Deftones – Live At The Roundhouse.

As I rode down Anzac Parade en-route to the UNSW Roundhouse on an icy cold night in May, one could question oneself as to why one was not nestled under a quilt somewhere watching some mindless commercial television program whilst reaching for the cup of soup. But, one only had to observe the large sign out the front of the ticketing booth announcing that the venues maximum capacity had been reached to realise that Deftones fans are a very loyal bunch.

Supported by fellow Californians Livelet, who opened the evening with a blistering set of pure energy that whipped the almost full crowd into a frenzy that was furthermore accelerated by Jason Butler’s speaker stack climb that ended him in the pit where he attempted to make the “largest slam circle this place has ever seen”.  Setting the tone perfectly for the main act.

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At the conclusion of Livelet’s set, the crowd began to drone the chant of “Deeeeftones, Deeeeeeftones”. A familiar chorus for anyone who has seen them before, so as they took the stage, you almost got this sense that it was like two old friends meeting up after a long time apart.

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Opening with “Rocket Skates”, off their 2010 release Diamond Eyes, you immediately realised that you were in the presence of a band that knew what they were doing. Chino Moreno’s impressive, if not otherworldly, vocal range put on display with Stephen Carpenter’s grinding guitars, Sergio Vegas sludge bass riffs and Abe Cunningham’s ever so precise drumming with the energy and passion of a band twenty years their junior. As one punter, so eloquently pointed out: “They really look like they’re having the time of their life up there!” and with founding bassist and longtime friend Chi Cheng’s recent passing, one could assume that the Deftones were out to make the most of their ride on this mortal coil.

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Moving through a set list that was not only Webster’s Dictionary definition of solid, it was performed effortlessly for a band with six studio releases spanning almost two decades to move seamlessly from tracks off their 1998 release Around the Fur (“My Own Summer”, “BQAD” and “Ihabia”) and jump straight into “Rosemary” off their latest 2012 release Koi No Yokan and make it feel like they both could of come off the one album.

There are very few bands of the same era that tour and whose fans eagerly await the live presentation of new material as much as Deftones fans, so when “Poltergeist”, “Tempest” and “Swerve City” (all off their latest release) were played back to back, the crowd were as enthusiastic and receptive as they were to hear favourites like “Digital Bath”, “Head-Up” and the awesome performance of “Change In The House Of Flies”.

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After a few moments of crowd banter, where Chino throws out a video camera into the audience and tells one punter to put his artistic flare onto the footage, the band break into “Street Carp” off 2001’s White Pony and leave the stage. The crowd, not done yet repeat the aforementioned familiar chorus until the band walk back on and Chino asks the crowd “Are you guys really good, are you comfortable?”  before playing two monster tracks off their 1995 debut release Adrenaline by way of “Root” and “Engine No.9”.

That’s how it was, for a band who has out seen many of their contemporaries through a constant progressive approach to their music, have skipped the “they’re a band I used to listen to back in…” boat and have their feet firmly placed on 2013 terra firma. Older fans coming together with newer fans to enjoy what was an amazing performance by a band that really loves doing what they do, and proving that it’s not only wine that gets better with age.

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