In 2011 Deftones front man Chino Moreno got together with childhood friend and fellow musician Shaun Lopez, who plays guitar for Far, as well as Chuck Doom to form a new group that Moreno said would “be minimal and soothing…. kinda like the stuff I listen to when I’m not screaming my head off.” From their vision, Crosses was born. Technically its listed like this, †††… but that’s just a pain in the ass to type so we will stick with Crosses. The electro-downtempo rock project features Moreno on vocals, Doom on bass, while Lopez plays guitar, keys, and makes beats and weird noises with a Macbook.
Since their formation Crosses has released 2 EPs as well as many YouTube videos teasing their debut full length album that was originally due out in October… and then November… and now scheduled for release in February via Sumerian Records. To commemorate the occasion, Crosses announced a handful of Midwest tour dates that featured stops in St. Louis, Nashville, Chicago, and Detroit. I had the opportunity to catch the tour opener at Pop’s Nightclub in beautiful Sauget, IL, also known as East St. Louis.
The show started with tour support Dawn Golden, a producer who hails from the magical land of Chicago. I didn’t make it in time to see Dawn Golden, I actually walked in right as Crosses was walking out, but this is the description found on both the Facebook page and Dawn Golden’s official website:
“Dawn Golden and Rosy Cross is meant to bring about a melancholy familiarity, like going back to the house where you grew up and finding it the way you left it, only 10 years later and everything is falling apart.”
Whatever that is supposed to mean… I did overhear a group discussing his set and they mentioned that he played “Ava Adore” by The Smashing Pumpkins. So there’s that.
Crosses started their set just about 9:15 P.M. Pop’s Nightclub was crowded and people were packed in by the stage, but it definitely wasn’t sold out. In addition to the main trio, Crosses tours as a five piece with the addition of a drummer and another guitar player. The stage was adorned with a backdrop that featured nothing more than three crosses (†††) as the band came on to eerie music and all red lighting. They didn’t waste much time as they went right into things with “The Holy Ghost”, a track from their first EP. Chino’s haunting vocals mixed well with the melodic yet heavy music. As he lurked around the stage, I couldn’t help but think of the White Pony era Deftones, but with a very ominous tone. Occasionally we would get a signature growl from Chino, but mostly just his actual singing voice. Think of what you would hear on Deftones songs like “Pink Maggot” or “Digital Bath.”
After giving the crowd the “What’s Up St. Louis? You all good?” shout out, they launched into “This is a Trick.” Also from the debut EP this song features more of the Chino we know and love. He has been performing to packed venues for 20+ years and his primal scream still holds up with the best of them. Chino loosened up a bit more and worked the stage as the night when on. When Moreno sang out “I’m so excited I can hardly take it” the crowd joined in and Chino let out another squeal. Moreno then announced that this was pretty much the first time Crosses has played outside of California and it was great to be in St. Louis. (Note: Crosses has played some international shows, but very few U.S. dates). A funky bass heavy number called “Telepathy” was next. I really enjoyed this one and it gave us a chance to meet Chuck Doom who slapped his bass around and showed off a bit. This song reminded me a bit of when Glassjaw’s Daryl Palumbo did the Head Automatica side project.
They then launched into what appears to be the first single from the soon to be released album, “Bitches Brew”, a fantastic and catchy song with a very creepy music video that came out in November, when the album was scheduled to come out. Moreno asked the crowd “who’s ready to get loose? Its fucking Friday night!” as the band went into “Prurient”, an absolutely beautiful song that almost seemed at times like Moreno was struggling to hold back another signature growl or two. During “Frontiers” the fans down on the rail were greeted with a visit from Chino as he jumped in the photo pit area and up on the railing.
VIDEO CREDIT TO YOUTUBE USER: SbMick
After “1987”, a very trancy song that has lots of guitar and weird sounds in it, courtesy of Shaun Lopez’ Macbook, Moreno introduced “The Epilogue” in his best scary voice. “The Epilogue” was released a few months back to promote the original release date of the album, and is the first Crosses song I was actually familiar with. I really enjoyed it live. Chino then said “I hadn’t’t even noticed there were moterfuckers up top” referring to the balcony. They closed the set out with the guitar heavy “Option”, where Chino again came down to the rail to interact with the fans before a brief exit from the stage. The encore started with “Trophy”, a very mellow song from their second EP that a guy standing next to me referred to as “stoner metal.” Chino thanked the crowd one last time before they finished the incredible set with a song they recorded for a Batman video game called “The Years”, during which Chino spent a good chunk of the song laying out over the crowd screaming into the mic.
For only having a handful of shows under their belt, this band plays together like they’ve been doing it for ten years. This may have been my first show of 2014 but it will certainly leave a lasting impression on me and will most likely be in consideration for one of the years best. My only complaint is that their set was only about an hour long including the encore, but with only a few EPs under their belt there isn’t much more material they could have pulled out. Either way, I paid $10.57 for the ticket and would have happily paid $25. If you get the chance to catch ††† live, I suggest you do. They were recently announced as part of the 2014 Coachella Festival and their debut full length will drop on February 11th. You can pre-order it now right here.
SETLIST (from Setlist.fm – CLICK LINK FOR VIDEO FROM YOUTUBE USERS)
The Holy Ghost
This is a Trick
E: The Years