Tag: Far

††† (Crosses) Kicks Off 2014 In St. Louis

††† Crosses Opens 2014 Tour in St. Louis
Words by Bradley Darby (FOLLOW on Twitter/ LIKE on Facebook)

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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.

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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.

Crosses 1-10-14 Pops STL

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.

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SETLIST (from Setlist.fm – CLICK LINK FOR VIDEO FROM YOUTUBE USERS)
The Holy Ghost
This is a Trick
Telepathy
Bitches Brew
Bermuda Locket
Prurient
Frontiers
1987
The Epilogue
Option
E: Trophy
E: The Years

 

Far 05/21/10: The Troubadour – West Hollywood, CA

Far 05/21/10
The Troubadour – West Hollywood, CA
Words/Photos/Videos by Reverend Justito/concertconfessions.com
I was one of the lucky ones.  December 1997: I went to see Deftones at The Edge in Palo Alto, CA.  While Deftones were nothing short of amazing, the true reward of that night was being introduced to the band Far.  In the weeks that followed that show, I picked up “Water & Solutions” and it has been in heavy rotation ever since.  Like most Far fans, I grew angry over the last decade as countless bands got minor radio success with their bastardization of the Lopez/Matranga sound.  Naturally, I was thrilled when the Sacramento four piece announced they were reuniting.  After a brief taste of the live Far experience last fall, nothing was going to keep me away from seeing the band support their new record At Night We Live. With the clock reading ten past nine on the third Friday in May, I hopped into my beautiful golden rental car (Kia Rio for you auto enthusiasts) and ventured east to The Troubadour, ready to rock with the post-hardcore/pre-emo Godfathers of Screamo.
The band kicked off their set around 10:30 pm with a new number called “Fight Song #16,233,241.”  With a really punchy guitar riff from Shaun Lopez, the song is a natural opener and set things off in the right direction.  The band ensured the crowd’s attention by following with a few fan favorites.  The rather mellow “I Like It” allowed both the band and the crowd to warm up and sink into the evening.  Reaching back to 1996, “Seasick” was one of the highlights of the night.  I realize many Far fans are obsessed with front-man Jonah Mantranga, but my attraction to Far lies with guitarist Shaun Lopez.  His mix of heavy riffs and lush melodies are nothing short of amazing.  The riffs that make up the verses of “Seasick” serve as a fine example of Lopez’ craft.

With the release of At Night We Live less than a week away, the band performed plenty of new material.  “Dear Enemy” is an unapologetic drop-D rock and roll song.  Had their been a pit, this is the type of song that could cause the circle to swell upwards of three times its average size.  Before launching into “Deafening”, Mantranga paid tribute to the late great Ronnie James Dio by sharing a tale of an intimate Sacramento club gig.  I hate to say it, but “Deafening” is perfect for rock radio such as KROQ (who sponsored the show despite not playing the song).  Undoubtedly, the best song on At Night We Live is the title track.  The vulnerability of Matrangas voice as he sings the tribute to Deftones bassist Chi Cheng undoubtedly made the entire crowd’s arm hair raise simultaneously.  Most importantly, despite the fact the album has not even hit store shelves, there was not a single person in the audience not singing along to the powerful chorus.

While new material got a great reaction from the enthusiastic Friday-night, near capacity crowd, the response to the classics was nothing short of massive.  “Joining The Circus” was dedicated to Los Angeles, while “The System” simply rocked.  I always think back to the 1998 Family Values tour and the parking lot of the Cow Palace covered with promos for Far’s big hit “Mother Mary.”  Hearing the band play it at The Troubadour some 11 1/2 years later just didn’t seem real.  My personal highlight for the evening was the Water & Solutions masterpiece — “Man Overboard.”  The anti-climatic build up leads right into my favorite Lopez riff of all time.

The biggest reaction of the night was for the show closing “Bury White.”  When it comes down to it, this song is the blueprint for the last 10 years of mainstream rock music.  Before the Far reunion, I always assumed the band would return bigger than ever.  Personally, I was disappointed that the show was not sold out.  In my book, Far are ground-breakers and deserve much more praise then other 90’s bands who have recently reunited.  Those lucky enough to be inside the Troubadour on the third Friday in May, 2010 know they saw something truly special.  I can only hope At Night We Live gets the band the respect they rightfully deserve.

