Chino Moreno, mostly known for his work with the Deftones, stood tall on top of his monitor as three illuminated crosses flashed behind him. Exhalted fans praised him, hands high in the air. To an outsider this could have looked like an underground rally of sorts with Chino as their martyr, but this was a rock a concert with ††† (Crosses).
Five other band members waited patiently behind their respective instruments; guitars, keyboards and computers littered the stage. Frank Sinatra, an unusual intro track considering the content to follow, started to fade and the crowd jeered with a prospective mystification.
The eerie keyboards of the title track to ††† (Crosses) recently released self-titled LP, “This is a Trick,” jolted the speakers of the Independent. The sold out crowd waited for the words to arrive from Chino: “Something’s changed in your face I noticed,” he sang in perfect pitch, “a different spiral in those crazy eyes.” Heads bobbed in motion as they followed the words.
While Chino has the highest profile on stage, this show is more about the band than Chino. While the front man or lead singer usually gains the brunt of attention, Chino became less of a distraction and more of a piece to this congealed project that might deviate the furthest from his other endeavors. On record, ††† (Crosses) rely heavy on electronics and machines to dictate their music. The songs are given life when performed live, and up on stage the musicians provide this spark.
Dino Campanella, the drummer for Bay Area band Dredg, vigorously bashed his drums to complicated rhythms while bassist Chuck Doom contorted his body with a sensual swagger. Ex-Far guitarist and Crosses ambassador Shaun Lopez shifted back and forth from playing guitar to orchestrating sounds on his computer.
The live show really projected how complex the music is, and how many things must go right. Still somewhat of an enigma, ††† (Crosses) started as a fun project between Doom and Lopez and materialized into something onerous, organically sprouting into a formidable band. ††† (Crosses) play like a rock band, with most its members hailing from post-hardcore/alt-rock backgrounds. The influence is rampant, yet the music is still danceable. Chino Moreno didn’t abandon his trademark high-pitched squeal and continuously showcased moves—swaying his hips and arms with a tint of Flamenco style. He looked rejuvenated and youthful, shaking the hands of his fans while sashaying the stage.
Their catalog of music doesn’t run deep, but ††† (Crosses) most the songs from their record. Notable tracks of the night were the impassioned track “Bitches Brew,” the bass laden “Telepathy,” the band’s buoyant first single “The Epilogue,” the R&B flavored “Bermuda Locket” and the hard hitting and emotionally invigorating “Option.” The band included a very fitting cover of the 1988 song “Goodbye Horses” by Q Lazzarus for an encore. When the show ended, Chino gave Shaun a hug in an act of admiration and respect, a good sign for ††† (Crosses) fans that this could be more than just a side project.
[Photo courtesy of ††† (Crosses)]