Love at first sight transcends the typical meaning.
The phrase isn’t limited alone to what is depicted in rom-com films, or even in more cinematic aspects.
You can fall in love with your soul mate, that instant connection where you know without a doubt, that this person is the other part of your heart.
You can fall in love with a feeling, though not as strong perhaps, is just as equally powerful; a mesh of addiction alongside care.
And you can fall in love with an experience. With the inexplicable, transcending words, resulting in a “you need to feel it to understand it”.
A kiss, an embrace; a poem or track. These are one of the most sacred, and revered forms of love, as it isn’t love just yet, but the feeling you will be.
This feeling can best be translated in Japanese to “Koi no yokan”, or a “premonition of love”.
This is the title of the Deftones seventh studio album, and the precursor of their latest, “Gore”.
This also perfectly describes the band themselves; one night, one chance, and you know, this is a band you’ll be listening to for the rest of your life.
The five piece, composed of Chino Morenov (lead vocals/guitar), Stephen Carpenter (lead guitarist), Abe Cunningham (drums), Sergio Vega (bass) and Frank Delgado (keys/programming), made their grand return to the area at the Pompano Beach Amphitheater; both remodeled & beautiful, resembling a smaller Monopoly token version of the Pan-Pacific Auditorium in Los Angeles, the venue may be the most intimate that the group have played in South Florida; their previous headline show taking place at the Fillmore Miami Beach, surpassing fire marshall capacity, as fans hopped the patio gate to get in when security wasn’t looking.
This resulted in a beyond electrical show, with a beautiful ocean of fans packed tight in GA, and flooding into the walkways of the interior.
As magnificent as the Fillmore is, Pompano Beach Amphitheater presents it’s own unique intimacy as there is no such thing as a bad seat in the venue itself.
Housing perhaps half of the Fillmore’s max capacity, the sloped seats fix the far and away feel of West Palm’s Perfect Vodka Amphitheater, as well as eliminate the traffic met in further Miami staple, Bayfront Park.
This is what an outdoor venue should feel like, despite it’s almost out of place demeanor inside a school district.
The magic was put to the test with powerful opening act, Code Orange.
In addition to being one of greatest touring acts, the Deftones have a long running success with choosing amazing openers, helping new sounds as well as using it as a reflection of some of the band’s vast and wide influences.
Code Orange greatly represent the act’s hard rock nature, going deep into their origins and tapping into the hard to walk line of hardcore/metal.
One of the most difficult things of being in a hardcore band, is the level of showmanship and above all, quality, you’re required to have to stand above the rest, as instruments and pure energy are the driving forces of the genre. Code Orange thrive in this aspect, the bassist marching up and down the stage as a sort of hype man, getting people out of their seats as the drone in between songs harnessed the dramatic tension of the unexpected and sending it soaring sky-high.
Your respect for the band only grows more when you take into account that the members are all under 25 years old, playing with a professionalism well above their years. As well as showing star talent, seen especially in guitarist Reba Meyers. Playing like a female Scott Ian of Anthrax and giving beyond amazing representation to a genre that is, sadly all too often, devoid of female talent.
Possessing a static electricity all their own, they drew audience members to the front of the barrier, where a small group headbanged to the tenacity the band so perfectly execute.
It’s in this one trait however, that the Amphitheatre feels constrained.
The small 7 foot gap in between the front row and stage is extremely wide but small, sacrificing the GA mosh experience for intimacy, and the restraint was near painful as security (some of the kindest I’ve ever seen), were forced to escort people out of the area (a fact which wouldn’t hold into the night).
Code Orange are still getting their sea legs, but the group are amassing an extreme potential, with the fire being the opportunity that you get to see it grow; and one to definitely keep lit.
As the act exited the stage and the pre-show music began to play, you begin to glimpse into just how wide a range of influences the band draw from. Going from a Palms-esque track, Rick Ross, and dance, one of the act’s greatest assets lay in the fact they are unafraid to step out of the comfort zone.
This is a band as inspired by Metallica as they are Depeche Mode, or NWA. The inspiration is both cinematic as it is freeing and one that as a listener, is truly magnificent.
