Last Friday night I was in Baltimore to experience DEAD CROSS, a super group consisting of past and present members of the bands Suicidal Tendencies, The Misfits, Slayer, Faith No More, Tomahawk etc. I had been approved for this show months ahead of the show date, and as a fan of Slayer I was excited to see Dave Lombardo on drums. DEAD CROSS released their eponymous album, the first one of the band, which has received excellent reviews from fans and critics alike. While I am not a huge fan of hardcore, I totally get why the fans have been so excited about this tour.
This show started late, with the sole supporting band SECRET CHIEFS 3 taking the stage at 9-30, and the venue was tightly packed. SECRET CHIEFS 3 is a project of Trey Spruance, veteran of music industry and ex member of Faith No More. The project has seen an astounding number of musicians collaborate on different albums, to the point that it is nearly impossible to keep track of who played what in which album. I had little knowledge about this band or what they play before entering the venue, and I have been listening to their work ever since I got back. And after having watched them live and thoroughly enjoying it I don’t have a clue on how to best describe their performance. As a matter of fact I had to deliberate quite a while before I knew what I was going to write about SECRET CHIEFS 3. SECRET CHIEFS 3 delivered one of the most eclectic musical performance I have seen in my life! Certain sections of their performance sounds like classic Pakistani rock of the 90’s, and some bits sounded like devotional Sufi music. And quite possibly an Arab belly dancer would have been out of place on the stage at times. All these things were happening in the middle of some fantastic guitar and keyboard work. The drumming was phenomenal, more on it later. How often do you see “Middle Eastern” reincarnation of John Carpenter’s Halloween soundtrack in a rock/metal concert? Pardon the shitty sound quality, but check this short clip of the Halloween soundtrack captured on my crappy Chinese phone. This is THE most fascinating, yet bizarre, musical performances I have seen opening for a rock/metal band.
The show by DEAD CROSS started with Mike Patton jumping on top of the fans to do some crowd surfing, and the fans obliged him. While hardcore is not really the kind of music I dig, I totally get why the fans in the venue were so stoked. The interaction of Mike Patton with the crowd was superb! The front row crowd had a great time, and Mike Patton obliged them fully screeching in to the microphone the lyrics of the songs like “Seizure and Desist”, “Obedience School”, “The Future Has Been”, “Church of the Motherfuckers” with a serious ferocity. The guitar work was excellent, but it was kind of an afterthought to the spellbinding performance of Mike Patton. I knew that DEAD CROSS plays a small teaser of Slayer’s “Raining Blood” towards the very end. Dave Lombardo, one of the finest heavy metal drummers ever, not finishing his typical crazy drumming on “Raining Blood” is sheer cruelty. I had wanted to see Dave Lombardo on drums for years, but the standout performance of the night was the drummer of SECRET CHIEFS 3, I found it way very intense, but Dave Lombardo, was impressive as well and a legend to see live on stage. Catch them if you can on this Seizure and Desist Tour, if you enjoy hardcore you are going to love it!