Better Than…flying across the country to see Deftones in sports arenas on the East Coast next month.

For a band whose lyrics are ridden with angst, Saturday night's Deftones show was filled with smiling faces, from the stage to the crowd.

The Troubadour is a far cry from the sports arenas the group will be playing next month with System Of A Down. But the cozy confines of this show led to one of the more communal atmospheres we've seen in a heavy music show.

Credit: Jason Roche

Credit: Jason Roche

The mosh pit rarely stopped moving throughout the night, but at no point was it ever on the verge of turning overly violent. Smiles were on the sweaty faces of everyone in the pit — though it was easy to smile when Deftones frontman Chino Moreno was doing the same thing.

From the moment he took the stage, Moreno commanded it with a poise and mastery that only comes from playing arenas and larger theaters for many years. Seeming to play directly to every single person in the room at some point, Moreno's strong energy fostered the communal atmosphere throughout the night. The sense of community was best displayed during the song “You've Seen The Butcher,” when he was passed a joint from the crowd and honored the “puff puff pass” code by giving it back after taking a toke.

The set list was filled with fan favorites from the band's entire career, focusing most heavily on the band's first three albums and 2010's return-to-form Diamond Eyes. The band likely realized that a show like this was going to be filled with the hardest of their hardcore fans, so their selection of songs was as all-killer/no filler as a Deftones set could be.

But the band has a new album coming out in October, so there was much buzz around the room that we would be graced with the presence of new music. The crowd was rewarded with two new songs, and if last night's reaction was any indication, the new album is going to go over very well.

The crowd responded especially well to the first public performance of “Roller Derby,” a heavy rocker that kept the pit moving and fit quite nicely alongside the Adrenaline-era tracks that preceded it. “Rosemary,” a spacey shoegaze number, served as a nice come-down bridge from the moshers, leading into “Change (In The House of Flies)” from their 2000 classic, White Pony.

The specter of bassist Chi Cheng's medical condition did hang over the set somewhat, with several chants of his name from the crowd throughout the show. Saturday night's show, however, was mostly filled with strong, positive vibes that seem likely to characterize the band's upcoming tour.

Credit: Jason Roche

Credit: Jason Roche

Personal Bias: I was perfectly fine with selections from 2006's Saturday Night Wrist being very minimal.

The Crowd: A healthy mix of people in their mid-20s to mid-30s that seem to have gotten through the angriest parts of their youth and have exorcised a lot of demons by listening to Deftones's music.

Notebook Dump: Ninety minutes before doors, and already getting hit up by over a dozen fans looking to score tickets. I hope they all managed to find a way in for this one.

Set list below.

1. Rocket Skates

2. Diamond Eyes

3. My Own Summer (Shove It)

4. Lhabia

5. Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away)

6. Feiticeira

7. Digital Bath

8. Elite

9. Royal

10. You've Seen The Butcher

11. Hole in the Earth

12. Bloody Cape

13. Minerva

14. Fireal

15. Engine No. 9

16. Roller Derby (New Song #1)

17. Rosemary (New Song #2)

18. Change (In The House Of Flies)

19. Root

20. 7 Words

Everything You Wanted to Know About Metal but Were Afraid to Ask

Top Ten Metal Albums for People Who Don't Know Shit About Metal

Top Ten Los Angeles Metal Albums of 2011

Top Ten Metal Frontmen (and Women) Under 30

The Five Slowest Metal Bands

Behemoth Frontman: Metal and Christianity Are Incompatible

Top 20 Worst Bands of All Time: The Complete List

Top 20 Musicians of All Time, in Any Genre: The Complete List

Follow us on Twitter @LAWeeklyMusic, and like us at LAWeeklyMusic.

Advertising disclosure: We may receive compensation for some of the links in our stories. Thank you for supporting LA Weekly and our advertisers.

LA Weekly