Deftones, Austin Music Hall, July 28
Austin Music Hall, July 28 Even from the comfort of the relatively roomy, air-conditioned Austin Music Hall balcony, the Deftones' 90-minute set was exhausting. For the poor fan frontman Chino Moreno stopped the second song midway to lift out of the seething mosh pit, it must have been excruciating. "You guys have to help each other," Moreno said after making sure she was all right. "We're all here to have fun." For someone who would later admit to throwing up three times since going onstage, Moreno tried valiantly to follow his own advice. The rest of the sold-out Friday-night crowd of 3,000 or so had no trouble getting primal, as the four Angelenos let loose with volcanic chasms of post-hardcore thrash cut liberally with a rhythmic panzer equal parts grind and thud. From upstairs, the Music Hall floor most often resembled the North Atlantic in A Perfect Storm. But the Deftones' songs are more than Slipknot-style naked-aggression release valves; they also contain depth and contour, making them resolutely musical without having to resort to the nail-spitting bile of Pantera or the Social Distortiony jangle of Papa Roach. Their mien backdates at least to the early days of Nineties alternarock, when Nine Inch Nails, Tool, and the Smashing Pumpkins fused mile-wide introspective streaks with walls of guitar noise louder than many airports. It's a very sexual sort of heavy music, perhaps fueled by the same unabashedly Romantic stirrings that caused them to pick the Twin Peaks theme as a prelude or to reprise "To Have and to Hold" from 98's For the Masses Depeche Mode tribute. In the end, even before a cover of Weezer's "Say It Ain't So" really let the cat out of the bag, all the rumbling and swaying emanating from the Music Hall's foundations couldn't disguise the fact that deep down, all the Deftones really want is for girls to like them. Sure, there were plenty of assholes there who only wanted to go apeshit and bash into people, but on Friday Moreno met at least one female admirer who'll be buying his records long after the goons who trampled her are picking up beer cans on the highway. Provided she didn't mind Moreno's calling her "big" in front of all those people, something tells me next time she'll be in the balcony too.
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