And as the lights came down and the crowd stood up, this contagious freedom carried over in epic proportions, the band wasted no time, rewarding patience with “Rocket Skates”.
Nor did the audience, as the space between seats and barrier became non-existent, packing to the max as Moreno came directly up to the crowd, high-fiving fans and singing to eye level.
Keeping the hurricane of energy going, the band transitioned into “My Own Summer (Shove It)” & crowd favorite “Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away)”, with both Vega and Moreno jumping across the stage.
One of the greatest aspects of the Deftones, is that there’s no ego. No level of superstar persona, or alter egos. What you see is what you get with the group.
Moreno, shy, polite & collective spark of electricity, who interacts with the crowd with beautiful honesty; Vega, possessing an amazing level of gratitude and happiness, a smile always on the bassist’s face; Delgado, the quiet sentinel of the band, keeping rhythm & programming that without, would be missing an elemental piece of magic; Carpenter, a simultaneous Buddha and wizard of sorts, speaking his mind both in person and in instrument, and Cunningham, the beyond amazing and vastly underrated drummer, able to brilliantly balance the band’s many stretches without fail, such as on the slow and building “Rosemary”, and it’s counterpart in cinematic and passionate “Diamond Eyes”, as well as new and charging track, “Rubicon”.
The unabashed truth shared with the band, along with their immense appreciation for the fans, is one of the many elements that separate them from the rest, giving no quarter to the often menacing metal barrier, an element showed later in the night on “Around The Fur”, as the song climaxed into Moreno crowdsurfing, the trust in the audience perfect as they flipped him back onto the stage.
The group’s best weapon is emotion. Every album, a different capsule and moment of time. From their “Adrenaline” debut and now, with latest album “Gore”, there hasn’t been a “bad” Deftones record; a statement which a very select few can ever say.
Every album is a new chapter, penned in the ink of that age, with every song a testament to everything the band has gone through (including the deeply saddening and personal loss of founding member, Chi Cheng, who passed in 2013 after being in a semi-conscious state following injuries from a car accident in 2008).
They’ve let their heart guide them, exploring every facet of human emotion, from sadness, to heartbreak, anger, joy and love overcoming.
Amongst these feelings, the one most often looked over in the power of Deftones intensity is the level of sensuality on tracks.
From “Digital Bath” “What Happened To You?” and even darkly beautiful “You’ve Seen The Butcher” both in feel and lyrics, listening to Deftones is akin to auditory love making, moving slow and steady before climaxing to stellar proportion, caressing you with every note.
This is what makes the band so hard to define, as aside from acts like Sade who thrive on this element, there really isn’t another band who can do it.
Combine this with the group’s already amazing build-ups and turning to see fans, eyes closed and singing the lyrics back, it’s as intimate as watching lovers, and sacred as a prayer, as demonstrated in “Change”.
Deftones’ sanctuary continued in magnificent display, as Carpenter took a slow, ominous tone to his guitar, introducing encore “Root”, which also saw Moreno changing into in a beige Morrissey tee.
The audience, sensing this was the end, wasted no time in expressing their Thanks and doing the impossible by taking the aforementioned 7 feet tall space and turning it into an all out mosh pit, ricocheting off the chairs as Moreno danced and jumped along.
The smile-inducing moment was made even more beautiful as you observed the audience looking out for another, as a girl dropped her phone and members of the pit covered her as she reached down for it, pushing against the mass of people so she wouldn’t get hurt.
This kindness is one of the many amazing aspects that make up the fan base, and even more touchingly, emanated from the band themselves.
As a brief Meek Mill cover introduced “Engine No. 9”, marking the final song of the 19 track set list, you take in all these elements; the amazing crowd participation, a roaring mosh pit and the group giving it everything they had (despite apparently one of the members not feeling too well, which didn’t show in the slightest), and feel this is how a concert should be.
This inexplicable freedom, elation and euphoria, that leaves a smile on your face, and having you feel the urge to run up the stairs venue stairs and do your best Judd Nelson fist pump.
This is a premonition of love. And every moment spent at a Deftones concert, is the moment you know what love feels like.
Koi no Yokan, indeed.