Live Music + Gig Reviews

Deftones – Download Festival, Donington

31 May 2003

The Main Stage on this sweltering opening day of theDownload Festival had seen acts of unrelenting heaviness. From thebonecrushing Stampin Ground, to the laughable tomfoolery of theMurderdolls. Ministry had just finished a longwindedsmattering of prog rock, and at 5.30pm the sun was still unmercifullysearing.

What was needed was some downtime. A little bit oftime to chill and enjoy some good rockin’ music. At first thought, theintelligent evolving music of the Deftones would top anyone’s list onthis sweaty late afternoon.

The Sacramento quintet had other things on their mindas they emerged to hordes of gleeful punters. Things kicked off nicely withFeiticeira, enticing a lot of thrashing about and sing alongs.

Unfortunately the PA was questionably meager, whichwas a problem throughout the weekend, and muddied the band’s sound. Still atthe front it wasn’t too bad. A double whammy of My Own Summer and Be QuietAnd Drive whet eager fans appetites.

As Minerva was anthemically aired out, many wereperhaps expecting a flurry of material from their recently released fourthalbum. Unfortunately that was not to be, with only three new songs played,the band choosing to meld material from their previous back catalogue.

Despite expanded waistlines (Chi &Chino), the band sounded tighter than ever and were more ‘in touchwith their active environment’ (they weren’t stoned off their faces) than onprevious occasions. Chino happily zipped across the stage and nipped down toboth ends of the split barrier.

After a disappointingly average rendition of Change,some much needed va-va-voom was injected with some old-skool Deftones in theform of Root. Following on was a hard hitting Head Up, which saw two luckyfans hoisted onstage to provide backing vocals, leaving just enough time forthe maniacal 7 Words. Never had I witnessed so many adolescent maleswillingly hammer themselves into each other in circle pits.(UntilMetallica)

A good set on the whole, the Deftones couldemphatically claim job well done. Just a shame a few of those beautifulnewies were shelved.

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