By Friday afternoon at SXSW 2016, the wear and tear of a few nights well partied wore on the faces of most attendees. It was humid and hot, but that didn't stop hundreds from lining up for Deftones at SPIN Magazine's annual Austin bash at the famed Stubb's downtown.
Half an hour prior to their set, Vince Staples rocked through his own—he was great, but managed to make an aside of "I feel like I'm at a slave auction," remarking on the audience's unenthusiastic demeanor. That negativity dispersed the moment Chino Moreno and crew hit the stage, launching into a career-spanning set.
The Stubb's gig was the band's first set at SXSW, and came ahead of their upcoming album, Gore, which is their first full-length in four years. It hasn't been too long of a wait, but considering the group's consistency, it's enough to make everyone feel anxious with anticipation. In a live setting, that translated to a packed afternoon set, with fans and unfamiliar folk alike beaming with excitement.
A few songs into their set, Geto Boys rapper Bushwick Bill joined the California alt-metal icons. It began with a simple "When I say 'Def,' you say 'Tones,'" chant, later unraveling into a surprise guest verse. Perhaps most endearing was that all of this took place while Deftones played "Digital Bath" from 2000's White Pony. When they say certain things can only happen at SXSW, they mean it.
The entire set comprised of songs both new and old, each with the same level of response from the crowd. When you've been a band as long as Deftones have, you have a lot of material to parse through...it's interesting to see who screams the loudest for what albums. It appeared the diehard fans most enjoyed the White Pony throwbacks, whereas early 20-somethings were in it for the Saturday Night Wrist references.
"Doomed User," the latest Gore track, too, was met with much applause. The band's energy mirrored this—Moreno climbed into the crowd and jumped high on the stage, as everyone else threw their instruments around like they were one of the many young punk bands playing the festival. For them, and for that performance, it was a welcome respite of rock 'n' roll. In Texas, things are bigger…and at this Deftones performance, they were heavier.