LIVE: Deftones / Black Peaks @ SSE Arena, Wembley

By Ben Tipple

Even before the Sacramento behemoths take to the vast Wembley Arena stage for their rescheduled date, having initially postponed around last year’s tragic Paris events, Brighton’s Black Peaks are giving them a run for their money. Their unchartered sound is built for rooms of this size, as vocalist Will Gardner’s shrieks resonate with a force unmatched on their recent triumphant headline UK tour.

Not content with defying convention with their gargantuan sound, the relative newcomers are beautifully at ease in the potentially overwhelming environment, displaying a confidence well beyond their years. The power of ‘Say You Will’ stops the increasingly captivated crowd in their tracks, making way for set closer ‘Saviour’ to convert any remaining doubters. With around twelve-thousand pairs of ears and eyes pointed their way, Black Peaks will have undoubtedly picked up a dedicated wave of new followers.

There are still lessons to be learned though, and Deftones are ready to bring Black Peaks back to school (pun definitely intended). Although, unsurprisingly, that track fails to make an appearance on tonight’s setlist, the five-piece – led by a bleach-blonde haired Chino Moreno – storm through an eclectic selection from their broad catalogue. Early appearances by ‘My Own Summer’ and ‘Be Quiet and Drive’ sit against ‘Gore’ tracks with an unavoidable discordance, yet one that provides a brilliant snapshot of Deftones’ evolution.

Songs are mostly bundled together by album with the new tracks marking the mid-point (‘Prayers/Triangle’) and end (‘Rubicon’) of the main set. It’s as much a celebration of their history as it is a statement of intent; despite their rich past, Deftones will continue to move forward. Perhaps quite deliberately, tonight is not a greatest hits set.

The production is minimal, a single screen projecting visualisations linked to the current track’s mood. Instead the focus is on the performance, as Moreno’s on-point vocals compliment instrumental mastery. The set ebbs and flows with the harshness of the tracks, the band pulling back for the atmospheric moments before exploding with an unparalleled force. The encore of ‘Root’ and ‘Engine No. 9’ – both from ‘Adrenaline’ – are the heaviest of the evening, a fitting summary of both Deftones’ retrospection and their continued innovation.