GIG REVIEW: Deftones, Karnivool & Voyager Live at The Riverstage, Brisbane
It’s always a privilege to watch to watch a show at the Riverstage. There’s just something about the expansive space that makes shows seem all that more momentous. Fittingly Brisbane’s Deftones show couldn’t have been held at any other place, especially with Karnivool and Voyager tow.
Beginning the night were Voyager, and boy did they deserve to be on that stage. Although they only had five songs, every single thing that they did was cultivated in such a way that made them worthy in very sense of the word holding that opening position. They were energetic, charismatic, and put on a performance that embodied everything that you would expect to see from a band on a big stage. I’m not sure if it’s because of the fact that they are based over the other side of Australia and people didn’t necessarily known about them, or if their early start time meant that people weren’t at the venue already, but I was a little underwhelmed at the crowd turnout, because their performance demanded more. It didn’t seem to bother the band, and even though the only had a five song set they owned every second of it. Definitely a band that everyone needs to watch at least once.
Karnivool were up next and I just felt like something didn’t really ‘click’ with their set. That’s not to say that they aren’t a brilliant band (as anyone that has heard Themata would know), but their performance in this situation didn’t engage me as much as I would have liked it to. While there was a massive crowd reaction down the front (with a massive swell flocking down following Voyager), I just found their set to be very lackluster and routine. The music was technically precise, but the energy on stage just came across like that of a band that was happy with making it to the stage. I have heard stories of how well Karnivool has played at smaller more intimate shows, but it just didn’t translate well to my experience on the larger stage. But with that being said the massive crowd that had gathered seemed to enjoy it, with a lot of chanting, singing and moving to the music, so that made their set a success for the night.
Now I haven’t had the opportunity to see the Deftones live before, and I must admit I didn’t completely know what I was getting myself into. I had always heard from their diehard fans that their live show was something to die for, and in a few aspects I can agree. But I’m not sure if it was the effects of the tireless touring that the band has been doing, or the humidity playing with them, but their set just seemed like it was missing that ‘edge’ that people have always told me about. Sure there was an abundance of energy from vocalist Chino Moreno and bassist Sergio Vega, but it seemed like the rest of the band just strolled through the motions.
In terms of the show, this was everything you could want to expect from the hard hitting alternative band, with their thundering drumming and bass line being extenuated by the venue, creating an absolute tremendous sound even from the back; and coupling that up with the samples and guitar that came over the top of it and you were left with a sound that was world class. This wasn’t all though, with perhaps one of the best lighting shows I have ever seen being put on for the show. This wasn’t a small scale show and they didn’t shy away from showing that fact with the production. This was where the Riverstage made the perfect backdrop as everything was picturesque enough to put on a show of this scale and actually have it look good – something many bands have tried, but few have succeeded with.
The setlist seemed pretty even across the discography and really hit the key songs that got the crowd moving – with energy blowing up particularly for Change, Knife Prty, and My Own Summer. Chino bringing up a young fan in the middle of the latter song to ask everybody how they were doing, before launching into his closing screams which nit only created a funny moment – but also showed the lighter side of the band.
Not being a normal fan of the alternative and progressive sounds of the night, I must admit that I had a better time than I initially anticipated – and barring only a few minor downsides this was a really successful night. Deftones definitely left the crowd that night I’m a state of awe and having two great Australian bands play support was really just the cherry on top for this show. Pulling a decent crowd to the Riverstage with a three band bill is tough to begin with, and on a Sunday night it’s damn near impossible, but they did and that’s what makes this a night that won’t be forgotten by many for a long time to come.