Deftones, Letlive, Three Trapped Tigers @ O2 Brixton Academy, London, 20/02/13

22/02/2013 @ 14:26
It is without a doubt that the Deftones are one of the best bands that represent the heavier spectrum of rock music for the past 20 years. Naysayers (and ignorant musicphiles) will simply stack them next to every other NU metal band that sprouted out of nowhere in the early 00s. The Deftones weren't just another NU Metal band, but the flagship of the genre that many tried to copy, few coming, close but nobody actually succeeding. If you add their constant high quality release presence -as proven by newer efforts such as "Koi No Yokan" and older ones such as "White Pony"- to the equation, it is not hard to see why they have reached this phenomenal status.

Deftones @ O2 Brixton Academy

The show at the Brixton Academy was the "Koi No Yokan" tour's fifth stop in the UK and was sold out months before the event. The band also recently announced their main stage billing at this year's Reading/Leeds festival in August. First supporting act of the night was an instrumental trio under the moniker Three Trapped Tigers. They seem to label themselves as a 'noise rock' band, which isn't far from the truth, as 'noise' is all I actually got from them...

On the other side of the spectrum, post-hardcore upcomers, letlive, gave the necessary aggressive pulse (and first bruises) to the evening with their raw and poignant sound. It could be said that the over-the-top performance and extravagance of their frontman could be seen as an exaggeration, as at one point he was singing from under a rug... Decent nonetheless.


Setlist: Le Prologue / The Sick, Sick, 6.8 Billion / H. Ledger / 27 Club / Muther / Renegade 86' / Casino Columbus

It was time for the headliners to take the stage, starting off their set with "Diamond Eyes". The gig quickly took a frenzied pace with two great tracks off "Around The Fur", "Be Quite And Drive (Far Away)" and "My Own Summer (Shove It)", with the latter giving the signal for the nights first mosh pits. "Rosemary" gave the concert hall a more chilled-out vibe, just for a minute, until "Rocket Skates" and "CMND/CTRL" brought things back to the trademark Deftones fierce groove.


Even though in their 40s, the band is as energetic as ever, constantly reminding me of live videos I used to swoon upon almost a decade ago, constantly wondering if I would ever have a chance of seeing them perform. Moreno missed no chance to get close to the crowd and was constantly stage diving, whilst his vocal deliverance remained perfect throughout the gig, showing a great improvement from what he used to give us in the past. He even did an impressive brief pass through Judas Priest's "Ripper" at some point. Cunningham and Vega's rhythm section offered no rest and, as it was expected, Chi Cheng was not forgotten as he was movingly referred to before going into "Dai The Flu". Carpenter's seven-string guitars were commandeering and fierce whereas the quintet was completed with Frank Delgado behind the turntable.


"Passenger", even without James Maynard Keenan's majestic presence, was as breathtaking as ever, and new songs from their latest album -"Tempest" and "Swerve City"- were enthusiastically received by the crowd, even though it was a shame that "Leathers" could not be squeezed in to the set. "Headup" brought the expected mayhem, whereas numbers such as "Change (In The House Of Flies)" and "Riviere" slowed down the pace. Whatever inhibitions the main set still left in tact, were destroyed by the encore. Straight out of 1995's "Adrenaline", the raw, primitive power of "Engine No. 9" and "7 Words" were the ideal closers of this awesome night at the Academy.


Venturing into their third decade, Deftones still remain as relevant as ever and are clearly at top form. Referring back to this report's first paragraph, this is a direct link to their constant, top-notch releases. However, I can now definitely say that their place at the top is also won due to their amazing live performance, which somehow manages to bring everything that matters from the studio straight to the stage, flawlessly. Many newer bands would kill to have the vitality and energy of which the Deftones clearly have an abundance of, and many of their 00s peers still look up with awe and jealousy.


Diamond Eyes
Be Quiet And Drive (Far Away)
My Own Summer (Shove It)
Rocket Skates
Swerve City
Dai The Flu
Change (In The House Of Flies)
Bloody Cape
Engine No. 9
7 Words
Live report / photos: Giannis Kotzias