Deftones @ The Commodore Ballroom – April 18th 2011

Last night I was in awe of the energy with which Chino Moreno, lead singer of the Deftones, pulverized the stage. The performance by the singer and his crew was by far the single best presentation I have witnessed this year. It was high flying, powerful and fueled an intensity in the crowd you rarely see. The Deftones were on their game and brought an insanity to Vancouver we all yearned to experience.

Entering the famous Commodore Ballroom, I was greeted by the fading resonance of Dillinger Escape Plan’s exit song. The guitar wedged up near the speakers as the sound droned on and on. Until a virtual silence filled the air. The audience then scattered to their corners as they refueled and relieved themselves. By scanning through the mass I was quick to see that their were some weather worn concert professionals at this show. There were very few teeny-bopper or casual fans to be seen. This was a gathering of the warriors. The ones, for whom making a Deftones show, is a religious experience. With this swirling in my mind, I started to get excited. These are the very best shows to be at, these are where real memories can be made.

It wasn’t long before the light vanished and we were all covered in the blackness. A few stage lights illuminated and before us stood the feverish five towered before us. Chino Moreno, Stephen Carpenter, Frank Delgado, Abe Cunningham and Sergio Vega, all revved up and ready to rock. It was but moments before the music poured across the horde and had everyone entranced. I was eager and ready, the anticipation had culminated to this very moment. The audience and I erupted into a frenzy.

Chino is what some might call, dedicated. He lunges and leaps, all over the stage. Within the halfway mark of the first song he is sweating with passionate energy. Stephen, is like a steady rock of guitar wisdom that strikes his strings with venomous fury. Abe is electrified as he beats on those skins. Frank is absorbed, in pure concentration, as he mixes the digital back end, that gives each song its Deftones signature. Last but not least you have Sergio, who stalks his paces like a starving panther. Put that altogether and you have a recipe for pandemonium.

The stage setup was enormous for a small venue. They cleared all the house system out of the way and replaced it with their own. The usual media pit in front of the stage was twice as deep, so the band could squeeze in some enormous bass speakers. Which just pulverized the first ten feet of crowd, beat after beat. Chino had his usual ramp setup, a series of risers for him to work all along the front of the stage. The backdrop to this whole presentation was the signature Deftones owl, which has been used in the bands imagery for years now. Even thought there was so much on stage, it was still a very minimalist setup. No huge lights, no big smoke machines, just five guys, some instruments and a hell of a lot of audio projection.

I was completed blown away by this concert. This band deserves more than a round of applause. Very few bands in this day and age can work this hard, night after night and make it in anyways personal. Yet this band made last night feel like it was the most important stop on the tour. To all the fans of the Deftones out there, you have found yourself a new ally. I will forever be in awe of this band. To them I bow my head.

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