Deftones @ O2 Academy, Birmingham – 20 November 2010

Hailing from Sacramento, California, Deftones formed in 1988 and have released six albums to date. ‘Adrenaline’ and ‘White Pony’ achieving platinum status, with ‘Around the Fur’ and ‘Deftones’ certified gold.

‘Diamond Eyes’ was released in May 2010, with comparisons made to ‘Around the Fur’, the album that propelled Deftones to alternative metal fame back in 1997. Opening with the single ‘Rocket Skates’,  Chino Moreno makes use of his own custom riser at the front of the stage. He leaps around like a kid half his age and occasionally joins the front row of the crowd to whip up further enthusiasm .. like there wasn’t plenty of that already!

Notably, Deftones attract a diverse age-range. Whilst older, long-term fans remain at a distance for safe enjoyment; the first few rows include plenty of youngsters going nuts, as the band plow through the likes of ‘My Own Summer’, ‘Be Quiet and Drive ‘ and ‘Digital Bath’.

In 2008, bassist Chi Cheng was seriously injured in a car accident and has remained in a “minimally conscious state” since that time. Understandably, the band’s future was uncertain, but two years on it’s fantastic to see their progress, as they, along with Cheng’s family and friends continue to support him and provide the best possible medical care.

With stand-in bassist Sergio Vega doing a superb job, Deftones are a relentless vision of energy that accompanies a set list of power and emotion. They continue with an array of killer tracks including ‘Knife Party’, ‘Elite’,  ‘Beauty School’ and ‘Hole in the Earth’.

Moreno has a luscious, somewhat processed, haunting vocal; which he continually switches with aggressive screamadelica. It’s an impressive technique and always comes across far more intensely live, In fact, if you have ever appreciated recorded Deftones, then checking out their live show is definitely something you should experience.

Prior to the encore comes ‘Minerva’, ‘Back to School’ and ‘Change’, with Moreno and co providing an exhilarating  and intense show. They finish up with 1995 debut album ‘Adrenaline’ tracks – ‘Birthmark’, ‘Engine No. 9’ and ‘7 Words’, all sounding as relevant now as they did fifteen years ago. It’s a storming performance, which I’ve attended none better for a long time.

Review & Photography: Steve Johnston