Benefit Show for Chi Cheng: Night Two

Fungo Mungo, Will Haven, Shaun Lopez (FAR), Greg Puciato (The Dillinger Escape Plan), Robert Trujillo (Metallica), Rocky George (Suicidal Tendencies), Dave Lombardo (Slayer), Daron Malakian (System of A Down), Alexi Laiho (Children of Bodom), John Dolmayan (System of A Down), Shavo Odadjian (System of A Down), Max Cavalera (Soulfly), Deftones and many more!

November 20, 2009 — Avalon: Hollywood, CA

Words/Photos/Videos by Karla Serrano

After witnessing night one of Chi Chengs benefit show I thought to myself, “There’s no way in hell they could top this tomorrow night!” I was so wrong.

Fungo Mungo, and Will Haven opened up for the best show of 2009. Fungo Mungos set was no longer than 20-30 minutes, and the same for Will Haven. We did not wait very long for Deftones. After Will Havens last song you could feel the anxiety and anticipation in the room! I felt like I was waiting for a ticking time bomb to just blow up. When the lights went down and the music was turned off, I took a deep breath and grabbed on to the barricade for dear life. Deftones came on stage and opened up with, “Bored.” The energy in that room was unbelievable! I felt like it was my first time at a Deftones show. After the fourth song I started to wonder when the special guests were going to appear on stage. For the fifth song, “Beware” Shaun Lopez joined Deftones. After “Beware” Greg Puciato, from The Dillinger Escape Plan joined Deftones to perform “Hexamgram.” Chino and Greg are an amazing duo!
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After Deftones finished performing “Root”, I see a man with long hair and a pony tail walk on stage and waved at everyone. At first I didnt recognize his face because the lights were still low. Once the lights went on they started playing “Engine No. 9” and I look over and its ROBERT TRUJILLO from Metallica standing in front of my face! I couldn’t believe it! Once the crowd noticed that it was him, they went nuts! Trujillo, that man had so much energy! It was amazing! After “Engine No. 9” that’s when things started to get very interesting. The guys from Suicidal Tendencies joined the stage and Trujillo didn’t go anywhere! They started playing “War Inside My Head.” Watch it here!

Deftones – WAR INSIDE (W/Robert T. & Suicidal Tendencies)

After that epic performance, none of us were ready for what was going to happen next! All of a sudden the stage started to look smaller by the minute! More people started to join the stage.  Greg Puciato, Robert Trujillo, Dave Lombardo, Daron Malakian, Alexi Laiho, and others were on stage! Then, hell broke lose. They started playing “Battery.”
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I couldnt believe what I was seeing! When Alexi played that first note, you could see Trujillos huge smile on his face! I knew this was going to be amazing! Greg and Chino did the vocals flawless! I have no more words to describe this melting pot of greatness! Here’s the video.

Deftones – BATTERY (W/Robert T., Shavo Odadjian, Daron Malakian)

I thought that was the end of the show, it just felt like the appropriate way to end an epic show. I was wrong, once again! Everyone left the stage except for Deftones and Daron. Then John Dolmayan and Shavo Odadjian walk to the stage. Everyone in the crowd didnt know what to think or believe anymore! System of A Down (Except Serj) was on stage with Deftones! They performed “Aerials” and “Toxicity.”

Deftones – Aerials (w/ Shavo Odadjian and Daron Malakian)

After “Toxicity” Chino said that they had one more song, and he thanked everyone for coming and supporting the cause. They played “7 Words.” Everyone in the crowd gave it their all, they sang with every bit of last energy that they had left in their bodies! Once they were done with “7 Words” Deftones said their goodbyes and threw out picks and drumsticks. Security were telling us that it was time to go, to start heading towards the exit. As the pit started to losen up, Deftones ran back on stage with Max Cavalera and said that they had more song! The head security of the Avalon was in front of me and he looked irritated. Im sure “7 Words” was supposed to be the last song, and they randomly decided to play just one more song for us! They performed “Head Up” It was beyond epic!
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I felt more than lucky to be attend both of those shows. It was amazing to see all those artist come together for a great cause.

