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Review and photos: Deftones, Refused, Spotlights impress Boston, Asbury Park

Posted by on August 11, 2016

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If you were alive and listening to heavy music in the ’90s, you probably owned albums by Deftones (probably Around the Fur) and Refused (definitely The Shape of Punk to Come). While Refused broke up just after the release of that seminal 1998 album, Deftones soldiered on, despite the loss of bassist Chi Cheng, who died in 2013 after suffering injuries in a car accident five years prior. We all know what happened next. Deftones went on to release three albums with Quicksand bassist Sergio Vega, two while Cheng was still in a semi-vegetative state. Refused reunited in 2012 and released last year’s largely excellent Freedom. The two bands are currently on tour, with Brooklyn’s Spotlights opening, which you might have noticed from reading their exclusive Metal Insider tour diary (which you can read here, here and here). With such a superb tour, we attended both their Boston (8/9) and Asbury Park (8/10) shows, and have commentary and photos from Boston’s show from Nathan Katsiaficas and photos in Asbury from Melinda Oswandel.

 

Boston, MA, Blue Hills Bank Pavilion, 8/9

The first of these two nights at Blue Hills Bank Pavillion in Boston on August 9th saw an odd scenario. For those unfamiliar with the venue, it’s almost entirely seated, with no general admission pit area for the usual moshing and crowd surfing you would expect to see at a Deftones concert. It may have been the choice of venue that kept attendance from being quite as high as it could’ve and really should’ve been, though some two to three thousand fans turned out. The night started with a mellow set from openers Spotlights, who you may know of from the tour diaries they’ve been posting with us. They put on a great performance for the folks that had arrived early–unfortunately the start time of the show had been advertised online as 7:30 despite their opening set starting at 7.
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The venue had filled up much more by 8pm, when Swedish punk act Refused came on stage for a lively 45-minute set that at one point saw frontman Dennis Lyxzén–undeterred by the bolted-down seats–make his way into the crowd mid-performance. The frontman addressed the audience at length twice during the set–once regarding the upcoming election, and a second time, addressing the men in the audience about masculinity, violence and rape culture. At your standard metal show these topics might not be items for discussion, but I’d like to think that the crowd gathered on this night was a bit more open and receptive to his message.
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After a bit of a break to prep the stage, the lights dimmed and one by one,  the members of Deftones emerged, with frontman Chino Moreno arriving last as the band launched into “Kimdracula” from 2006’s Saturday Night Wrist. Moreno and his bandmates were flawless as they continued into newer tracks “Swerve City” and “Acid Hologram,” from 2012’s Koi No Yokan, and their latest release Gore respectively. Along with their tight performance, the production on this run is unreal, with a massive lighting rig and clouds of fog adding impressive visuals to accompany their soundscape. Their set went on to include hits and fan-favorites such as “Diamond Eyes,” “Rocket Skates,” “Change (In The House of Flies),” “My Own Summer (Shove It),” “Passenger,” “Digital Bath,” and more. With more than twenty songs to their set, Deftones are certainly giving fans their money’s worth this tour. Definitely worth checking it out if you can!
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Asbury Park, NJ Stone Pony Summer Stage, 8/10

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Asbury Park is arguably the most rock and roll town in New Jersey. Having given birth to Bruce Springsteen, venues like the Stone Pony and The Saint and the sadly-defunct Asbury Lanes has nurtured talent since. It’s also the beach of choice for rock and metal Jersey suburbanites. The Stone Pony Summer Stage, to the left of the legendary venue, has served as an outdoor concert venue for the likes of the early years of the Warped Tour, and more recently, the likes of O.A.R., Primus and Jane’s Addiction, to name a few from this year. With several bands playing inside the Pony to open things up, Spotlights took the stage early, at 6:15. The first show featuring Chris Enriquez on drums, the band played a tight half hour set that served as a great way to start off the evening for the slowly assembling crowd. While more were there for Refused, the venue was still about half full, with some not recognizing the importance and lineage of the band. They were offset by the superfans, yelling along to every word. Dennis Lyxzén again made his way into the crowd. At one point towards the end of their set, either a fan was thrown out by security guards or trying to sneak in, and Lyxzén pleaded with security to let him stay for the rest of their set. Deftones are professionals at this point. An amazing light show, a varied set list that didn’t differ that much from the previous evening’s set. Cramming 21 songs into a little over 90 minutes, the set ran the gamut, favoring Around the Fur and White Pony, but playing at least one song from each album.

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Refused

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Deftones

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