Show Review: Dead Cross, Qui, Secret Chiefs 3 at El Rey, 8.21-22.17

by Oliver Brink on August 28, 2017

“Nothing stops this tour!”

Dead Cross-20

Since supergroups seem to be the big deal right now, it’s hard to recognize any band who comes together in collaboration as anything but. However, it becomes crystal clear, when the band performs live, that “supergroup” is not as appropriate of a term. When talking about Dead Cross it is completely fair to say that this is a band, not another one-off album release. The self-titled album, recently released on Ipecac Records, is a blistering hardcore punk set that injects a new vitality into the genre.

8-21-17 (The Original Scheduled Show Date)

Secret Chiefs 3-5

With this in mind I set out to the El Rey Theatre to cover the first LA date of their tour, with some trepidation, but mostly excitement. Opening for Dead Cross was Secret Chiefs 3 (the brainchild of Mr. Bungle collaborator Trey Spruance), with their incredible blend of Persian guitar licks combined with punk rock crunch and funky bass riffs. Their drummer is one of the most wild men I’ve ever seen behind a kit, and they riled up the crowd good with an amazing cover of “The Main Theme” from John Carpenter’s Halloween among the rest of their eclectic and high energy set.

Secret Chiefs 3-8

When the curtains of the venue closed, for the band and crew to pull out their gear and set up for Dead Cross, the energy of the room shifted strangely. Every show has their fair number of assholes, but for whatever reason it seems that a lot of Patton’s fans have an asshole switch hardwired into their brains. One such man behind me began yelling, “C’mon, fucker! I have to work tomorrow!” and other such jeers. Others nearby echoed similar sentiments in the well packed theatre as the curtains remained closed a good 10 minutes past the scheduled start time.

I began to wonder if something had gone wrong at the 25-minute mark, when the curtains suddenly opened and the normal crowd applause was cut incredibly short as we noticed that there was no other gear than Dave Lombardo’s drum set on stage. As if to confirm our worst fears, guitarist Mike Crain and Lombardo took to the center of the stage to inform us that Mike had been in an accident on the way to the venue and that he was hurt and couldn’t perform that evening. No other information was given. Lombardo chimed in, apologizing deeply and telling us that they would do their best to reschedule. The two left the stage as some asshole hurled an empty plastic cup at them.

Stunned, we shuffled out of the theatre hoping that Patton was going to be okay. I then awoke the next day to discover that Patton had wiped out hard skateboarding to the venue and needed to go to the ER for stitches. After a good laugh at his expense, I checked my e-mail to see that they had indeed rescheduled to play that night. Patton’s own account of the wipeout assured fans that “…Nothing stops this tour!” So I made my way back to the El Rey for an equally incredible night of music.

8-22-17 (The Triumphant Do-Over)

Qui-9

First up in the evening was local art noise punk duo Qui (pronounced “Kwee”). These guys are crazy. Their high energy brought to mind Future of the Left mixed with Lightning Bolt. Their excellent showmanship included great humor with knowingly silly dancing and posing between and during songs. A great band to be sure and worth catching whenever possible!

Silent-7

Following Qui was San Diego-based (also on Justin Pearson’s Three One G record label) Silent. I don’t think anyone, myself included, was quite ready for this incredible band. Originally formed in Baja California, their influences range from Siouxsie and the Banshees to Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds with a healthy injection of punk rock anger. Their stage presence was incredible, and they worked the crowd with almost nonstop motion and engaged the audience on a personal level. I hope to catch them again in the future.

Dead Cross-8

Finally, the moment of truth was upon us. Anticipation — and anxiety — was high until 5 minutes after the scheduled start time, when the curtains opened to reveal a fully loaded stage. The band members took to it, launching into their album opening “Seizure and Desist.” It’s hard to describe just how incredible the performers are in Dead Cross. Certainly anyone who has seen or knows of Mike Patton’s long career in rock and roll has an inkling, but Pearson and Crain’s power is something of an underground intensity that almost instantly catapults the audience to a time of punk hardcore nostalgia.

Dead Cross-18

For me, it brought me back to my teenage years, when I would go to local underground shows and the connection between band and crowd was utterly paramount. There was no rock star bullshit, as one might have expected, and before even starting the second song Patton thanked everyone for their incredible patience with him, jokingly referring to his wipeout with “this is why 53-year-olds should never ride skateboards.”

Dead Cross-22

Their performance featured a number of songs from the album as well as new songs that were written after Patton joined. The crowd connection was so complete that, at one point, Patton’s attention was grabbed by a little girl riding her mom’s shoulders screaming, “Mike, let me up there!” He invited her on stage, where they performed together, and he got her to scream with him. The show then culminated with a blistering encore cover of Dead Kennedys’ “Nazi Punks Fuck Off!” and the band, with great humor, punked everyone into thinking Lombardo was going to sing a cover of Slayer’s “Raining Blood.” All in all, it was a triumph, following the debacle of the previous day, and I can only hope that the rest of their tour is as amazing for everyone else as that one night was for me.

Oliver Brink

Oliver is a lover of film, music, theatre, and art. He writes and works out of Los Angeles.

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