I have yet to get a decent night’s sleep and have yet to find the time to unpack from Chicago. It seems like everyone who played Riot Fest is now on the tour circuit through Minneapolis. Sure, I saw all of these bands over the weekend but, as I said in my last post, everything is different when you see a band in a smaller venue versus a giant outdoor festival. That’s why I just couldn’t pass up the chance to catch Dead Cross Tuesday night at First Avenue.
The night started with the mind blowing Secret Chiefs 3. I have to be honest, I had never heard of these guys prior to the show last night and honestly didn’t even know there was another band on the bill but as soon as I walked in and was greeted by their sound, I was more than okay with everything. This avant-garde group has actually been around since 1995 and has had a slew of superstar members over the years. They are currently led by Trey Spruance formerly of Mr. Bungles and Faith No More. Although he seems to be the mastermind of the project, there really is no front man or “main member”. All of the members on stage brought something special to the group and had multiple chances to shine.
As soon as I had claimed my spot, I started to think about what I could say about this group. My photographer spotted me and came over to throw a jab. “Good luck trying to classify these guys!” he joked. I laughed with him but, on the inside, I was freaking out over how to describe the music. Here’s my best attempt: They are a psychedelic metal band with punk tendencies highlighted by Persian scales. At times their music comes off as electronic but at other times it has a very surf rock sound with a heavy use of the wah pedal. Confused yet? Yeah, you should be. There’s seriously no way to classify this group into one genre. It was so many different genres that shouldn’t sound good together that somehow sounded great and it completely blew my mind.
The pure musicianship on stage was enough to have your jaw on the ground. The drummer was absolutely a freak of nature. He was playing some of the most complicated rhythms I had ever heard but made it look like it was just second nature to him. Although my eyes were on him majority of the time, it was hard to not focus in on the other members of the group who were all dressed in black cloaks. Each of them had a sense of concentration that was show stopping in itself. I see bands all the time but don’t always get to see musicians. Last night was truly a musician’s show and, even though I’m a bit showed out right now, it was more than enough to keep my mind off of my exhaustion levels and a smile on my face.
As I was trying to recover from getting my mind blown by SC3, Dead Cross took over the stage and started their set with a powerful punch that seemed to help the full audience shake off the shock of seeing SC3 live. Dead Cross is a super group. No other way to put it. With guitarist Mike Crain (of Retox), bassist Justin Pearson (of The Locust, Head Wound City, and Retox), drummer Dave Lombardo (of Suicidal Tendencies, Misfits, Slayer and more), and vocalist Mike Patton (of Faith No More, Tomahawk and more) you truly have a great mix of some of the best in the metal scene. Dead Cross’s music seems to perfectly reflect all of the bands that the members come from. Their music is a blend of hardcore punk and heavy metal with some trash tendencies.
Mike Patton had a way of getting the crowd going. His intensity alone was jaw dropping and his energy was electric. Even with a sense of aggression as he screamed his way through the set, when he addressed the crowd there was a sense of love he had for the fans. He joked with multiple people in the audience as he picked them out and gave a couple of good jabs at them. His personality shined during those moments of humor and truly humanized this larger than life musician. The other members let Mike take the spotlight between songs but, when the music started, it was hard to focus on any one member. Each of them had a personality that could be seen through the way they were playing the music and it was hard to catch everything that was going on.
The intensity of the crowd matched the intensity of the seasoned musicians on stage. The older crowd pushed and shoved their way through the short forty-five minute set all the while screaming along to the lyrics. Having only been a band for two years now, and with only one studio album, it seems as if Dead Cross has already turned into a legendary band. That’s really no shock when you figure out who the members of the group are but, just because of who are doesn’t necessarily give you slide into stardom. Dead Cross truly blurs the lines between genres and brings something to the table that other metal and punk bands just don’t have. Their unique sound is something that, like the member’s other projects, is sure to stand the test of time.
Should I have stayed home Tuesday night to unpack and get ready for my first day back at work today? Probably. But, let’s be honest… where’s the fun in that?!