Consider us lucky for once.
Sometimes it can be hard being a live-music fan in Columbus, Ohio. Many a great tour passes us by - I get the history, but Cincinnati and Cleveland are both shrinking while our growth has seemingly gone unnoticed by some bookers. We've had some painful cancellations in recent years (e.g. The Replacements, Father John Misty, Tricky) that haven't been rescheduled.
But when the show that went down on Tuesday night at the LC Pavilion (outdoors, better still) was announced, I felt the concert gods had finally smiled on Columbus.
Columbus' lack of a tin box outdoor amphitheater since the closure of Polaris/Germain has cost us a few enviable shows, but this time it brought us all the openers on the current summer tour headlined by Incubus, minus the headliner.
It was, essentially, as though Columbus got to see Deftones, Death From Above 1979 and The Bots, and everyone in attendance got paid $65 to not see Incubus (the relative price difference from the best tickets on that tour). Don't get me wrong. I think Incubus is an unfair whipping boy who just got saddled with the price of having a ballad-y hit or three ("S.C.I.E.N.C.E" is still a great album). But Columbus got the goods, and more of 'em.
I was stuck at the office long enough to miss almost all of The Bots' set. I caught enough to know for sure that was a mistake. I hope they come back soon.
But I was as excited for Toronto's Death From Above 1979, the gloriously noisy and pulverizing two-piece that disbanded after their 2005 album, making me sad enough to seriously contemplate the logistics of traveling to Coachella a couple of years ago for what I thought would be one of their only reunion shows. Fortunately they're back full-force, have a new album and were everything I hoped they'd be (if the crowd was a bit less aware of what they were witnessing). I heard from a friend they played all of four songs at their recent Incubus opener at Riverbend in Cincinnati. That would have made me cry. We got 12 songs. We are blessed.
"I want to apologize in advance," said Phil Cogley of the one-man Columbus musical project The Saturday Giant before the Deftones set. "I love you all, but I'm going to kill someone when this band goes on."
The love and aggression was well-placed. Deftones had been playing a tidy, career-spanning hourlong set on the Incubus tour, but they came out with a left hook in "My Own Summer (Shove It)" from their second LP, Around the Fur, establishing that they were going off-script. When they followed that up with that album's second track "Lhabia," a friend theorized that we might be getting the album in full (a trend I fully support). That would have been cool, but it was not to be.
Instead an enthused nearly sold-out crowd got sweaty to an hour and 40 minutes spanning the career of a band that managed to make its early "nu-metal" label seem pretty inconsequential and silly in retrospect. The band has remained largely intact since its founding in 1988, with the exception of founding bassist Chi Cheng, who spent five years in a coma following a car accident before his death in 2013. His eventual replacement was an incredibly great fit for the band, the superlative Sergio Vega (formerly of Quicksand).
Lead singer Chino Moreno may not throw his body around with the abandon of youth, but his energy and his vocals are none the worse for the wear. And the extended setlist lead to some treats not in the current rotation - most notably Chino going solo on "Passenger," the Maynard Keenan duet from the band's seminal album The White Pony and the early single "Bored" from the band's first album.
For one shining, humid night, Columbus won the concert lottery.