Playing on British soil for the first time in seven years, AFI are somewhat of a strange choice for opening act tonight, a huge band in their own right and fresh off the back of a well-received new album you would not be mistaken for thinking the band would benefit from a headline tour of their own. That aside the band returning to the UK is a big deal. The forty-five-minute set is energetic and engaging, and sound issues aside, the four piece do a great job of warming up the crowd for what follows.
A tumultuous career spanning more than twenty years, has cemented Deftones place as generation defining band. Having a near consistently strong output of interesting and challenging music, the Sacramento based legends marked the next chapter in their career with the release of 2016’s Gore, the album was somewhat polarising to some, but ultimately the record was an example of a band who are not content to play it safe, a band who are still pushing boundaries at this stage of their career.
Tonight, Deftones stop off at a packed-out Manchester o2 Apollo in support of Gore, so it’s interesting to find that the band only play one song from this record and also suggest that the band perhaps don’t have a great deal of faith in the songs. That being said, it doesn’t really matter, there are enough classics in the back catalogue to fill a 20-song set, whilst still having to leave out some memorable numbers. The fact that they can drop My Own Summer (Shove it) two songs in to the set speaks for itself.
The push and pull of heavy riffing, melded with dreamy soundscapes and vocal melodies is something which has been an almost consistent trope of Deftones sound in one way or another. And in a live scenario this is what makes a Deftones show truly mesmerising and encapsulating. The ability to bounce from Rosemary to Swerve City and then into You’ve Seen the Butcher is a clear example of what I am talking about here. Entombed offers the most melodic moment of the set, as Chino Moreno shows off his vocal capabilities with a spellbinding performance. There is at least one song played from every album tonight, White Pony classic Knife Party and Change (In The House of Flies) make way to an Around the Fur 1..2 which includes arguably the bands biggest hit; and Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away) as well as the punishingly gritty Headup. The hour and a half or so that the band are on the stage is gripping, the no nonsense stage set up ensures that this is the sort of show that is very much about the music and less about a show per-se, but the energy that resonates from the band as well as having some of the best metal songs of all time confirms tonight as a gig of the year candidate.