly because they have a very different style of music to the headliners (though both acts are more or less unique, which I suppose is a uniting factor) and partly because they are quite possibly popular enough to fill the venue by themselves. And there is certainly no lack of fans out for them tonight, which makes it a bit of a shame that their set comes across a little bit lacklustre. From previous gigs I am well aware that their brand of prog-pop-punk can be both captivating and vital in a live arena, but a subdued performance and a slightly uninspiring setlist combine to produce a support slot that was functional rather than inspiring. Still, a rousing rendition of “World Of Lines” near the set's conclusion proved that their recent LP 'Year Of The Black Rainbow' can provide the goods on stage as well as on plastic.
Earlier that day I had come to the realisation that I was actually looking forward to Coheed And Cambria a great deal more than Deftones, mostly based on my history with them live. C&C had blown me away a couple of times, and the only time I have managed to catch Deftones they had been fairly average and distinctly lacking energy.
So given that I found Coheed And Cambria a bit disappointing, it was deliciously surprising that Deftones steamrollered their way onto the stage like conquering heroes. I can confidently say that I have never experienced such a transition in quality and energy from one tour to the next. Chino Moreno spent almost the entire length of a satisfyingly long set dashing and leaping from one end of the stage to the next, occasionally perching himself on blocks at the front to survey his kingdom. Vocally he was astonishing, swinging between breathless crooning and gut-wrenching screams with no loss of clarity in either. The rest of the band provided solid blocks of motion, playing with a static intensity that was next to album-perfect. Last time I saw these guys they were a muddy mess of sound with an almost total lack of motion that was only lifted into the realms of acceptable viewing by the distinctive beauty of the material and the workmanlike sense of cracking on with another night's touring. The change was jawdropping.
The set was mostly comprised of segments of material performed back-to-back from one album at a time – a formula which has the potential to go very wrong but somehow came together despite the somewhat disparate nature of the Deftones' back catalogue. “Rocket Skates” kicked off the proceedings, a bleeding strike to the belly before they kicked into an amazing sequence from 1997's classic 'Around The Fur' – the title track itself, “My Own Summer”, “Be Quiet And Drive”, “Lotion” – all blistering and raw. Material from latest album 'Diamond Eyes' acquitted itself wonderfully and proved just as popular with the crowd as the older tunes. The only album missing from the rotation was 2006’s ‘Saturday Night Wrist’ , which was fine by me since I consider it to be by far their weakest release. A closing double blast came in the form of “Engine No.9” and “7 Words”, both of which sent the venue into paroxysms of violent ecstasy.
I'll draw this to a close before my prose becomes any more purple. As a band I think they can be rightfully proud of a renewed fire in their belly, both in the studio and on the road. I can't help but wonder how much of this renewed energy has come from an immediacy brought about by the tragedy of bassist Chi Cheng's accident and ensuing coma, which he has sadly not emerged from as yet. If so, they are taking an extremely bad hand life has dealt them and turning it into a royal flush.

No comments:

Post a Comment