Live Music Review: Crosses (†††) concert in Hollywood

On Wednesday, April 16th, I went to The Roxy on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood to see Chino Moreno’s newest project, Crosses (†††). (For ease of typing, I’ll subsequently refer to them simply as “Crosses.”) I attended with two of my friends who had never met each other before. Both are my go-to concert buddies. If one can’t go, the other usually can. This time I got lucky and both John and Jeremy were able to accompany me.

Crosses, like Palms, is a supergroup. Chino Moreno (deftones, Team Sleep, Palms) carries out the vocal duties, while his childhood friend Shaun Lopez (Far, The Revolution Smile) plays guitar. Chuck Doom rounds out the trio. (They have a drummer and an electronics guy tour with them for their live show.) They formed in 2011, and have put out three self-titled EPs for free through their website since then.  Their first full-length album came out earlier this year on Sumerian Records. (It was mostly made up of slightly different versions of the songs that had been released through the internet.) A notable exception, and the best (in my opinion) track on the album is Bi†ches Brew, the only song in which you get to hear Chino’s trademark screams. (I’ve included the music video below.)



There were two opening acts Wednesday night, Omniflux and Spirit in the Room. I enjoyed Spirit in the Room quite a bit more than Omniflux. Omniflux was a bit stylistically closer to Crosses, though spacier and softer. Their vocalist was a bit hit-or-miss, partly because she didn’t always sing into the microphone. She constantly asked the house to turn down the lights… No one wants to see a concert in the dark! They weren’t bad, but they were sort of forgettable. Maybe they’re better in the recording studio, I don’t know. I’m not interested enough to find out. (Sorry.)

Omniflux: ★★ out of 5

Spirit in the Room

Spirit in the Room

Spirit in the Room was very energetic and got the crowd going right away, something I always appreciate. I think it’s something you MUST do in today’s oversaturated music environment. There are so many acts clamoring for your attention that if you don’t grab an audience right away, they’ll find someone who will. Their music is described on their Facebook page as punk/rock/soul. I think that’s a fair description, but I would add glam and hardcore to the mix. Most of the songs were passionate, catchy, and enjoyable, but there was a weird jazz-fusion thing going on in the middle of the set. It reminded me of the scene from This Is Spinal Tap when they lost Christopher Guest’s character and decided to play jazz at the zoo. (The audience hated it.) It might be okay on the record, but I think Spirit in the Room should skip it in future performances, as they lost some of the crowd, including me. That said, they’re worth checking out if they come to your town, and I’m going to be checking out their debut EP. You can get a copy on iTunes or Amazon.

Setlist : Death Machines | Robot | Ambient | I’m in Your Headlights | Vicious Eyes | Godless Woman | Tina | A Cancer to Your Trust | Gambler

Spirit in the Room: ★★★½ out of 5

Crosses (†††)

Crosses live

Finally, Crosses took the stage to rapturous applause. This the act we’d all been waiting for, after all. I’m happy to report that they did not disappoint. I’ve seen deftones play probably a handful of times throughout their career, and last year I got to see Palms perform, so I am no stranger to Chino Moreno’s live performance capabilities. Chino didn’t play the guitar at all during the performance, which I prefer. I had mentioned that I enjoy it more when he is unencumbered by his guitar, and this performance was no exception.This concert reminded me as to why he is constantly popping up in lists of greatest rock frontmen. Out of all the times I’ve seen him perform, I’ve never seen him so happy; he was all smiles for the entire show, probably because he was doing what he loved doing with a close friend.

This shouldn’t be taken as a slight to the rest of the band. The energy was maintained throughout the concert, and you could tell all members gave it their all. The reason I mention Chino’s performance specifically is that he was probably the draw for 99% of the attendees, and he gave the best performance of the bunch. (I’m also a big fanboy.) I will also comment that Crosses is a bit harder live than on the record. (You’ll hear no complaint from me about that.) The record is a bit more electronics-based while their live performance was more guitar-driven. Also, as I mentioned, Chino only screamed once on the album, but he did it a few times at the concert.

I had been listening to the new record for about two weeks prior to the show to prepare myself for the concert and hopefully learn some of the lyrics. For this reason, my favorite live songs were †his Is a †rick, Blk Sallion, and Biches Brew. Chino also dedicated a song to his wife, which was sweet. In addition to their original songs, they also played a cover of Prince’s The Cross during the regular set and a cover of Q. Lazzarus’ Goodbye Horses for the encore, a song you probably know from The Silence of the Lambs. As always, when Chino covers a song, he makes it his own. Not many artists can do that successfully.

I am undoubtedly biased in favor of any project Chino Moreno plays with (again, fanboy), but I think all the attendees would agree that Crosses brought the energy, the passion, and we all got our money’s worth. I’m definitely looking forward to another Crosses record in the future, and I would highly recommend the live show. (I have included a video of Crosses performing the Prince cover. Click here if you can’t see it.)

Setlist: †hholyghs† | †his Is a †rick | Bi†ches Brew | Fron†iers | Blk S†allion | Bermuda Locke† | †elepa†hy | Prurien† | Nine†een Eigh†y Seven | †he Epilogue | † | †rophy | The Cross (Prince cover) | Op†ion

Encore: Goodbye Horses (Q. Lazzarus cover) | †he Years

Crosses (†††): ★★★★★ out of 5

Chino Moreno stuff on this website

Concert Reviews

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