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Deftones at Full Volume

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Their Own Winter: The Deftones.

The 'Adrenaline' band charges up the pit at the Edge, Dec. 15

By Sarah Quelland

Though shunned by radio stations and MTV, the Deftones, a foursome from Sacramento, have become increasingly popular since the release of their debut album, Adrenaline. They aggressively promoted that album by touring with Bad Brains, White Zombie, L7 and Ozzy Osbourne; appearing on the Warped tour; and contributing songs to The Crow: City of Angels and Escape From L.A. soundtracks.

With the release of their follow-up album, Around the Fur, the rigorous traveling schedule has begun again. Touring is old hat for Deftones, and like an old hat, it seems quite comfortable to the band members. Vocalist Chino Moreno, bassist Chi Cheng, guitarist Stef Carpenter and drummer Abe Cunningham virtually live on the road, and they've already given numerous performances in the Bay Area, headlining clubs like Bottom of the Hill and the Fillmore.

With yet another show at the Edge in Palo Alto on Dec. 15, it's amazing that they can keep the energy level stoked to capacity, but somehow every show offers fresh new frenzy.

Watching Their Words

The Deftones' harsh music is full of fast-paced, shredding guitars and provocative stream-of-consciousness lyrics. Moreno belts out every number with throat-ripping vigor, and the band bristles with an electric intensity.

Though the Deftones disagree with the comparison, their sound is similar to that of Rage Against the Machine and Korn. Bands like these infect their audiences with a tangible charge that makes it impossible to stand still, and when Deftones entered, the Edge crowd exploded. A pit quickly formed, and Moreno himself indulged a few times.

In fine, fierce form, Moreno sang the infamous audience favorite "7 Words" while crouching on a speaker. Slowly, teasingly, he screamed "Squeal ... like ... a ... pig," then dived into the crowd continuing to shout "suck, suck, suck, suck, suck ..."

The band offered up an equal mix of songs from Adrenaline and Around the Fur, giving old and new fans a heaping dose of delightful aural abuse.

The numbers from Adrenaline included the aforementioned '7 Words," "Bored," "Watch Me," "Engine No. 9" and "One Weak." From Around the Fur, they performed "My Own Summer (Shove It), "Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away)" and "Lotion." They also ripped up the stage with "Teething," the song on The Crow: City of Angels soundtrack.

The Deftones often throw at least one cover song into their sets; this show it was the slow, melodic Depeche Mode song "Somebody," which they performed straight-up, without a trace of cynicism. No surprise there: In a recent Guitar World article, Carpenter is quoted as saying, "I've got three CDs in my backpack right now, and two of them are by Depeche Mode. I love their music because it makes your heart pound." Their rendition of "Somebody" also makes the heart pound, even if it is surprising to hear such an abrasive band perform something so sweet.

Moreno and company, though, have more versatility than is immediately evident. Each song is like a journey that moves through a range of emotions. Moreno's lyrics are like poetry written in the heat of the moment, full of his intimate feelings--and the band supplies all the right changes from fast to slow.

Many people have speculated that the Deftones have mellowed out. After the show at the Edge, that seems hard to believe. The Deftones have changed a bit; maybe grown a little. But they have as much heat as ever.

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