Deftones’ Greek Theatre Tour Stop a Reminder How They Survived the ‘Nu-Metal’ Genre They Helped Create (Recap)

Adrian GarroCategories:Latest News

Rock Cellar Magazine

The vibe at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles on Wednesday night was one of relief. Deftones were in town for a concert, but not just any concert: A gig three years in the making.

Originally scheduled for August of 2020, the show was first pushed back to November 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic — and, then, pushed back again due to the pandemic-related uncertainty of touring last fall. As a result of the maneuvering, the pioneering hard-rock/experimental “nu-metal” band was unable to hit the road in promotion of its latest album, Ohms, which was released in September of 2020.

At long last, the show had arrived, one of the first stops on Deftones’ spring tour with special guests Gojira and Vowws. Having sold out well before the pandemic delays, the secondary market prices for tickets to this show — and many shows on this tour, from the looks of it — were rather high, which speaks to the unassailable legacy Deftones has laid out over the years.

This is a band that formed in 1988 in Sacramento and helped lay the groundwork for the “nu-metal” scene that erupted on the mainstream rock world in the late 1990s. Of course, as a central force in the development of the genre (and the many watered-down clones that would follow), Deftones crafted an aggressive and wholly original blend of rock, punk, metal and hip-hop into a singularly identifiable sound and pushed the limits of what that style of music could be.


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What makes Deftones unique is how consistent the band’s catalog has been in the years since. Never a group to chase trends, each Deftones album sounds like just that: Only the Deftones, and nobody else.

Chino Moreno’s unmistakable voice, which seamlessly transitions from haunting melodic leads to pained shrieks, Stephen Carpenter’s chugging guitar leads, Abe Cunningham’s steady drums and Frank Delgado’s keys and DJ scratches work together to create that classic Deftones sound, one that continues to sound as fresh as it always has.

This total adherence to themselves has earned Deftones an undying fan base, and a portion of that audience packed the Greek — a good percentage of which were proudly wearing Deftones shirts, hats, jackets and the like. Moreno frequently thanked the audience for its support, at one point even saying the love from crowd to stage was “reciprocal.”

The enthusiasm was undeniable, and Deftones — flanked for this tour by bassist Fred Sablan, filling in for Sergio Vega, who split from the group recently, and secondary guitarist Lance Jackman — rewarded the crowd with a wide-ranging set list of songs showcasing each of their nine studio albums.

This was the band’s first chance to tour for Ohms, but only two songs (the title track and “Genesis”) made the set list, which instead filled its time with some fan favorites from previous records, like 2012’s Koi No Yokan (three songs) and its 2010 predecessor, Diamond Eyes (two songs), as well as classic tracks — “Knife Prty,” “Digital Bath” and “Change (in the House of Flies)” — from White Pony, the 2000 album that revolutionized the “nu-metal” genre and marked Deftones’ arrival on the mainstream music world.

Each song was rapturously received by the masses in the crowd, despite the P.A. system at the venue sounding a bit quieter than you might expect for such an act. Whether that was a technical glitch or due to sound ordinance rules in the surrounding neighborhood on a Wednesday night, it was noticeable, but did not detract from the dynamic performance delivered by the group.

Just as excited as Deftones fans were to finally see the band live again, Moreno and his accomplices were equally relieved to finally be back out on the road. Deftones shows have always been electrifying experiences, and even in the mostly seated confines of the Greek Theatre this held true. Backed by a strobe-heavy light show, everything was a swirling whirlwind of energy, a powerful reminder of the vibrancy of the Deftones’ live experience.

If you have tickets for a show on the tour, enjoy — and if you don’t yet have a ticket, good luck finding your way in … because this tour is a must-see for fans.

The set list:

Rocket Skates
Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away)
My Own Summer (Shove It)
Swerve City
Digital Bath
Knife Prty
Diamond Eyes
Bloody Cape
Change (In the House of Flies)

Engine No. 9

The remaining dates:

4/22 – Las Vegas, NV The Cosmopolitan
4/23 – Phoenix, AZ Arizona Federal Theatre
4/25 – Denver, CO Ball Arena
4/28 – Albuquerque, NM Isleta Amphitheatre
4/30 – Houston, TX White Oak Music Hall
5/02 – Irving, TX The Pavilion at Toyota Music Factory
5/03 – San Antonio, TX AT & T Center
5/06 – Atlanta, GA Cadence Bank Amphitheatre at Chastain Park
5/07 – Nashville, TN Municipal Auditorium
5/08 – Cincinnati, OH ICON Music Center
5/10 – Indianapolis, IN TCU Amphitheater at White River State Park
5/11 – Pittsburgh, PA Petersen Events Center
5/13 – Boston, MA Agganis Arena
5/14 – Asbury Park, NJ Stone Pony Summer Stage
5/15 – New York, NY Pier 17
5/17 – Washington DC The Anthem
5/18 – Philadelphia, PA The Met
5/19 – Uncasville, CT Mohegan Sun Arena
5/21 – Laval, QC Place Bell
5/22 – Toronto, ON Echo Beach
5/24 – Detroit, MI Michigan Lottery Amphitheatre at Freedom Hill
5/26 – Milwaukee, WI Eagles Ballroom
5/27 – Chicago, IL Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island
5/28 – Minneapolis, MN The Armory

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