CONCERT REVIEW: Deftones – Gojira Live at Michigan Lottery Amphitheater


It was a perfect spring evening last Tuesday in Sterling Heights when Alternative Metal giants Deftones brought their tour to town. The sun was shining, and the birds were singing when a line of traffic started to form outside the Michigan Lottery Amphitheater. Cars were bumper to bumper as they tried to squeeze their way into the sold-out show at this Detroit suburb open-air venue. The opening act of the tour, VOWWS, could not make the gig so the second band on the roster, the mighty Gojira opened up the night.

Swarms of people were still piling into the unique music space when the extreme French metallers struck their first cord. Many reviews online gloat that this venue is a perfect place to catch a show. It does have an up-close experience and picturesque setting, yet due to the staff’s incompetence, unprofessionalism, and lack of organization led to many fans missing at least the first half of Gojira’s set. Many were relieved when the band announced they would be playing more songs than usual. Soon the park was filled to the brim with adoring supporters soaking in the extraordinary experience that is a Gojira show. The band released their seventh full-length album Fortitude (Roadrunner Records) a year ago and played a handful of songs off of it. ‘Hold On’, ‘Grind’ and ‘Amazonia’ were all hits with the crowd. The park rang with voices because many knew the lyrics to each number. The sun was glimmering gold as it began to set and Gojira managed to outshine it. Their authentic ferocity in presentation and sound leaves one in awe. The mass of people stood entranced as these capable chaps banged out their popular hits like ‘Flying Whales’ and ‘L’enfant Sauvage’. To witness the technical ability from each player was a rare delicacy of pure delight. It was easy to get lost in the variance of their intense tones and flavorful riffs provided by guest guitarist Aldrick Guadagnino and frontman Joe Duplantier. There was a heated fervor that bubbled up as they played and soon a fire of energy and passion enveloped the enamored crowd. Mario Duplantier‘s finesse on the drums thoughtfully thundered and led the march to the band’s calculated heaviness. Even though they extended their time on stage, the set seemed to be over in a blink of an eye. They closed out their time with the powerfully profound piece, ‘The Gift of Guilt’. Their strings sang, chugged, and crunched. Duplantier wailed and bellowed with his all-powerful vocals and captured many hearts. The band thanked the Detroiters for the warm welcome and took their final bows to the chorus of thousands shouting and applauding appreciatively.

The sun set and as the stars started to sparkle, the headliners took their turn on the stage. Deftones immediately unleashed their fury and fire upon the enthused thousands. They began with their popular piece, ‘Genesis’ off of their latest record, Ohms (Reprise Records). It only took a few moments for the band to blossom into their ardent alternative sound. Everyone was transported back to the 90’s when they played ‘Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away)’ and ‘My Own summer (Shove It)’ back to back. The band dug around in their discography and pulled out a lot of the fan favorites. Their range of heavy harshness to experimentally creamy and dreamy enraptured their attentive audience. Stephen Carpenter’s guitar work indulged the senses with his ability to be so supple, sweet, and substantial all at the same time. The crowd roared on the band’s heavy piece, ‘Bloody Cape’ and many flailing limbs were seen gliding over the crowd as enthusiasts were crowd surfing. The lightshow and media projected during the band’s set enhanced the colorful performance. The groovy and dynamic movements in their varied sound was heightened by the strobes and LEDs. Chino Moreno conquered and commanded the entire venue by using every inch of it. The man was constantly moving as he bounded from one corner of the stage to the other. His agility and earnestness reflected the high energy of the whole band. When the lights dimmed, the man would smile, and his white teeth stood out as he joyfully engaged with his devotees. The genuine pleasure of each player was felt. Those in attendance had the pleasure of witnessing the band’s meshing of genres which they have been doing for over two decades. The way they played made it seem like they will not be slowing down anytime soon. The night ended with their potent song, ‘7 Words’ off their classic album Adrenaline (Maverick). It was a perfect way to wrap up an intense evening of robust riffs, lively lights, and spine-tingling talent. Even with the traffic jams, poor treatment of the press, and very disrespectful staff, it was all worth it. The show was a success and became a cherished memory by everyone who attended.