After the performance the Deftones put on during their second night at the Best Buy Theater on Saturday, it would be easy to dismiss the opening bands as an afterthought. However, Dillinger Escape Plan's performances would never allow that and Funeral Party deserves at least a mention for feeling slightly out of place.
It was plain to see the crowd felt Funeral Party didn't belong but after listening to them, the more avant garde members of the audience likely saw how the band's sound complemented the experimental, sometimes synth-y elements of both Dillinger and Deftones. Their inclusion on the bill may have been peculiar but Funeral Party did enough to them on some fans' radars.
The Dillinger Escape Plan's live shows are so notorious that more than one person could be heard wondering aloud whether the band was a co-headliner. While DEP has experienced none of the mainstream success that would make such a possibility, even watching from afar, their performance left no doubt that they could share the stage with ANYONE. They easily rank among the best concert bands in the world thanks to a frantic energy with music to match that no other act can offer.
After Dillinger Escape Plan hopefully sent people scrambling to buy up tickets for their show in Williamsburg the following night, I spoke with another member of the audience who said he purposefully avoided seeing the Deftones for the past decade despite being a huge fan because he heard such bad things about their stage show. Whether that's true or not, I can't say, but his patience would be rewarded.
Deftones dispelled his doubts right out of the gate, launching into the title track of their renaissance album, Diamond Eyes. The band clearly wrote the song to not just open an album but to set the tone for their live shows. The chugging verses swoon into a sweeping choral hook, capable of engaging venues three times the size of the Best Buy Theater. The fervor only built as the Deftones whetted the crowd's appetite for classic material with two more songs from Diamond Eyes before launching into "Around the Fur." It's not like anyone missed the old stuff though. The band could've played the entire new album and left everyone happy. Not even midway through the second song the skeptical concertgoer glanced my way with the look of a man who's had his mind blown.
Even when things slowed down, the show lost none of its epic scale. The slow songs were communal masses. A calming, sensual energy generated by classics including "Be Quiet" and "Change" as well as new favorites like "Sextape" radiated from the band through the crowd to fill the theater with a peaceful aura, despite the blaring (yet well mixed and clear) sound system.
As the concert--which became more of a career retrospective--began to near the end, the first of the night's defining moments occurred. While many may have had this surprise spoiled by reviews of prior shows on the tour, nothing could tarnish the second to last song of Deftones' main set when the lead singer of Dillinger Escape Plan, Greg Puciato, came out and channeled his inner Maynard James Keenan to perform "Passenger." Delivering a performance that made you forget the original, Puciato and Chino Moreno redefined the way everyone in the audience will ever hear that song moving forward. Without actually doing anything differently than the Tool frontman and among all the many guests who have helped fill out this song live, Puciato made it unforgettably his own.
Finally, following a 20 song set that still somehow seemed all too short, came the perfect ending to the perfect concert. For the encore, the band chose two very old songs from their first release, performing them so well as to make one question why nu-metal ever died out. It was a full realization of what that genre truly could have been--smart, angst lyrics spit out with talent and flair set against the back drop of heavy melodies, powerful riffs, and galloping rhythms.
**Rock (jock) is Kyle Andrukiewicz, he is a contributing writer to Officially A Yuppie. He has covered Volbeat and Glassjaw for the site and continues to be our loud rock guru.