Name change. First Midwest Bank Amphitheater became Hollywood Casino Amphitheater this month. Prior to that, it was the Tweeter, or World Music Theater. You could tell the age of someone by what they called it. It’s similar throughout Chicagoland; U.S. Cellular vs Comiskey, Willis vs Sears, Macy’s vs Marshall Field’s. Regardless, surely everyone Thursday night be it first timers or seasoned veterans still couldn’t remember where they parked their car after the sun set on Tinley Park. None of it mattered per say as two of the leading alternative groups of the past two decades joined forces for one of the most highly anticipated summer tours.
Deftones have been around in some form since 1988, with Adrenaline emerging in 1995. Think on that. Over twenty years. Compare them to the multitude of artists that have come and gone, then those who have stayed but have been delegated to the county fair circuit. Diamond Eyes, a mere five years old, and Koi No Yokan didn’t dust off the band, but saw them shed skin into a continual renewal of their sound. Sure, nu-metal has drifted far these days due to evolutions of sound, but their music shows no signs slowing down. With the hints of new music (Chino’s “The Cricket” sound clips Thursday night) on the horizon, the group has momentum relentlessly in their favor.
The set was heavily in favor of the middle of the discography. Saturday Night Wrist was surprisingly absent aside from “Beware.” One would have expected at least “Hole in the Earth,” or-given how well along the two groups get-“Mein.” (Brandon could have filled in the guest vocals here so very well if they had. “Needles and Pins” and “Bloody Cape” set the stage right in for “Minerva.” The single ratcheted their set into higher gear, leaving “You’ve Seen the Butcher” to echo well beyond the amphitheater. Those who may have came for Incubus might have been confused by the lineup choice, inserting a slugging, chugging number for those wanting Incubus sing-alongs, yet there was nothing more satisfying for people like me who grew with their heaviness. “Sextape” provided the release and reprieve before the one-two of “Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away)” and “My Own Summer (Shove It)” knocked the amphitheater back deep into the hillside.
Chino Moreno definitively has reshaped the landscape of music in the past decades, a throne confirmed as Deftones ended their set beginning with the classic “Change (In the House of Flies).” Released just as Slipknot was taking off on the heels of Soulfly and Snot, it inserted melodies that had yet to be the cornerstone of heavier tracks. And if you weren’t around at the time or forgot, ending with “Headup” and “Engine No. 9” made sure you were brought back to that period. Familiar yet unyielding, Deftones showed Chicagoland that they’re ceaselessly barreling forward regardless of if it it was 1995 or 2015.
Compare Make Yourself to White Pony and back in the day, there seemed to be little in common between the two other than being from northern California. Time did indeed tell and now Incubus shares, with Deftones, the rare ability to last and stay consistent. Incubus chose to avoid touching much of the truly early material, only going back with “Vitamin” from the breakout S.C.I.E.N.C.E., yet pleased the massive crowd with an abundance from Make Yourself. Even the visuals were dominantly geometric, calling forth the first time you opened and looked through the liner notes of the compact disc.
The short thirty minute break burst outwards with set openers “Nice to Know You” and “Anna Molly.” The group has had hit after hit through the years, yet started to treat the crowd to three tracks off the new Trust Fall (Side A) EP Thursday evening. With the sun finally set, “Absolution Calling” was far more psychedelic live than expected. It has a vigor unlike what was recorded, as if it was relieved to be set free from your headphones. “Are You In?” had thousands lifted above the humidity into the summer night sky.
The rest of the night was highlighted by “In the Company of Wolves,” subduing the singles to stretch Incubus beyond the expected (demon mask included). “A Kiss to Send Us Off” with its wonderful, red and orange geometric visuals. Then the rapid fire trio of “Wish You Were Here,” “If Not Now, When?” then “Pardon Me.”
The evening came to a close with “Drive” and “The Warmth” and Brandon singing through, “Don’t let the world bring you down” even if Deftones attached iron weights to your ankles a couple hours earlier with their heavy, masterful alternative metal. The uplifting ending closed one of the best concerts of the season proving that music remains timeless. And that’s the best part of Incubus and Deftones.