Saturday, January 7, 2012

2011 BIRTHDAY FORTNIGHT: Part II: Deftones

Felipe M

As mentioned before on this website, I really do not like commercial music of any kind, including commercial/major label rock/alternative/metal bands.  However, Deftones have always had a special place since I was in high school listening to other commercial bands like Limp Bizkit, Korn, System of a Down, Staind, etc., I always felt that Deftones would stand the test of time.  A decade and a half later, Deftones, despite a lot of internal turmoil, strenuous touring, extensive drug and alcohol use, breakups and divorces, and being lumped in the whole Nu-Metal movement, they are still making music, performing live in front of thousands of people all over the world, and still being one of the most liked and respected bands in the genre.  

The biggest test for this band occurred in November of 2008 when long time bassist, Chi Cheng was involved in a horrible car accident that left him in a coma.  The band was so distraught of the event, that the last album that Chi Cheng and his bandmates were working on, Eros, was supposed to be released as early as late 2008, was put on hold as the band did not want to release the album with Cheng in a coma.  So the band instilled the services of Sergio Vega as their new bass player (for now?) and almost on the fly, created a totally different album, one with a more optimistic and positive vibe and called it Diamond Eyes.  It would prove to be popular among fans and critics alike.

So that is the backstory of this band leading up to their Chicago stop on their 2011 spring tour:

APRIL 30, 2011: THE RIV, CHICAGO, IL-- What started out as an optimistic night of metal goodness ended up in slight disappointment as even arriving at The Riv, presumably early at 7PM or so, was not early enough to catch the opening act.  Just a little band that call themselves The Dillinger Escape Plan.  

Even worse was the fact that we were met by a jammed-packed venue as already we were ALL THE WAY IN THE BACK near the corridors that take you to the exit.  One thing I absolutely hate is being far away from the stage.  It's standing room only so I should be able to fight my way to the mosh pit.  Well, let me tell you why The Riv is the absolutely worst concert venue in Chicago:

  1. Very uptight security--I know it's a lot of people to watch over, but I wouldn't be surprised if sneezing in public would be enough to get you kicked out of the venue.  You're not allowed to walk in certain areas, not allowed to stand in certain areas, it's very frustrating to deal with them.
  2. Obstructed views everywhere--Even if we decided to just sit back and enjoy the show from the safest and highest slope of the venue, apparently, all the tall people like to hang out where we were stuck in the back and secondly, the 2nd floor balcony hangs almost above the mosh pit area, creating the biggest obstructed view in the whole venue. So with the tall people and balcony, we had to seperate and fight for a better view.
  3. Getting to the mosh pit area is a pain--The problem with seeing a popular band like Deftones is that it brings a lot of fair-weathered fans who are just standing like statues trying to figure out when they will play songs from White Pony.  If fighting the hordes of drunk and high people and trying to reason with them to let you through is hard enough, there are levels you need to climb down in order to get to the mosh pit area.  Easy, right?  That's what stairs are for!  Unfortunately, the stairs are located in the middle of the venue and each level is barricaded by black rails.  You can hop over the black rails I suppose, but again, uptight security might kick you out for pulling such a stunt. So just fight towards the middle of each level and start going down the steps--well, again, the hordes of statues that call themselves people (or "fans") are obstructing your view of the rails and the stairs.  
Anyway, moral of the story is that The Riv sucks as a concert venue (always has and always will) and I only wish that Deftones perform at The Congress Theatre on their next Chicago date.

As far as the setlist, they kicked off by playing their first two singles from Diamond Eyes and then playing four consecutive songs from their 1990s releases, including "Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away)," which is the first time I've heard it live.  Also hearing it live for the first time was "Hexagram" (which was everything I had hoped for).  It was pretty cool how they played, relatively "soft" songs "Sextape" and "Beauty School" back-to-back which was followed by "Feiticeira," which is full of bondage overtones.  

Overall, it was another solid performance from Deftones.  Chino Moreno proved once again why he might just be the best front man right now and I even caught a guitar pick from guitarist Stephen Carpenter.  Only wished that I could catch The Dillinger Escape Plan, but the night was still young.  Also, spending half the show trying to make it to the pit area was absolutely unnecessary as well.  

On a more serious note, please check out this website to continue to check on the status of bassist Chi Cheng and to donate money to help with medical expenses.  

So what's the big deal about The Dillinger Escape Plan?  Click here and find out!

To find out why Felipe hates commercial music, click here.

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