Review: Crosses Live Debut

By Zachary Swickey

Pomona, California - Before Crosses took the stage at Pomona’s famous Glass House music venue – the air was already thick with anticipation and the crowd’s energy was wildly high well before the show even began. As the six band members slowly crept onstage with three illuminated Crosses as their backdrop, Chino Moreno, lead singer of the Deftones, grabbed the mic – rockin’ a black leather jacket with hood draped – the crowed went hysterical. (At this point, Moreno is essentially a legend in the California music scene and very well-respected by his musical peers).

The crowd certainly wasn’t complaining when the band kicked things off with the subdued, dreamy “Thholyghost.” Fans hung on Moreno’s every word – singing along with him (something that continued for the majority of the show). Next up was “This Is A Trick,” which is without a doubt one of Crosses strongest songs. Moreno showed signs of his Deftones alter-ego with his primal scream as he “sang” the song’s chorus. Lopez’s excellent production work and digital additions on the track were spot-on in a live setting, sounding like a maniacal emergency siren of the future.

When the band began playing a track off their second EP, Frontiers, Moreno hopped on the guard rail, which he is notoriously known for doing (and something fans adore him for). He draped his body over the clamoring fans as he sang, “I can take you even further,” as hands reached out – hoping to merely touch the icon. During “Telepathy” the three backdrop Crosses even began glowing a deep purple (eventually they covered every color in the spectrum). It was at this point that I realized how crazy talented bassist Chuck Doom is – his finger pluckin’ precision is right up there with RHCP’s Flea.

Performing “1987” allowed Lopez to showcase his fine work of subtle-but-beautiful digital manipulation with his trusty MacBook. Next was either a new track or a cover I’m unfamiliar with. Either way – holy hell was it good. Moreno’s vocals soared (similar to his voice on Deftones’ “Passenger”). I jotted down several descriptions for Lopez’s unique guitar sound during the song: “echoing,” “spacey,” ‘squeal” – the man was just going crazy with his axe. It was also the greatest moment for the drummers to show their insane skills, together sounding like thunder from Zeuss himself. (Campanella’s ferocity is simply matched by none – he’s like the Ivan Drago of the drum world.)

As they began performing their track “The Years” (off the soundtrack to the hit video game, “Batman: Arkham Asylum”), the three crosses morphed to a reptile green and Moreno hopped back on the rail moaning, “As the years go by,” while Lopez wailed his menacing guitar hook that scratches your ear drums in the best way possible (his guitar-work is easily the highlight of the song). Lopez showed-off his chops once again during “Option” when his guitar sounded like it was mixed through a garbage disposal – creating quite an awesome, unique sound.

For the encore, Giant Drag’s Annie Hardy came out to play her own track, “Pretty Little Neighbors,” with Crosses as her backing band and Moreno as one hell of a backup singer. The night ended with the ambient, dreamy “Trophy” before the group wished everyone goodnight – already appearing like they’ve been playing together for years.

Crosses set list:
1. Thholyghost
2. This Is A Trick
3. Bermuda Locket
4. Frontiers
5. Prurient
6. Telepathy
7. 1987
8. New [unreleased] Song
9. The Years
10. Option

Encore:
11. Pretty Little Neighbor [Giant Drag cover performed by Annie Hardy with the group]
12. Trophy