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Keri's Story: Deftones @ Ryman Auditorium on 5/11/2016

Keri gets taken to church at a high energy Deftones show in Nashville.

The merch line is daunting, but there’s a gorgeous Deftones Nashville tour date poster, so Kate and I get in line.

It’s chaotic. Everyone is either trying to keep their place in line or make their way to the small bar behind the line, all while not spilling their drinks. I’m kind of rocking side to side as I let people through from all directions, which is really just keeping my spot in line open as a crossroads and inviting more traffic. About halfway through the line, we hear from an annoyed murmur the devastating news: the poster has sold out.

A quick look to the merch table confirms that even the floor model poster is gone. Kate and I weigh our options and decide to stay and see about a new shirt or a hoodie. I’m mentally willing my size to be available, in pretty much anything, when the house lights dim for the 5-minute warning. There’s some anxious groaning and shifting and the line moves forward. “I think we’re going to make it,” says the guy behind me. I turn, nodding, not sure if I’m telling him or myself “We’re definitely going to make it.”

Kate and I end up with matching baby blue Deftones sweatshirts, just in time for summer in the South. Our collection of matching show merch is considerable, except that I’m the sole owner of a red Glassjaw hoodie now, hers having perished in a tragic laundromat accident. I throw in a Deftones koozie for good measure and now wish I’d gotten a tallboy instead of a draft.

We hustle to our seats (or, at the Ryman, our pews). We actually have seats two pews apart in the same section but the usher only reads one of our tickets and leads us to one pew and so we squeeze in even though there’s not enough room but there’s not time to figure it out because the lights go down and the opening to Hearts/Wires plays over the speakers.



Deftones released their eighth record, a beautiful journey called Gore, just a month ago, so the crowd is electrified with new material. Deftones takes the stage and singer Chino Moreno is dressy tonight, with a black button down shirt and black pants; quite a change from the sweaty, paper-thin Morrissey T-shirt and filthy light colored jeans he wore for seemingly every show on the last tour in 2015. They slam into Rocket Skates and the pews are all that’s holding us back from lurching forward, screaming the chorus: “Guns, Razors, Knives!” as Chino screeches back at us.  

Chino is animated, hip-swervy and swaggering, sweating and screaming, dropping jazz hands, throwing guitars and microphones with sound issues, body-checking sound techs. His hair is bleached circa 1996. Everyone around us is screaming along; off-key and and half wasted. This scene never gets old.

When I hear the drums open Around the Fur, I’m immediately taken back to the first time I heard it live, which, according to my ticket stub collection, was July 12, 2000 (with Glassjaw!). Like countless shows, it was in New York City at Roseland Ballroom, with my long-time friend Vinny, who became my concert partner for years. Roseland Ballroom closed in 2014 and was demolished in 2015, and this is the second time I’m seeing Deftones since Vinny died last year. There’s a twinge of bittersweet nostalgia.

When they close the set with Rubicon, I’m a bit surprised that we only got two tracks from Gore. In my experience, encores are almost always reserved for tracks from Deftone’s debut record, Adrenaline. I’m glad the pews are nailed down when they return to the stage and grind into 7 Words and then Engine Number 9 (mashup with Cypress Hill’s How I Could Just Kill A Man); Chino swagger-slamming around the stage and finally knocking Sergio Vega and his bass to the ground. Kate and I break out laughing when we realize Chino is back in the sheer, onion-skin Morrissey shirt from last tour.

The lights come up and we make our way to the street, with that sweet, familiar decibel buzz in our ears.



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