Deftones International Centre, Mississauga ON, August 13

Deftones International Centre, Mississauga ON, August 13
Photo: Geoff Fitzgerald
A little over one calendar year removed from Deftones' last trip to the provincial capital, the billing this time around was as it should have been the last — with the Sacramento, California metal outfit headlining the evening. What's more, the band's Saturday night (August 13) appearance in the cavernous hangar that is the International Centre marked the band's first Canadian tour date with their latest LP, Gore in tow. However, showcasing all that the new material has to offer didn't end up being high on the list of priorities.
Playing the ambient intro of "Hearts/Wires" through the venue sound system only served to welcome the band to the stage, who wasted no time launching into the aggressive "Rocket Skates" from 2010's Diamond Eyes. Frontman Chino Moreno energetically led the crowd through the song's violent chorus section of "Guns, razors, knives," though many seemed content to only nod their heads, locked into the forceful groove.
Only two tracks from Gore were featured in the set's early going: "Acid Hologram," in which the vocal harmonies between Moreno and bassist Sergio Vega were lost in a muddled live mix, and the title track itself, its world-beater of a chorus riff not as fierce without studio multi-tracking. Moreno smartly and safely chose not to drive his voice to its breaking point as he does on record.
"It's a Saturday, let's get loose!" the vocalist declared, urging the crowd to bounce as the opening riff of "Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away)" kicked into gear. Finally roused from whatever slumber the transit trip to Mississauga had put them in, they happily obliged. Moreno's onstage energy was contagious; he hopped down to the guardrail a handful of times to sing into the crowd, busted a two-step on top of the monitors and was rarely seen without a smile on his face provided he wasn't doubled over, howling away into the mic.
The many musical layers Deftones work with, whether ambient or instrumental, can prove to be a tough mix live, as the crowd found out early on. When all sonics sat equal with one another for "Rosemary," the result was astounding. Even within the large hangar, the wash of keyboard pads fell perfectly and unobtrusively amongst Moreno's echo-laced guitar leads and vocals, guitarist Stephen Carpenter's burly extended range riffing making an entrance soon after.
With the sound issues remedied, the rest of the set featured standouts from the band's most acclaimed records, from "Digital Bath" to "Swerve City" to a roaring performance of "Passenger" that saw Moreno handle the song's powerful chorus section (normally sung by Tool lead man Maynard James Keenan) while swinging the mic cord with abandon.
He wasn't done there, though. The stage lights dimmed, first leading to Carpenter and Vega trading some growling riffs to signal an encore. Drawing heavily from Around the Fur, which turns 20 next year, the band blasted through "My Own Summer (Shove It)," "Headup" and "Rickets," Moreno screeching into the mic from atop Vega's imposing stack of bass cabs. They even looked back as far as Adrenaline in closing with "Bored."
Though their latest work wasn't featured prominently, no one was unsatisfied with the career-spanning look at all Deftones' successes before it.