When the mighty Deftones strolled into town to play a warm-up show before their Reading & Leeds Festival appearances, Amit Sharma was down the front, up the side and slumped at the back. It was a good show.
It’s pretty obvious this sticky Thursday evening in London Town that the hottest ticket going is for Deftones’ Reading Festival warm up show at the Kentish Town Forum. It’s been over two years since the Sacramento quintet graced our shores and tickets were snapped up pretty quick given that this venue is less than half the size of Brixton Academy where they usually perform.
As the band stroll on and rip into ‘Feiticeira’, it’s great to see that they have stuck to the “let the music do the talking” approach to playing, without any need for fancy backdrops, laser beams or pyros from Gene Simmons’s back garden shed. Frontman Chino Moreno seems as energetic as ever, bouncing around the stage like a kangeroo on ketamine, and looking a picture of health more like the Around The Fur days.
The moment the boys drop into ‘My Own Summer (Shove It)’ the crowd erupts, and its undeniable how fresh this nineties skater metal anthem sounds today – over a decade on. Following on with ‘Lhabia’ and ‘Lotion’ off that same second album, Steph Carpenter stands like a pillar – a constant blur of hair and sweat, as he thrashes his signature ESP guitars and churns out riff after riff.
Replacement bass player Sergio Vega (ex-Quicksand) grooves along and clearly loves every second of it, locking in with Abe Cunningham like his life depended on it. It is sad to see Deftones without Chi Cheng in that very spot, as he remains comatose from a horrific car accident last year, but the band charge in and ask the audience to pray for him.
Tonight’s epic 23-song set spans a great selection of their career to date, throwing in ‘Nosebleed’, ‘Root’ and ‘Engine No 9’ for fans of their more aggressive debut album Adrenaline as well as plenty of tracks from the more ambient White Pony.
In-between songs, Chino mumbles like an incoherent street bum, whilst otherwise screeching and squealing like a demented pig from Mars. ‘Digital Bath’ and ‘Change (In The House Of Flies)’ carry even more of an atmospheric chill in this sweaty room, as Chino’s poignant vocals reverberate around the hordes.
Whilst classics like ‘Be Quiet And Drive’ and ‘Back To School’ go down a storm, it really is ‘Passenger’ – the first of tonight’s encores – that leaves the crowd absolutely speechless. The haunting vocals and lazy bass lines are complimented by moody samples that create the perfect soundtrack to send chills down every spine in the room.
As the band close with the venomous ‘7 Words’, its pretty safe to say that despite the problems they’ve faced (re-recording delayed release Eros / Chi’s accident) they are still on top form and do not disappoint in the slightest…
Deftones @ London Kentish Town Forum setlist
My Own Summer (Shove It)
Needles and Pins
When Girls Telephone Boys
Hole in the Earth
Engine No. 9
Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away)
Change (In the House of Flies)
Back To School (Mini Maggit)