The Deftones: Emotional Transcendence and Spilled Bud Light

Brooklyn Bowl, October 27

The Deftones | Photo by Erik Kabik

Deftones | Photo by Erik Kabik

It’s not a Deftones show if they’re not shoulder-to-shoulder and hanging from the rafters, and Las Vegas proved no exception to that rule. I have never seen the Brooklyn Bowl so packed with people, or its floor so awash in beer—something which mystified me until the guy next to me felt the power of rock with such force that he began pumping his fist in the air with Bud still in hand, beer splashing everywhere. Hell, I watched a guy get so amped, he just tossed his plastic cup aside and began pogoing like a five-year-old on meth.

A Deftones show is like that—a straight jolt to the cerebellum, a blast of sensory overload that roils up the emotions. The band went right for it at the outset, opening with “Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away),” a song that combines the Deftones’ aptitude for propulsive rhythms, searing guitars and soaring vocals, as singer Chino Moreno wrung all the bewilderment and longing out of his repeated incantation to go I don’t care where/Just FAR! Moreno started slightly ragged, but was in full form after a few songs, alternately conjuring up Blixa Bargeld, Robert Plant, Simon LeBon and Nathan Explosion—and even throwing a bit of Drake into the band’s rendition of  “Around the Fur.” “Feiticeria” tore the house apart with operatic wails and static-y noise guitars, as did the straight-up headbanging of “Swerve City,” while the crooning vocals and prom-night mirror ball during “Sextape” allowed a rare moment of (comparative) calm.

The band closed their set with an incendiary rendition of “Passenger,” during which Moreno worked in the chorus from Cypress Hill’s “How I Could Just Kill a Man” as he walked across a narrow railing all the way to the back of the house, a sea of hands reaching up to touch his kicks. Guitarist Stephen Carpenter even shredded in a little of the break from “Welcome to the Jungle,” reminding us that there’s more than one master of all things rock in this outfit.

The Deftones gave an old-school encore, playing three songs off their debut album, Adrenaline. After they blasted out the final notes of a brutal rendition of “Engine No. 9” and walked offstage, the audience stood there for a moment, abruptly dropped back on Earth, blinking against the lights, somehow both drained and overwhelmed at the same time. Prince’s “Purple Rain” rose on the sound system, and some began singing along as they finally began to wander unsteadily toward the exit. Re-entry is always a little difficult after a Deftones show. ★★★★★

Photos by Erik Kabik /