By Zachary Swickey
LOS ANGELES – Few rock bands that emerged during the ’90s nu-metal phase still exist today and practically none have the amount of respect and admiration the Deftones receive from their musical peers. Countless bands cite the Sacramento-based group as a big influence on their music.
Saturday night (July 28) the Deftones stopped by the Troubadour in Los Angeles – an incredibly tiny, sweaty 300-capacity club – to perform their first proper show in nearly a year and their only solo date before heading out on a co-headlining amphitheater tour with System of a Down prior to their new, still-untitled album dropping on October 9. SOAD drummer John Dolmayan and bassist Shavo Odadjian were both in attendance, enjoying the set alongside Dillinger Escape Plan frontman Greg Puciato.
The Deftones took no time dusting off the cobwebs as they erupted straight into “Rocket Skates” – one of the heavier numbers off their last release, 2010’s Diamond Eyes – with fans chanting along to frontman Chino Moreno’s every note, scream and shrill as he shouted, “Guns! Razors! Knives!”
After the title track from their last effort, fans got their first taste of nostalgia with the ’Tones’ classic ’98 tracks “My Own Summer (Shove It)” and “Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away).”
A highlight of the night was the band world premiering a new song, “Roller Derby,” live. The tune kicks right in and even features a hand clap-friendly moment, which has up until now been absent in Deftones material. It’s definitely one of their more rapid-fire, maniacal numbers with some excellent tricky drum work courtesy of Abe Cunningham – not to mention Stephen Carpenter’s sludgy guitar and Sergio Vega’s dirty bass line on the track.
Next, they brought out yet another new song, “Rosemary,” that was more mellow along the lines of their White Pony material and featured Moreno donning the guitar, something he does on nearly every track of their upcoming new album, which is a first.
The band went old-school for their two-song encore and fans couldn’t have been more thankful as they erupted into “Root” off their album debut, Adrenaline, which features one of the band’s most memorable riffs. For their finale, they busted out arguably the fan-favorite, “7 Words,” before bidding the sweat-soaked crowd goodnight.
The Deftones kick-off their tour with System of a Down on August 4 in Philadelphia before their upcoming album drops via Warner Bros. Records.