Butterflies. You know what those are, right? When you can’t seem to calm down, no matter how hard you try; and neither does that fluttering feeling in your stomach. Well, I had those for a good 10 hours before this show. Why, you ask? Read on and you, my patient friends, shall learn the reason.
We were scheduled to interview GlassJaw in the late afternoon prior to show time at 6:30 (which turned into 7:00, mainly because shows held at the Palladium are rarely, if ever, without fuck-ups on behalf of the venue’s part). We met and talked with vocalist Daryl Palumbo inside the very air-conditioned and very lived in Winnebago for a little under an hour. He seemed just as psyched for this show as any of the string of performances that preceded it. He and his band members are young, still hungry, and proud and grateful to be touring alongside of greatness (a/k/a: Deftones) and the show that GlassJaw gave the audience was proof of that.
The band took the stage and immediately began to taunt the anxious audience with a guitar intro that crunched then savored, lingering through the cavernous auditorium, then plowed into what would be an electric 30-minute performance that spotlighted songs from their Roadrunner Records debut “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Silence“. At first, I couldn’t get over how small each of the members were in comparison to how huge their sound was. These boys from Brooklyn had their work cut out for them, playing to a capacity audience of hardcore Deftones disciples that screamed “Chino!” at every given chance. However, all of my reservations about GlassJaw were laid to rest. This band must be seen in a live setting to be truly appreciated. Don’t miss your chance when they go back out on the road for the second leg of their tour with Earth Crisis. You can thank me later.
The Palladium (otherwise known as “the shittiest venue on Earth”) played host again to one of the most supercharged artists to ever grace it’s ungrateful grounds. This tour in support of their latest Maverick Records release “White Pony” is one of the most anticipated and revered of all rock acts currently on the road. Deftones also just so happen to be one of three of my all-time favorite bands ever, which lent to those butterflies I mentioned earlier. This was a big night for this band, and for me.
Proudly sporting my VIP bracelet and green satin deftones/white pony photo pass, I strode nervously into the photo pit armed with a digital camera, and a killer Minolta complete with mondo-zoom lense, and proceeded to stake out the best spot to shoot “The Man” from. A half hour went by before the natives started getting restless. To entertain myself for a few seconds and relieve a little tension, I snapped a couple of shots of the anxious mob that seemed to literally be crushing itself to dust behind me.
Another cool element to the obnoxious waiting time was that Christian (Chino Moreno‘s adorable little boy), was scampering about onstage, testing the drums, the mics, the keyboards, and purposefully placing his Daddy’s water bottle on Abe‘s drum riser for him, so he could find it when he got thirsty. Adoring Christian’s sweetness and his uncanny resemblance to his father was enough to take some of the edge off. I snapped a picture of him as he innocently picked up the microphone that laid there ominous and motionless on a white towel, waiting for it’s master to breath life into it.
Before long, the air went black, and screams brushed through my hair. Showtime. The butterflies were back. Stef‘s shadow was to my left. Then I could see Abe seating himself at his pale blue drum kit. Lightning flashes from cameras everywhere, Chi‘s mile-long dreads, a huge flash of sound and light. Then suddenly, the once lifeless microphone was swept up into the clutching fist of Chino Moreno, who was immediately moving all over every inch of the stage as the band propelled themselves into the explosive opener, “Be Quiet and Drive”.
It was all I could do to not pass out from the adrenaline (pun intended). My hands wouldn’t stop shaking, and Chino never stopped moving. Midway into the second song, unable to deal with the separation, he decided he wanted to become one with his audience, and looking down, said quickly, “Help me out, girl”. I extended a trembling hand to help him down off the stage, then he got a boost from a crew member who held him up so that Chino was hovering over the frenetic crowd, singing with them and making contact, while the security staff were doing double-time, assuring that no overzealous fans were able to jump the barriers.
After that, and throughout the show, Chino was in what seemed like constant contact with the fans, as he has always done. The energy was overwhelming. I was mesmerized, but somehow retained enough composure to continue taking pictures.
Even with their massive and growing fan base, this is a band known for the absence of rock star attitude, and an overdone stage set wouldn’t suit them. The set up was subtle, with a beautiful job done on lighting. A pinhole backdrop with bright, white light filtering through it created a blanket of stars on black velvet; an atmosphere as if the band were playing on the Moon, and the rest of the Universe was behind them. Luminous, deep violet light would wash over the whole audience, then fade into a chilling cobalt blue upon reaching the stage. Occasionally, a twinkling white pony or the Deftones marquee would appear on the backdrop, which reminded me of a giant Lite Brite board.
Deftones have also become known for the ability to make other bands’ songs their own, and performed my favorite Deftones/Depeche Mode cover of the eerie “To Have And To Hold” much to my delight. Chino managed to tease us all with a few lines from Weezer’s “In The Garage” and even a verse or two from “Ask Me” by the Smiths -at least until Stef messed up on his part, and Chino scolded him. “Hey! Don’t play the song if you don’t know it! I may not know all the words, but at least I know the song!”
The show was filled with memorable moment after moment. Not only did the band play all the songs from Around the Fur and Adrenaline that I had so longed to hear, including “Head Up”, “Mascara”, “Lifter”; they also cranked out several of the gorgeous new tracks from White Pony like “Korea”, “Digital Bath” (which gave me chills) and “Change (In the House of Flies)”. Los Angeles was treated to an in-person visit from the beautiful Rodleen, who screamed, shrieked, and soared with him during the powerful and disturbing “Knife Prty”. The audience was a relentless, massive tornado that would gain momentum right along with each explosive song in the set.
The Deftones gave the audience a riveting, emotional performance; the effects of which lasted long after the band left the stage. The sold-out crowd slowly dispersed – sweaty, exhausted, and stunned. This is one band not to be missed. If you see no other shows this year, do yourself the honors and get yourself to a Deftones show.
Extra special thanks to Heidi at Maverick for my killer Deftones experience, and to Maria at Roadrunner and to Daryl of GlassJaw for the interview and for the time in the air-conditioned RV.
Detones fans rock! Thank you, goodnight!