Recently, we had the chance to check out the Deftones fall headline tour when it came through Chicago at the Aragon Ballroom with Scars On Broadway. You can check out our review of the tour after the break.
The Aragon Ballroom, one word, wow. I had never been here due to the fact that, there is no easy way to get there, the tickets are usually significantly pricey and the surrounding neighborhood is saturated with aggressive homeless people. But once you get past all of that and actually make your way into the venue, your jaw will drop at the sheer magnitude of the overall craftsmanship that went into making this venue. The only things I could think about were, “damn this venue is just beautiful” and “I hope no one breaks into my car while I’m here.”
I had some preconceived notions about Scars On Broadway, I had never heard of them because it’s honestly not a genre of music I listen to, so I had no idea what was in store. So with my ample time I checked in on facebook and googled “Scars on Broadway”. This helped in two ways, first I didn’t stand around looking like I had no friends because I was at the show alone and two, it gave me some insight into the band. I had gotten a comment on my check in from a friend which went (I’m paraphrasing here), “aw I totally forgot about this show! It’s ok though I’ll catch the Deftones next time around, when they’re not playing with Scars on Broadway lol good luck”. This made me very pessimistic about watching their set. Google would later tell me that the lead singer was the guitarist from System of a Down, this added a sense of, “well this is going to be interesting” to the mix. As they started, my suspicions were right about the acoustics and sound in this venue. It was terrible, high vaulted ceilings and mixes that were focused on only bass (because kids love bass, dubstep, wobble wobble wobble) just made the entire room sound muddy and cluttered. They were, well they were different than what I was use to. No one really moved, besides the bassist every once in a while and an occasional head bang from the keyboardist. Technically, this band was very proficient and very professional. In the sense of entertaining, well they were entertaining for a few reasons. The flurry of Persian rugs, the high screeches and screams as well as the lyrics were more than enough for me. I know they are “eccentric” but it felt forced and totally big business Hollywood record label, “this is what rockstars look like and act” 80’s style and overall feel. The crowd seemed to enjoy it and don’t get me wrong, people like all types of music and people dislike all types of music, but I honestly didn’t like a thing about the band or set. I may be coming off as harsh but my personal views on music is I like original, I like independent style and sound and I like when bands can connect with the crowd and radiate an energy fueled by the passion of the music. Scars on Broadway had none of that and their music has been done and played out for many many years.
On a new note, no pun intended, The Deftones did everything right. They have been around for years and years and yes, many bands sound like them, but they pioneered the sound that many bands aspire to have. Granted I haven’t listened to The Deftones since their single “Minerva” came out a very long time ago, I was pretty certain they would be astounding still. I knew even despite the terrible tragedy that befell their old bassist Chi, they would still put on an amazing show. Once Scars on Broadway departed the stage, the crowd literally tripled and I could not even count the number of Deftones shirts and other merch I saw. Once the lights dropped there was a huge roar in the crowd accompanied with cheers, whistles and people screaming “Chino I love you!”. As they took the stage Chino jumped up on the box at the front of the stage, he towered over the crowd, gave a tiny smirk and let out a huge scream as they played the first notes of the set. He absolutely commanded the 12 foot stage and made the crowd go absolutely insane. Nothing was off limits and the energy was through the roof. Despite the elephant in the room aka the terrible acoustics, their sound engineer took a word of advice and didn’t mix their sound with the bass turned up to eleven. Yes it was perfect, but it was a hell of an improvement from the previous set. As they played farther into their set I just thought to myself “Now this is what a band should be like!”. They hit every note and had everyone in the crowd either, bobbing a head, tapping a foot or screaming their lungs out with every word to every song that night. As expected from a band of their caliber, they absolutely killed it and left me with nothing bad to say. After two decades as a band, they still have the energy, they still have the drive and they still keep the fans coming back for more. These are the signs of a great band and what impressed me the most is that they gave a shit and showed that they gave a shit about the music and the fans. The enthusiasm was there and if it’s still there after all these years, then they will continue to be happy doing what they love and most of all they will keep the fans happy for hopefully many more years to come.
Information about the review…
Tour: Deftones Fall Headline Tour
Bands: Deftones, Scars On Broadway
Reviewer: Jim Vondruska
Date: October 23, 2012
Venue: Aragon Ballroom in Chicago, IL