It’s sometimes astounding the things that come out of people’s idle hands. Since Mike Patton’s Faith No More has largely been on hiatus since their last world tour and Dave Lombardo left Slayer over contract disputes, Dead Cross was born. This is what happens when two guys like that, plus members of the Locust and Retox, have too much time on their hands. They create a sonically crushing hardcore band with grind elements. Because, of course you do.
It’s even more astounding that with all the projects these guys are involved with, they still managed to put together this tour. Seeing them in person, it becomes abundantly clear why they fit it into their schedule. Like most supergroups, this one was born of boredom, friendship, and mutual respect, but the tour is just a whole lot of damn fun.
Dead Cross have the time of their lives on stage. In many ways, it looks like a rejuvenating experience for all involved. As most of their other projects have grown in complexity and maturity, playing these lightning fast, short bursts of energy must be incredibly exciting for a group of metalheads who aren’t getting any younger. Still performing at the peak of their capacity, Dead Cross look like teenagers bouncing around on Adderall.
At some point, Patton will have to go trot out “Epic” to nostalgia hounds and Lombardo will probably end up back in Slayer somehow, but for now they’re just having a blast playing crazy shit to a smaller audience. And let’s be honest: we’re here for the name recognition. The majority of the audience at their second tour stop at Emo’s in Austin on Wednesday, August 16 was older; clearly fans of the latter two bands. Many might have heard the debut Dead Cross album, but there’s a tacit acknowledgement that fans are there for some classic Patton and Lombardo antics.
Judging by their “encore,” an impromptu performance of Slayer’s “Raining Blood” with Patton on drums and Lombardo on vocals that ended after just the intro, they’re taking that in stride. More notably, whether fans know Dead Cross’ songs by heart or not, every bit of the set was enjoyable. These are headbangers, not singalongs.
The highlight of the night was Patton inviting a young fan, who couldn’t have been more than four years old, on stage to perform with the band. How many hardcore bands will you see that feature screaming from a kid that young? It’s all part of the summer vacation that is the Dead Cross tour. You’ll likely never see these guys get a chance to do this again, so enjoy it as much as they’re enjoying doing it.