ONELOVEFORCHI!





A Benefit For Chi Cheng – Night 1

A Benefit For Chi Cheng – Featuring P.O.D., Far, Cypress Hill, Tommy Lee, Mark McGrath, Greg Puciato, Ben Kenney, Xzibit, Richie Cavlaera, Rodleen Getsic and the Deftones

11/19/09 – Avalon: Hollywood, CA

Words/Photos/Videos by Reverend Justito

When I read on blabbermouth.net last year that Chi Cheng, bass player for one of my all time favorite bands was in a coma from a serious car accident, my heart sunk deep into my gut.  For 12+ years, I have seen his band – the Deftones all over the great state of California.  From my first show at The Edge in Palo Alto to the Los Angeles Coliseum with Metallica; when it comes to heavy music, personally nothing gets me off harder than the Sacramento five piece.  Needing no excuse to see the Deftones live, I made sure I secured tickets as soon as they went on sale for the Chi Cheng Benefit at Avalon Hollywood.  For years, the Deftones have gotten me through some tough times in life, and it is an honor and my duty to help one of them when they truly need it (for those unaware, Chi’s insurance is no longer covering the high costs that come with being in a coma).

My wife and I found a great spot stage right at Avalon, and were ready to go when the first band of the evening hit the stage around 7:30pm.  Not visually recognizing them, I was shocked when I heard the opening notes of “Boom”.  Holy smokes, its P.O.D. I said to my wife.  Sadly, I had forgotten all about this San Diego four piece (and judging by a polite, but dull reaction by the rest of the crowd, I was not the only one) who I never managed to catch live during their 15 minutes in the spotlight.  The bands brief set consisted of their radio hits, which included the earlier mentioned “Boom”, “Southtown”, “Youth of the Nation” and “Alive”.  The band sounded very unpolished in my opinion, with guitarist Marcos Curiel was probably the weakest link, especially on Youth.  Despite this (and front man Sonny Sandoval’s failure to get the crowd to participate), I enjoyed the warm up set from a band that while never a huge fan, were at least enjoyable the first 249,928 times you heard them on rock radio.

At my first Deftones show in 97, fellow Sacto rockers Far were main support and blew me away.  Sadly, they broke up shortly after and I never got a chance to see them again.  Thankfully that changed, as they were the second act to perform in honor of Chi.  While they didn’t play their recent radio gem – a cover of Ginuwine’s “Pony”, the band did tear through classics from their highly influential record Water & Solutions.  Despite some sound issues for guitarist Shaun Lopez, “Bury White” managed to give me goose bumps.  Far was playing live 15 feet in front of me I kept saying over and over again.  “Mother Mary”, the bands earlier taste of radio success (if you can even call it that) managed to get a few bodies moving on the floor, but I fear many didn’t realize who they were.  Front man Jonah Matranga made sure to keep the focus on Chi, as he shared with us tales of visiting Chi in the hospital and how their upcoming 2010 release At Night We Live was named based off a dream he had about the injured bass player.  The brief but emotional set was too short for me, and I must catch these guys next year when they tour behind their new record.  If you have never heard Far’s music, you really should, as just about every popular rock/emo band this decade has ripped them off in one way or another.

After another quick set change, it was time for some hip hop sounds from Los Angeles stoner legend Cypress Hill.  Once again, I felt some goose bumps as somehow I have never caught Cypress Hill live.  Wow, was I impressed – after playing their song “Boom”, the band busted out classics such as “How I Could Just Kill A Man” and “Insane In The Brain”.  After 15+ years the later two jams withhold the test of time, and managed to get the first circle pit of the night swirling on the very crowded dance floor.  Running short on time, the band closed with an abbreviated version of “I Want To Get High” as B-Real lit up a fat joint on stage.  I guess he’s a patient of Dr. Eisenberg as well?!?!?!

