Concert Reviews

Last Night: Deftones, The Dillinger Escape Plan and Le Butcherettes at Verizon Theatre

Deftones, The Dillinger Escape Plan, Le Butcherettes
Verizon Theatre
June 6, 2011

Better than
: watching a Triunfo del Amor marathon.

As strong a set as the Deftones performed to a packed Verizon Theatre last night, it was difficult to overlook an uneven mix from the venue's sound system. Vocalist Chino Moreno could be heard loud and clear, sure, but Abe Cunningham's bass drum and Stephen Carpenter's guitar overpowered throughout the 90-minute set.

Did you want some music with your kick drum? Sorry. Bassist Sergio Vega and sonic landscaper Frank Delgado were to be heard only here and there -- frustrating stuff for this well-rounded and multi-faceted band.

But the band didn't play to a house full of sound engineers.

No, this devoted crowd was fully engaged from the opening track, "Diamond Eyes." And that continued as the following handful of songs seemed to showcase a buddy system with selection choice, as two songs from an album would be played back to back, whether they were from Diamond Eyes, Adrenaline or Around the Fur.

And, to their credit, the band members looked very happy to be on the stage and playing to an adoring crowd. Moreno himself couldn't stop smiling from ear to ear between his throat-wrenching wails. As Carpenter stayed put on stage right, Vega and Moreno rarely stood in one place. From the pit to the nosebleed seats, folks bounced up and down, screaming in delight.

After the first quarter of the set was filled with rockers, the band smoothly transitioned into lighter, moodier material. Taking things down a notch after "My Own Summer (Shove It)," Moreno strapped on a guitar and kicked into "Digital Bath." Then the band got things jumping again with "Knife Party."

Later, backed by visuals from the bizarro Japanese horror flick Hausu, Moreno was joined onstage by Teri "Gender Bender" Suarez from opening act Le Butcherettes. Balancing punishing material with slightly lighter material for the rest of the time, songs like "Sextape" and "Change (In the House of Flies)" fit right in. "Passenger" was one of the final songs in the main set, and it was a special piece of pie; Greg Puciato from The Dillinger Escape Plan came out and covered Maynard James Keenan's spot quite well.

Leaving the stage only briefly before a two-song encore, the band finished with an absolutely riveting version of "7 Words." With a certain kind of heaviness and propulsion not found on the original recorded version, there was no way the band could top this.

Certainly, was the best way to end the show.

It had started fairly strong, too: Main support act The Dillinger Escape Plan is one of the most exciting live bands around these days.

Unfortunately, as with the headliners, constant sound issues kept the band from unleashing their usual raw, gut-punching blast. Greg Puciato's vocals, Ben Weinman's guitar, and Jeff Tuttle's guitar were often buried underneath bass and drums. Bassist Liam Wilson had an ongoing challenge with his rig as roadies did their best to fix the issues. Eventually, those issues smoothed out. But not completely.

Four of the nine songs were from their latest, Option Paralysis, while older songs like "Panasonic Youth" and "43% Burnt" got some nice attention. Ending the set by tearing apart Billy Rymer's drum set, the band left a mark in a clatter of noise.

As for the crowd in general, they were patient, but they anticipated the Deftones more than anything else.

And the jury was out for Le Butcherettes. Frontwoman Teri "Gender Bender" Suarez divided time between guitar and keyboards, as tribal drumming and thumping bass perfectly propelled her. As a performer, Suarez could be best described as a cross between P.J. Harvey and Karen O. Running through 10 songs in a half hour, the crowd sounded divided on whether they wanted more or less of the band.

When Suarez spoke Spanish between songs, though, people went wild. Later, she would jump into the crowd not once, but twice, unafraid to be noticed in a pit of folks who had never heard of her or her band.

Critic's Notebook
Personal Bias:
The last time I "saw" the Deftones was at the Warped Tour in 1997. I walked in then as the band played their final note and said, "Thank you." Guess I spent too much time watching Bad Religion.

By The Way: If you bought a Deftones T-shirt inside the venue, they went for at least $30. If you bought one from a reseller in the parking lot (who coincidentally happened to be near a large sign that said re-selling merchandise was against the rules), it was only $10.

Random Note: Despite the fact the Deftones have covered Katy Perry's "Firework" live before, it didn't happen for this show.

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Eric Grubbs is a Dallas-based writer who has published two books, Post: A Look at the Influence of Post-Hardcore 1985-2007 and When We Were the Kids. His writing has been featured in Punk Planet, Popdose, Fort Worth Weekly, The Dentonite and LA Weekly. He supports Manchester City and will never root for Manchester United.
Contact: Eric Grubbs

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