Friday, August 10, 2012

SOAD, Deftones sound inspired

Serj Tankian in the light (Sam McLennan photo)

Daron Malakian sets the stage (Sam McLennan photo)
Handicapping the System of a Down/Deftones show before it hit the Comcast Center Aug. 9, I pretty much was banking on Deftones to bring a bit more edge and System to be pleasing in a “those were the days” sort of way.

I don’t mind being wrong (at least in this case). System of a Down pummeled.

The band maneuvered through its tunes’ intricacies with an energy and execution that was nothing short of mind blowing. Having distanced itself from the mainstream rock scene, SOAD isn’t selling a record or having to think about people in the audience there for the latest hit. So the 23-song, no-encore  set list just flowed through deep cuts (“Suggestions,” “Forest”) and ran right up to the tune that started it all, “Sugar,” which SOAD had sidestepped for a while almost afraid that it’s twitchy, theatrical delivery would cast the band as gimmicky. 
Serj Tankian (Sam McLennan photo)

Singer Serj Tankian, guitarist Daron Malakian, bassist Shavo Odadjian, and drummer John Dolmayan smashed together metal’s high-minded complexity with hardcore’s sinewy ferocity. Sure there were solos and dynamite guitar work by Malakian, but the troupe barreled through the material, clustering songs for fast, surgical strikes before taking the occasional break to come up for air.

The opening sequence “Prison Song” and “B.Y.O.B.” railed against two depressing scenarios_ jail and the military_ for those removed from privilege and power. The ideas still resonate, and made clear that the band’s social and political messages are as sadly relevant today as they were when first aired more than a decade ago.

But SOAD always puts a sarcastic, sardonic groove into its rants, mashing up Middle Eastern rhythms with Iommi-esque guitar flair for an end result that is pointed but not dour.
Shavo Odadjian (Sam McLennan photo)
Daron Malakian (Sam McLennan photo)

SOAD made nice diversions into “Holy Mountains” and “Psycho” amid the anticipated “Aerials,” “Chop Suey” and concert gem “Cigarao.” For inspired sequencing, there was no beating the dynamic shifts created when the spectral “Lonely Day” slammed into the fury of “Bounce” or by the one-two punch of “Suite-Pee” and “War?” off of the first album.
Chino Moreno (Sam McLennan photo)

Stephen Carpenter (Sam McLennan photo)

Deftones opened with a spot-on set that signaled good things to come in October when the band releases its next album. The one new song in the show featured singer Chino Moreno strumming a guitar while lead guitarist Stephen Carpenter warped a bluesy riff into a metallic groove.

Moreno was full of energy, injecting explosive bursts into the material as the tunes crashed around him.
Sergio Vega (Sam McLennan photo)
Chino Moreno (Sam McLennan photo)

Deftones picked through its catalog for a new-school opening of “Rocket Skates” and “Diamond Eyes” and drove to an old-school ending of “Root” and “7 Words.”

Both bands sounded resurgent, even as they played songs that reshaped heavy music many years ago. But the skill and delivery in both cases have clearly evolved, making these days as interesting as the good ol’ days for Deftones and System of a Down.

No comments:

Post a Comment