Will Williams

15:24 23rd September 2003

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Given the Deftones' reputation for experimentation, and their penchant for more delicate, subtle musical avenues (their favourite bands include The Smiths, The Cure and Mogwai), their choice of support acts comes as something of an unpleasant surprise. Local three-piece Amplifier got this slot as a competition prize, but their uneventful shoegazing soft metal feels more like a wooden spoon. Competent performance and politely enthusiastic reception aside, what the Smashing Pumpkins might have sounded like without Billy Corgan (or any tunes) is just too bad to contemplate.

Even worse are InMe, the British Silverchair. There aren't even words to describe the pointlessness of this snoresome product of over-hype. Tired, turgid and completely dispensable epic grunge is not the way to win this crowd over, regardless of Dave McPhereson's admittedly impressive pretty boy cheekbones. But that's just it. Dave. Dave! There's a guy coming onstage called Chino in a bit and you're called fucking Dave? It just kind of underlines how boring InMe really are. So much so that this hack is offended.

Speaking of lightweights, ever noticed how much skinnier British metal bands seem to be? As the very weighty Deftones eventually emerge on stage, it's plain to see that, pound for pound, Americans are currently doing it better. The soaring operatics of Feiticeira lead the charge, with crowd-participation number 'My Own Summer (Shove It)' and the sheer immenseness of 'Headup' amongst the highlights. Performance-wise, the only real disappointment is latest single 'Minerva' falling slightly flat. But no biggie.

Chino Moreno throws himself around the stage like a man in desparate pain, the anguished fury of his deeply poetic lyrics being extremely convincingly conveyed. Clearly appreciative, the crowd begin to chant "CHINO! CHINO!" (Are you reading this, InMe?), and the band's previously undetected sense of humour even surfaces as they begin to play the riff to 'Seven Nation Army' by The White Stripes, and drop the chorus to Gorillaz' 'Clint Eastwood' into old favourite 'Bored'. But a disappointing total of three songs from their excellent new album, coupled with an overlong set, means that, live at least, the Deftones are failing to meet their exceptionally high standards. Later, they trundle back onstage for an encore without any slight hint of a request from the by-now-weary audience, as though it's just what you're meant to do. This not only insults the fans and the whole point of an encore, it also displays a band merely going through the motions. Let's hope they regain their enthusiasm, because at their explosive best, they're one of the best bands on the planet. Tonight, however, they're something of a damp squib. And they didn't play 'Knife Prty' either, the bastards.

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