Deftones @ O2 Academy, Birmingham – 20 November 2010

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

The bands most recent album was released in May 2010, with two singles ‘Rocket Skates’ and the album’s title track ‘Diamond Eyes’ receiving positive reviews. Comparisons have been made to that of material from ‘Around the Fur’, the album that propelled Deftones to alternative metal fame back in 1997.

Opening with ‘Rocket Skates’, ‘Around the Fur’ and ‘My Own Summer (Shove It)’, 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 there!

Notably, Deftones attract an audience of a diverse age-range. Whilst older, long-term fans like myself stay at a distance that enables safe enjoyment; the first few rows include plenty of youngsters going nuts, as they plow through ‘Lotion’, ‘Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away)’, ‘Feiticeira’ and ‘Digital Bath’.

In late 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 Deftones along with Cheng’s family and friends continue to support and help provide him with 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 ‘Knife Party’, ‘Elite’, ‘Diamond Eyes’, ‘CMND/CTRL’, ‘Beauty School’ and ‘Hole in the Earth’, all of which are killer tracks.

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 in a live environment. 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: ‘You’ve Seen the Butcher’, ‘Prince’, ‘Sextape’, ‘Minerva’, ‘Back to School (Mini Maggit)’ and ‘Change (In the House of Flies)’, with Moreno and co providing an exhilarating show. It’s an intensity that many can match, but none can better.

Finishing with tracks from ‘Adrenaline’, their 1995 debut album – ‘Birthmark’, ‘Engine No. 9’ and ‘7 Words’ sound as relevant now as they did then, completing a storming performance, of which I’ve attended none better in the last 12 months.

Review & Photography: Steve Johnston