With a painfully long eleven years since they last graced an Irish stage, the level of excitement and anticipation both outside and inside Dublin’s Vicar Street venue is peaking on infectious and giddy!
Opening both night’s proceedings are Skyharbour, who’s members hail from both America and India. Although a technically superior band compared to most, the five-piece generate a mild reaction from the sold-out capacity over both nights. There was never going to be anything that could take away from the headliners, however, Skyharbor do their damnedest to deliver top quality performances during their short residency, which has to be said, was impressive – but just lacking more on memorable hooks, rather than their rich soundscape compositions. Definitely a band worth seeing again under different circumstances. 2.8/5
With their last performance logged at a whopping eleven years in the capital’s Ambassador Theatre, Deftones have a lot to make up for and as they make their way onto the blacked out stage to a spectacular reception, there is no doubt that we are in for something truly special indeed.
Opening with ‘Korea‘, the band instantly melt into the venue’s environment, connecting with the audience, who are beside themselves with euphoric glee. For some, this would be their first time catching Deftones live and as a seasoned concert-goer myself, there really is nothing like seeing a legendary band pull off a flawless set of genre-defining music.
Tonight being the first of two performances, I didn’t know what to expect, as I have seen Deftones many, many times in the past and am aware that they like to change things up and venture into their back catalogue, with a selection of deep cuts, some of which can land a little “flat” at times. However, tonight we are treated to a blistering concoction of modern and old classics, such as White Pony’s ‘Elite‘, with Kimdracula and ‘Cherry Waves‘ from their 2006 ‘Saturday Night Wrist‘ following.
Having broken his foot during a show in Germany just a week previous to their Irish dates, Chino (Moreno, Vocals) uses the stage space with confidence and at times wanders down to the photo pit to stalk the front rows of ecstatic punters. Moreno’s relaxed disposition is backed up by Carpenter’s trance-like, no-bullshit approach to his performance, as well as the downright, mind-blowing talent of drummer Abe Cunningham, who comes close to beating the paintwork off his kit at times.
The lighting engineer pulls off a truly spectacular performance in his own right, as each track is framed perfectly with an array of delicately thought-out visual patterns that launch the band’s live presence into the stratosphere and no-doubt the “gig of the year” for most here tonight.
With talk to a minimum, Deftones proceed to harness their knock-out sequence of tracks to solidify any doubts from the darkest corners of the venue. We are treated to ‘Digital Bath‘, ‘Change (In The House of Flies)’, ‘Be Quiet And Drive (Far Away)’, ‘My Own Summer (Shove it)‘ and ‘Headup‘, which sends the capacity over the edge and literally begging for more!
Their final serving for night one comes in the sequence of ‘Back To School (Mini Maggit)‘, the crushing ‘Rocket Skates‘ and Prince cover ‘Purple Rain‘ before they disappear into the shadows, leaving a mess of, shirtless, sweat-drenched beaming punters to digest tonight’s unquestionably strong setlist. 5/5
As we approach Vicar Street for our second serving of Deftones, news of last night’s performance is top of the agenda, with an equally heightened level of excitement and anticipation as the previous night. The surrounding area of Thomas Street is littered with fans who, although attract attention from onlookers, happily polish off their beers in the bright summer evening, before bidding farewell to the pubs and making their way to the venue – it truly is a great sight to see!
With Skyharbor’s performance mirroring the previous night, the band bid their farewell triggering the advance notice for all punters to enter the main venue, which quickly packs to capacity.
All eyes are now fixed on the blacked out stage before the arrival of Chino & Co. who immediately launch into a highly unexpected ‘Feiticeira‘ as their opening track. With a visibly more relaxed Moreno, grinning and pacing the stage, compared to the previous night, ‘My Own Summer (Shove it)‘ comes from out of nowhere and drives the intensity level to almost hysteria as Carpenter, Cunningham and bassist Sergio Vega lay down some of the most crystal-clear, low-end riffs Vicar Street has ever seen.
‘Ihabia‘ and ‘Around The Fur‘ blast through the darkness and ignite a cascade of spectacular lights that fade and twitch to the beating Deftones heart. Tonight’s catalogue of compositions strays off into deep fan territory, with ‘Sextape‘, ‘Butcher‘ and the excellent, ‘Prince‘ all of which simply destroy.
Tonight we get a more chatty Moreno who comments on the Irish capital as being “a wild, wild place, but I kind of like that!” with reference to the more colourful inner city characters that frequent the surrounding Thomas Street area.
Recent album, ‘GORE‘ gets a little more exposure tonight with ‘Phantom‘ and ‘Rubicon‘ making an appearance before we are transported back to 2003 with ‘Hexagram‘ which goes down like an ice cold beer on a sweltering hot day.
What’s is so abundantly evident about Deftones, is their ability to transport the listener to destinations that paint mental landscapes with endless horizons and gritty almost claustrophobic moments of intensity, before releasing the choke-hold with heart-soaring choruses. This is a difficult achievement for an artist of any genre and I’ve witnessed this very band miss the mark a few times with their performance (all of which have been festival shows), and reign supreme when performing indoor venues (almost everytime) however, both nights have been exceptional.
As we near the end of Deftones two night residency in Dublin’s Vicar Street, the band share some local craft ales on stage, as well as a bottle of Jameson to celebrate the closing moments of their European tour, before launching into a blistering selection of tracks including ‘Knife‘, ‘Passenger’, ‘Minerva‘ and the encore of ‘Bored‘ and ‘Engine No. 9‘!
For some who had never seen Deftones before, this was a religious experience that – I’m sure – will be remembered for years to come. Having personally seen them many times (double digits) I can happily say that both shows were on a level is few and far between. Whether you like them or not, there is no denying that Deftones are unique to what they do and are pioneers in heavy music experimentation. Long may their continue to mould and shape the future of the underground. 5/5
DEFTONES – PHOTO GALLERY IRELAND MAY 2017
Down The Barrel Photography © 2017 exclusively for Overdrive
Words – Oran O’Beirne
Photo – Down The Barrel Photography ©2017
© OVERDRIVE.IE 2017
To celebrate Deftones amazing return to Ireland this week for two mind-blowing shows, Warner Music Ireland have the bands latest album GORE on vinyl for a limited special price of €15.99 (plus postage) head to the Warner Music Shop here or click on the album artwork below.