There are very few venues that I like more than Rock City in Nottingham and there are very few bands that I like more than Deftones, so on hearing news that the two were coming together I was more than a little excited. Tickets were bought and plans were made!
Four months later we entered the venue to the cacophony that was openers Three Trapped Tigers. The London based trio, perched on the front edge of the stage such is the lot of the opening act, produced a noise somewhere in between 65daysofstatic and Maybeshewill. A very talented bunch they were too, displaying keyboard wizardry, multi-tasking simultaneously on guitars and synths, and delivering ferocious beats. A band well worth checking out if you haven’t already!
The next band to share the front edge of the stage was L.A. noise merchants Letlive, who came with an impressive reputation of putting on killer shows. Frontman Jason Aalon Butler wasted no time in setting the tone for the night by prowling atop the monitors before launching into ‘Le Prologue’ and them himself into the crowd. And that was it, Letlive had arrived and in those first few minutes had lived up to the reputation that had preceded them… The next few minutes saw Butler leap from the stage and jump onto the bar, which was a good 25 yards away from the stage, without missing a beat!
The antics didn’t finish there… Letlive blasted their way through ‘The Sick, Sick, 6.8 Billion’, ‘H. Ledger’, and ’27 Club’ during which Butler again hurled himself into the crowd, only this time to emerge wearing a chicken head! Yes, a punter had turned up to the show in a full chicken costume; Robin Hood was also in attendance as well as at least two Knights! ‘Muther’, ‘Renegade 86’’ and ‘Casino Columbus’ rounded out the set, the latter extended as Butler took a tour around Rock City and at one point looked as though he’d leap from the balcony into the crowd below… Thankfully, he didn’t and made his way down and back to the stage where ‘Casino Columbus’ was finally brought to a close.
Letlive certainly lived up to all expectations both in terms of their live show and their impressive music. There was also time for Butler to pay tribute to the Deftones and in particular to one of his favourite and influential vocalists, Chino Moreno. I think we’ll hear a lot more about these guys this year!
The lights dimmed, the shouts and cheers rise and the unmistakable form of Stephen Carpenter marches across the stage and takes his guitar from a tech. Chino Moreno bounced onto the stage, straight on top of the monitors and began wrapping himself in his mic chord as the opening notes ‘Diamond Eyes’ measured 7.5 on the Richter scale… Rock City was full to capacity and nobody was stood still, the entire hall was jumping!
‘Poltergeist’ and ‘Nosebleed’ followed on, increasing the carnage in the pit before the roof was blown off and the floor shook as the anthems ‘Be Quiet And Drive (Far Away)’ and ‘My Own Summer (Shove It)’ poured nostalgia on the crowd. Deftones returned to more recent times with ‘Rosemary,’ ‘Rocket Skates,’ ‘CMND/CTRL’, ‘Sextape’ and ‘Romantic Dreams,’ with Chino venturing off the stage to share some moments with the fans on the barrier.
More nostalgic moments were to follow as Deftones visited “White Pony” with ‘Feiticeira’ and the amazing ‘Passenger,’ which could only have been topped if Maynard James Keenan himself was there singing his parts… but alas he was elsewhere, hopefully working on the new Tool album! The crowd were in full voice too, Chino often acknowledging them with smiles and hands signals.
Their latest release “Koi No Yokan” provided ‘Tempest’ and ‘Swerve City,’ the latest offerings going down as well as the early tunes proving the timeless appeal of Deftones. As if proof were needed, ‘Dai The Flu’ and ‘Headup’ from “Around the Fur” continued the lovefest, the entire hall still moving to every beat! The immense ‘Change (In The House Of Flies)’ was exactly the point where I lost my voice, so many anthems and favourites to sing along to had taken their toll but with ‘Bloody Cape,’ Deftones brought an end the the main set giving us 30 somethings a moment or two to catch our breath.
The encore of ‘Engine No.9’ and ‘7 Words’ brought tears of nostalgia to my eyes and memories of a time almost 20 years ago, a time when my love of music was established. Twenty years later and my love for music was being reaffirmed by Deftones and a show that will live long in my memory. A brilliant, brilliant show by a band that deserves to be playing bigger venues but I for one am glad I saw them at Rock City this time around!
Photographs taken by Danny Ackerley.