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A Concert Review

December 4, 1996

The Metro

Chicago, IL

A Review by
The Dude on the Right
Now, you may have read about how my mom would never let me go to see KISS when I was young. Well, if my mom ever caught me at this triple bill, and realized I actually liked it, I would probably be disowned. Well, mom, if you're reading this, hard core acts like Deftones, Orange 9mm, and Downset are more than loud music you can't understand - it's about energy, it's about fun, and it's about a message. Personally, I'm starting to think that many of these hard-core acts are getting a bad rap.

We'll get to the music in a minute, but my first impression this night was that this is not a great place to pick up the ladies. Nope, this style of music lends itself to the male persuasion, although there were a few ladies in attendance. The ratio is totally wrong, so if you're a hard core fan heading to a show hoping to score, you are probably at the wrong place. Just an observation - what about the bands?

Now, I was there to cover Deftones, a band I had seen all too briefly many times before. But there were two other pretty decent bands so let's give a quick wrap up on those, kinda an opening act to my main article. First off was a band called Downset. They kinda had this cross between rap and thrash metal. Already known by many in attendance, Downset had no trouble whipping up the energy level, through in some politics into their music, and worked the crowd with driving beats and a sort-of political message. A good opener, and hell, a good band even not as an opener.

One stage set-up is gone, Orange 9mm's is set up, and from the rate the heads were thrashing to the music, this band had an even easier time working the crowd - they let their music do the action and then filled it in with some great crowd interaction, even through some technical difficulties (I must commend the bass player on his great recovery through many a problem with his equipment). Orange 9mm is a little bit more bass intense, a little bit more rap, and the lead singer scores a big 10 for his back somersault after body-surfing to get back on the stage. I will say this, also, that the lead singer dude, through his intensity and attitude, just looked like he was having so much damn fun. Not exactly the attitude of "kill them all" like my mom thinks the music is. Oh well. But the reason I was at this show was the Deftones, and they took the stage next.

The last two times I saw the Deftones, I was handling the photo duties, so my real experience only dealt with three songs for each of the two shows. Opening for Pantera and White Zombie, the crowd seemed to enjoy the band, but the KISS crowd was a little bit less than pleasant. The first good sign of the night was that where KISS and the Deftones didn't compliment each others crowds well, this night all three bands appealed to the audience at The Metro. Finally, a Deftones show, a full Deftones show, a Deftones show with truly Deftones fans, and it showed in the difference in the level of the band.

Now, don't get me wrong, the other times the band had the same high-energy as this time, it's just this time, unlike opening for Pantera where it looked like the band was almost trying to prove something, and unlike opening for KISS where the band looked more to piss-off the unappreciative crowd, this time the band smiled, the band had fun, and the band got longer than 30 minutes to rip through a set of energy and music to keep the crowd in a frenzy the entire time.

Where Orange 9mm is built on bass, Deftones to me seems built on rhythm. Chino, the lead singer dude, from working the stage like a lion to stage-diving, microphone and all, into the crowd of fans, propelled Deftones to build their fan base just a little bit stronger. Up there he's crouched in a fetal position, his pants are falling down, he's totally intense, and the few chicks there are totally diggin' him. But he's not the only one the crowd loves, it's this entire band the fans came to see, and whether it was the driving guitar of Stef Carpenter, the frenzied drumming of Abe Cunningham or the actions of the bass dude, Chi Cheng, Deftones plays their brand of hard core and does it well.

Now, the band has one CD, "Adrenaline," on Maverick Records, so much of what they do is centered around this release. Me, I'm waiting for them to get some time in the studio and bring on some more. But for this night, the crowd sure didn't care. For their set, Deftones kept the crowd into every beat, every lyric, and as much as the music might scare their parents, maybe their parents should give it a chance.

Deftones, yep, I give them TWO THUMBS UP!! It was great to see them in front of fans that really appreciated them. As much as the band was good the other two times and the three songs I got to see them, this nights show really brought out the best in the band.

The only thing I guess I don't get are the clothes. What's with the knit hats? I've got to tell my mom about this new fashion trend so she can start knitting needles flying. And what's with the pants that are fifty sizes too big? I guess the fashion could be worse, but, well, I just don't get it. Oh well.

Well, that's it for this review. I'm The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!


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