Deftones hit the stage like a ten ton dump truck.  Opening with the new number “Rocket Skates” the crowd erupted, bashing into each other with joy and delight.  I really dig “Rocket Skates”, especially the heavy crunchy riffs of guitarist Stephen Carpenter.  Three songs from the Around The Fur quickly followed.  “Lotion” gave front man Chino Moreno the chance to show off a slimmer body than past years, while radio hits “My Own Summer (Shove It)” and “Be Quiet and Drive (Far Away)” only increased the size of the circle pit.  After playing various songs from perhaps their most successful record White Pony, which included an intense versions of “Elite” and “Street Carp” (featuring Ben Kenney of Incubus on Bass/Vocals) and the bands biggest hit to date “Change (In The House of Flies)”what felt like a typical evening with the Deftones became anything but.

I was a bit surprised that the band picked Los Angeles (versus their hometown of Sacramento) for the benefit shows.  Then it occurred to me that the only star power in Sacto is a washed up actor/body builder whose life goal is to destroy our fine state, and Hollywood was actually the perfect location.  First recognizable face for me was Dillinger Escape Plan frontman Greg Puciato, who while not Maynard James Keenan, did a fine job handling vocals on “Passenger”.  From there, various members of Far returned to the stage, first for a tender version of “Xerces”, and then perhaps my musical highlight of the night, a cover of the Jawbox jam “Savory” (which Deftones released on their B-Sides & Rarities collection a few years ago).  This song is an intense distorted snarl and to watch Far front man Jonah Matranga trade hooks with Deftones front man Chino Moreno is something I will never forget.

The collaborations got crazier from there.  I don’t know whose idea it was to get both Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park and living legend Tommy Lee (Motley Crue, Rock Star Supernova and of course a certain home video with a certain Baywatch Babe) together for “Anniversary of an Unimportant Event”, but I am glad they did.  I wish I didn’t have to say this, but shame on select audience members who booed and taunted Shinoda as he played keys on the soft number.  This was not a night for boo’s but a night for positive energy for Chi.  Things just got stranger as Sugar Ray front man/TV personality Mark McGrath joined the band (along with Tommy Lee, who basically hung out the rest of the night on some form of percussion) for a blistering cover of Thin Lizzy’s classic “Jailbreak”.  Likewise, kudos to McGrath who educated the crowd before they could booo, sharing how his band toured with the Deftones back in 1995, long before his act sold their souls and started to appear in Scooby-Doo films.

 As I changed batteries in my camera, rapper Xzibit snuck out on stage and rocked the house down with “Back To School” (which I don’t own on CD, since I actually purchased White Pony the first day of release).  Moreno seemed shocked that he was sharing the stage with the MC/TV host, while Xzibit was all smiles, nailing the lyrics to the song.  Up next members of Far and Cypress Hill joined forces on stage with the Deftones, as the now mega-group launched into a cover of Sade’s “No Ordinary Love” for the very first time (at least as far as the Deftones go) live.  It was real spacey, jammy/percussion heavy and stretched out to the limits.  B-Real and Sen-Dog of Cypress hill then joined in the fun with arguably the heaviest version of their hit “Rock Superstar” ever.

The night ended with perhaps the “Head Up” – the heavy insane skull crushing number from Around The Fur.  I know someone came out to take the vocals originally recorded by Max Cavalera, but I couldn’t tell you who he was (Updated 11/23/09 – It is Richie Cavalera from the band Incite).  As the crowd bounced and jumped around like crazy, the band blasted through the song with amazing accuracy.  In fact, it has been years since I have heard the Deftones (especially Chino) sound so good.  The band left the stage to chants of Chi Chi Chi, and despite the majority of the crowd cheering, yelling and going crazy for a solid five minutes, the band never returned for an encore.  While some bitched about the lack of encore as they walked out, I was just thankful.  Thankful for the one time I got to meet Chi, thankful for all the music he has helped make that has made my life better.  But most important, more than thankful, I was hopeful that perhaps one day Chi will wake up and join his brothers upon the stage again.

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