17 July 2023

Because there's been a lot of talk about concerts on my feed lately (thanks to Taylor's "Eras Tour" and Beyonce's "Renaissance Tour"), I felt like writing this long overdue post about seeing one of my favorite bands live. There are only a handful of artists that I have solemnly vowed to witness in the flesh, and Deftones is certainly on that list. I was lucky enough to be in the New England area when they started their 2022 tour with Gojira. Did I spend a little too much on the tickets? Maybe. Did I worry about contracting COVID-19? Heck yes. Was I hesitant about pushing through since I was watching alone? Absolutely not. I wasn't going to pass up the chance; I couldn't forgive myself if I did.

May 13, 2022. Agganis Arena, Boston. As I stood in the crowd, surrounded by the buzzing energy of fellow fans, I felt a surge of excitement course through me. A wave of electric elation that I haven't felt in a long time. (Fear was the next immediate feeling after excitement since I was, I think, the only one masked up within my area. But, oh well. In Pfizer I trusted.) At that point, even the thought of getting knocked down by the Big Bad Flu didn't scare me. I was seeing Deftones. I was finally seeing Deftones.

The venue was small, but the atmosphere was electric. The anticipation was palpable as the lights dimmed and the band took the stage. The raw intensity of their guitar riffs. The drums pound with a thunderous rhythm, rumbling and reverberating through my chest. The bass shredded through the air with incredible energy and emotion. All this coupled with the mesmerizing stage presence and vocals of Chino Moreno. It was a sight to behold. I had tears in my eyes for an hour and a half. 

There was a particular period in my life when I truly thought the only type of music that resonated with me was loud, rebellious, clamorous rock music. Limewire opened the gates for all the bands that spoke to the inexplicable rage inside teenage me. I kind of enjoyed having that dark little bubble of blind fury every time I played them on my iPod mini. I just wanted to grow up, be free, and become the version of myself that didn't have to succumb to the system. (Classic teenage angst, amirite? #eyerolls)

The funny thing, though, is that the older I got, the less angry I've gotten. Which isn't to say I'm not incredibly furious at what's happening in the world and that I'm not perpetually anxious about what lies ahead. I am. But I don't know what happened. Somewhere along the way, I've lost all the tools to be angry. I find myself lacking the tools to feel anger as I once did as a raging, hormonal teenager. It's something I never expected and certainly not something I'm happy about. In a strange way, I've developed a coping mechanism of brushing things off, which, I think, has resulted in me losing the ability to channel my anger in a healthy manner. I'm not quite sure how it happened, but I've realized that I've lost touch with that aspect of my emotions, and it's left me feeling somewhat unsettled. I've gotten so used to playing the charade, of abiding by the "rules," of wanting to not ruffle any feathers that I've just... completely forgotten how to get angry. Whereas other people need to control themselves when they're angry, I have to will myself to feel mad. At best, I just act passive-aggressively. At worst, I think about all the ways I could've dealt with a situation more easily if I had just been mad, then become even more frustrated with myself after. What is this? What happened to me? Maybe I need therapy. 

But in the meantime, I get all the anger I need from the rock and nu-metal bands I still listen to. One of them being Deftones. Their music has become a conduit for me to channel my anger and tap into emotions that I often avoid or struggle to express. Their songs are raw and visceral, delving into themes of confusion, rage, and misery with an intensity that resonates with me on a deep level. Through their music, I find myself confronting emotions that I might not otherwise allow myself to feel, and it's cathartic. It's as if their lyrics and melodies provide a safe space for me to explore the complexities of my own emotions, even the darker ones that I may shy away from in my daily life. When Chino belted out "Let's sail in this sea of charms, let's drown underneath the stars, let's drink with our weapons in our hands," in Rocket Skates, I sing along as if praying with every word. When he wailed, "I'd like to be taken apart from the inside then spit through the cycle right to the end," in Tempest, I scream with all my might. When he pleaded "Take me one more time, take me one more wave, take me for one last ride," in Sextape, I actually cried. 


It was such a meaningful experience for me, finally seeing one of my favorite bands live. A month and a half before that concert, Taylor Hawkins of the Foo Fighters, one of my favorite drummers, passed away all of a sudden. It left me in complete shock, and in a surprisingly intense kind of grief that I've only ever felt for another musician: Chris Cornell. It made me realize how much I actually value seeing my favorite artists perform live. It can be expensive, yes, sure. But their music accompanies me for about 80% of my life — background music for driving, working, doing chores, everything else in between — that the least I could do was give myself the opportunity to immerse myself in them live. To feel the goosebumps on my skin with every riff and every verse. To sing to every line. To jump to every refrain. To feel everything that they intended their audience to feel — and more. Because every line means something different to each one of us. I wanted to give myself that. And I did. I am so glad I did. 

I'm writing this post fifteen months late. But seeing as we're still very much in a time of emotional and mental anguish, I realized how important it is to look back on experiences in our life that felt spiritual. That made us connect with the divine and the sublime. It is good to be reminded about what it means to be alive. 

Especially after years of being locked up, closing ourselves off from the world, and confronting the harsh realities life has set up for us. 

"I watched a change in you, it's like you never had wings, now you feel so alive." 

Deftones has been my pressure valve, releasing the pent-up frustrations, confusions, and longings that simmer beneath the surface. So grateful to have bought tickets, so glad to have ignored the inner voice in my head that wanted to avoid big crowds, so happy to have given in. 

Tonight, I feel like more, they sang. And I did. 


long story short . Theme by STS.