Jake loves the Deftones. He heard they were playing at the Mesa Amphitheatre June 9th, so he bought tickets. I didn’t get nervous until yesterday, when I realized I would be attending my first hard rock show that very night. Nervous might not be the word. Curious is better, because as a girl who went to Lilith Fair every year, hard rock isn’t exactly the norm.
What do I like about the Deftones? I adore the lead singer’s voice. I jive with the heavy bass and pounding drums. Their songs make me want to run on a treadmill—fast. I first heard one of their songs on The Matrix soundtrack: “My Own Summer (Shove It).” I first fell in love with one of their songs when I heard “Change (In the House of Flies).” Whenever this song plays, I feel like head-banging in a dark, dark room.
Deftones are described as “one of the first groups to alternate heavy riffs and screamed vocals with more ethereal music and hushed singing.” The guys hail from Sacramento, California: Chino Moreno (lead vocals and guitar), Stephen Carpenter (guitar), Chi Cheng (bass), Frank Delgado (keyboards and turntables), and Abe Cunningham (drums and percussion). Bassist Chi Cheng was in a car accident in 2008; he’s been in a “minimally conscious state” ever since. Fan out-pouring of funding and support has been astronomical. Read more about Chi at http://oneloveforchi.com/. For the time being, his place is being filled by Sergio Vega.
First of all, I love the Mesa Amphitheatre. I love any outdoor amphitheater where I can drink warm beer and scream without making a scene. The crowd was as you’d expect, adorned mostly in black. The guys had piercings and tattoos. The girls wore ill-advised skanky dresses and smoked cigarettes. I did my best to fit in; I wore black eyeliner and tried not to stare.
When the music started, I regretted not bringing earplugs. As the music continued, I really didn’t care. I was too busy pumping my fists in the air. I was amazed at the constant velocity of front man Chino Moreno. The guy never missed a beat and yet never stopped moving. And I loved the bassist. It’s always a good sign when you can actually feel the music in your chest.
For me, the show had three high points:
1. The Mosh Pit. I’m too old to actually be in a mosh pit, but I love watching the mosh pit. I don’t understand it—why a bunch of sweaty dudes would want to ram into each other and pogo-stick through the grass. There’s something tribal about it. I half expected them to chew on mutton chops and wipe blood from the hunt down their bare chests. Unfortunately, they did neither.
2. Chino, Knight in Shining Armor. In the middle of another heavy-bass, screaming anthem, Chino got close to the crowd. (That’s not saying much. He actually jumped into the crowd a couple times last night, too.) The crowd went crazy, and all of a sudden, Chino said, “Stop the music! Stop the music!” The band stopped the music, and looking down into the crowd, Chino said, “Somebody help her up. Are you okay?” This heavy-metal head-man stopped the entire show because some girl fell over in the crowd, and he wanted to make sure she was okay. Now, that is rock star.
3. Change (In the House of Flies). Yes, they played my favorite song. Yes, I went crazy. I went even crazier because they played Fantasia’s “Night on Bald Mountain” on the big screen behind the band during the song. What a PERFECT image for this sexy rock epic.
So was my hard-rock-show curiosity subdued? Yes. I have been to my first hard rock concert. My ears are still ringing, and I woke up with Mussorgsky’s “Night on Bald Mountain” in my head. I may never look like the skinny girls with black hair and tattoos, but dang it, when the Deftones played last night, I lifted my fists in the air and growled like a wild beast. Consider my face melted.