Concert Review: Dead Cross at Emo’s, Austin: Hardcore supergroup brings noisy bliss to Austin.
Everyone awaiting Dead Cross at Emo’s had a scare yesterday when news broke that the band (fronted by the ever-prolific Mike Patton) had been detained by police in Houston, Texas. Somehow, given their combustible and intimidating self-titled debut, it seemed oddly fitting.
Luckily, the band arrived safe and sound, and after an engaging, quirky set by Trey Spruance’s instrumental outfit Secret Chiefs 3 (who played an amazing cover of John Carpenter’s Halloween theme), Dead Cross took the stage.
The foursome barreled through all 10 tracks off their new album (alongside 2 new original numbers), kicking off with the appropriately authority defying Seizure and Desist, a perfect collision of hardcore furor and atmospheric edge, showcasing Patton’s ever-awe inspiring vocal range.
Standouts included Shillelagh, which featured the singer at his throat-shredding best (tossing off classic lyrics like I took a dump and it turned out dead), a jugular puncturing cover of Bauhaus’ Bela Lugosi’s Dead, and Idiopathic, where Patton was joined by bassist Justin Pearson (The Locust/Retox) on backing vocals.
But perhaps the most memorable moment occurred during My Perfect Prisoner: before kicking into the song Patton noticed an ebullient kid perched atop his dad’s shoulders. He encouraged the boy to come on stage and sing/scream along, culminating with the grinning kid screaming his head off. The crowd lost their shit. It was beautiful.
Afterwards, Patton said I guess it’s time to give you back to your real dad! and returned him to his ecstatic father. Both father and son looked their year had been made.
It’s easy to myopically focus on Patton, but let’s give the other musicians their due: Pearson was a dynamic presence throughout, while guitarist Michael Crain (also of Retox) blasted out delicious buzzsaw riffs. And former Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo showed why he’s still one of the best in the biz.
After the group finished their blistering set with the cinematic, eerie Church of The Motherfuckers, (with Patton thanking the crowd for putting up with us!), they returned for what was presumably their encore. But when The frontman got behind the drum kit, we knew we were in for something unpredictable.
They lurched into the thundering, iconic intro to Slayer’s Raining Blood…then stopped and left the stage with huge grins on their faces (Lombardo seem especially amused). It was both a hilarious, frustrating and perfect way to end the night.
Dead Cross Setlist:
Seizure and Desist
Unknown (New #2)
Bela Lugosi’s Dead
The Future Has Been Cancelled
My Perfect Prisoner
Church of the Motherfuckers
Raining Blood (intro)