in Music, Reviews

Dead Cross @ Marquee Theatre

Three bands and a (punk) baby

I dig Mike Patton’s work ethic. He’s been in like 100 bands, but people mainly know him from his work in Faith No More, since it’s the project that sold the most records, got air time on MTV and sounds radio-friendly (some of the time). But he never stopped making the rounds.

When I heard he was doing a hardcore punk thing Dave Lombardo from Slayer and a couple of maniacs from The Locust (a band known to perform in nothing but diapers and gas masks) and Retox (which rose from the ashes of The Locust), I was more than intrigued. I pre-ordered the album without even thinking about it. And, then, when I heard they were coming to Tempe, I bought tickets just as fast.

The concert opened with a short set from a post-punk band who didn’t bother to introduce themselves, but whose singer complained about the heat in Tempe no less than three times. Then, Author & Punisher came onstage. The work of one man, Tristan Shone, it’s basically what metal sounds like when it’s slowed to a crawl and played exclusively on synthesizers. I dig it. Especially impressive is the fact that Shone, an electrical engineer, builds and plays his own instruments.

Several hours (and beers) after we walked through the door, Dead Cross took the stage. Even pushing 50, Mike Patton manages to have incredible stage presence. He runs around, screams and headbangs about as well as he did when I first saw him perform with Fantômas over 10 years ago. And Dave Lombardo continues to prove that, without him, the Slayer on tour right now is little more than a cover band. Even from the back of the room, I could feel every snare hit. Lombardo punishes his drums. And our ears.

Throughout the band’s 45-minute set, not a single track overstayed its welcome, and the four piece played like a cohesive unit, even though this was only their second show. But if there’s one jab I can throw at Dead Cross and their brand of hardcore punk, it’s that it doesn’t sound like it’s own thing. It’s the kind of thrash-y, noisy and weird music you’d expect from a mashup of Fantômas, Slayer and The Locust.

But when the result is this good, you have to ask for seconds. Another album, and tour, please.