Deftones at Vicar Street, Dublin on 9 May 2017
It’s been 11 years since Deftones last played an Irish venue so it comes as no surprise that they have sold out two consecutive nights in Vicar Street. There is no explanation for the long absence but judging by the fervour gripping those who have waited this long to see them, they are completely forgiven.
Deftones are another “inbetween” act who end up having to play smaller venues for more than one night to satisfy demand: too big for Vicar Street / Olympia size but too small for 3Arena. Whether there is a market for an “inbetween” venue in Dublin remains to be seen.
Opening with the double ‘White Pony’ punch of Korea and Elite the mosh pit is immediately in full swing with the shirtless hoards charging at each other with medieval ferocity. The more melodic Diamond Eyes from 2010’s album of the same name calms things somewhat until the staccato bounce of Swerve City has the crowd back bouncing and singing back Chino Moreno’s “oh-oh-oh-ohhhhh” refrain. The fact that this is even audible over the sheer volume of the music is an achievement.
It had been reported that Chino had broken the top of his foot at a festival in Belgium less than two weeks ago and that at subsequent shows he had been hobbling around in a cast. Anyone expecting to see a more subdued performance from him tonight would have been delighted to see him leaping from the monitors at regular intervals, shredding his vocal cords with screeches. Perched on top of the monitors, nodding his approval to the chaos below him, he seems pretty happy, and so does his foot.
Stephen Carpenter’s girth may make all of his guitars look miniature but the sound that comes out of them is anything but small. It’s hard to know what makes his mop of hair blow about as he riffs effortlessly – a vent, a fan or the sheer volume of the sound-waves coming from his monitors.
Ostensibly still touring their latest album ‘Gore’ which was released a year ago, it isn’t until mid-way through the set that its songs begin to get an airing and it results in a noticeable lull in proceedings. Songs like Gore and (L)MIRL simply do not hold up in the company of the classics which precede and follow them. It’s no coincidence either that Chino plays guitar on a number of these tracks and, while it may add to the sound, it obviously restricts his prowling and howling. A stationary Chino just isn’t as much fun.
So it is with some relief that that crowd greets the news that they’re going to play “some real old shit”. Minus Blindfold from their debut album is duly given an airing, although truth be told it sounds as old as its 22 years suggest. Better are another couple of cuts from ‘White Pony’: Digital Bath and Change (In the House of Flies), which segue wonderfully into a triple header from ‘Around The Fur’ of Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away), My Own Summer (Shove It) and Headup. These songs are all delivered with barely a breath between them, much like the crowd at this stage.
Re-emerging after a brief encore they play Back To School – Mini Maggit, which again sounds a bit dated just like the nu-metal phase during which it emerged, and Rocket Skates which has the crowd screaming “Guns! Razors! Knives” over the palm-mute riffing of Carpenter.
Sweaty, exhausted, hoarse they emerge blinking into the streetlight. The signs of a good gig surely.