Last Night: Deftones At Verizon Wireless Theater

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"Get away from the garbage can, bitch."

Deftones Verizon Wireless Theater October 20, 2010

For more photos from the show, see our slideshow here.

Not many bands have the longevity the Deftones do, and after 22 years and counting, they have their art down to a science. The tunes are there, as is the visceral audience reaction. The band doesn't get the due they deserve outside of the modern-rock circle they find themselves in, and it's a shame.

Aftermath finds the band has more in common with older groups like Faith No More, Tool and the Smashing Pumpkins than anything that they were lumped in with at the beginning of their rise; they passed up their peers like Limp Bizkit and Korn long ago.

Getting nonbelievers on that bandwagon is the hardest part. Deftones create a state of mind with their fans. Anyone standing on the outside looking in - non-fans, mostly - can at least see that on the most basic of levels.

The band seems to have some sort of secret anti-aging serum, allowing them to only grow tighter. Most bands grow stale and begin creating overly commercial work as a cash-grab in their second decade. We've yet to hear a catchy summer anthem from the Deftones, nor have they allowed outside song doctors into their midst. We love that about them.

Touring behind the new Diamond Eyes has to be an alien task, considering the Deftones have been down bassist Chi Cheng since his car accident almost two years ago. The crash left Cheng in a semi-conscious state, and he continues to make daily improvements.

The band now tours with Quicksand's Sergio Vega on bass, but it's hard not to miss Cheng, who held down backing vocals and was arguably one of the genre's best bassists.

Lead singer Chino Moreno now looks ten years younger when we first saw him on MTV in 1995. He's lost a great deal of weight, which helps the live show considerably. He's acrobatic live, has better stamina, and hits the lows, highs and screams with a viciousness. It's hard not to see that most alt-rock frontmen the past decade have stolen every move they have from him. How he is only 37 years old baffles us.

The new material, like Wednesday's opener "Rocket Skates" and the mid-set "Diamond Eyes", pops up and out live. It's just a solid effort that pays off with each listen. Sonically it brings to mind the soft/hard dynamic that the band cultivated, and in turn became their calling card, on 2000's White Pony.

Many call Pony the Deftones' magnum opus, and we have to agree. That album is aging a sight better every year compared to some albums that came out at the time. The only one we can think of that we can stack it up against would be At the Drive-In's Relationship Of Command that fall. Both releases would end up informing hard rock for the next decade.

The middle part of the set was heavy on Pony material, and the band ended up cutting out a big part of their Diamond work during the halfway point of the night, opting for tracks from their harrowing 2003 self-titled release. "Minerva" is the closest you will hear the band reaching U2 levels.

"Passenger" and "Change (In The House of Flies)" formed the last stretch of the show before the band dug back into their mid-'90s work from 1995's Adrenaline and 1997's Around the Fur. Encore closers "Nosebleed, "Engine No. 9" and "7 Words" smoked the crowd into large bits.

Verizon's concrete floor seemed to be equal parts blood, sweat and beer.

Personal Bias: We were on the Deftones street team in 2000 when White Pony came out, and during a VIP meet-and-greet, guitarist Stephen Carpenter offered us a joint. The past decade has been kinda hazy.

The Crowd: Modern rock to the hilt, bare-chested, sweaty, pierced, and very Hispanic. Us Messicans love us some Deftones. We wondered where some of these folks would be heading afterwards now that Rocbar has been shuttered.

Overheard In the Crowd: "Get away from the garbage can, bitch."

Random Notebook Dump: It was a very aggressive throng, but a happy crowd overall. By our count, only one empty cup hit Moreno's face the whole night. We only almost got bled on once.

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