I drove down 1st Street in Seattle and realized that despite the fact I was there 45 minutes before doors opened, there was a big old line outside of the Showbox. Not an uncommon sight, but disheartening since I realized that my old favorite spot to park was now a construction zone — a common issue in Seattle, with all of the ridiculous Amazon.com gentrification going on. Feeling lucky there’s still a Showbox to go to, I circled around, found a landing spot, and headed to what I was certain would be an epic show.
Upon arrival the Showbox staff let me know that “tonight is different” — there was no security barrier between the fans and the stage (where photographers usually stand to shoot photos), and that Dead Cross requested “not to see” photographers. That’s fine, I thought. I’ll get what I can. Whatever.
Being a tiny little person, I wiggled my way into a spot at the bar that’s basically a mezzanine. I had a lovely view of the stage, was a head above the crowd, and I couldn’t wait for Secret Chiefs 3 to go on. I’ve been a fan of SC3 forever. Fun fact: the first non-review article I ever wrote for Verbicide was a short blurb about Secret Chiefs in a print issue way back when. It warmed my heart to see Trey Spruance down at the merch table, as usual, unpretentiously greeting fans, selling albums and shirts. As well as an amazing musician, he’s such a genuinely nice guy.
Secret Chiefs 3 started their set with blistering surf guitar. The thundered through the set, performing old favorites as well as some new tracks. The crowd loved it. The Showbox got really full, and after their set it started to empty out. I was a little worried — would the venue be emptied out for Dead Cross’s, set or did people just go out for air?
It turns out it was the latter. After a good-sized break between sets Dead Cross took the stage and the venue was packed yet again. With no security barrier between the crowd and the stage, there was a wall of people there. Wearing an NRA shirt emblazoned with “Keep Calm and Carry Guns,” Mike Patton started the show with a stage dive right into a sea of his rabid fans. Fueled by Dave Lombardo’s incredible drumming and Patton’s miraculously dynamic vocals, the intensity was so fierce that early on during the band’s set Justin Pearson appealed to the violent crowd to calm down: “It’s like a Trump rally in here!”
That didn’t really placate the crowd. Seattle just had some things to work out that night and there was a lot of reckless, ignorant moshing going on which is, well, what happens sometimes when a powerful band like this comes around. They plowed through hits from their debut album and nailed them. I don’t really understand how Mike Patton goes from city to city bending his voice from screaming to singing with such magical ease. He’s truly a rock god. For their encore the band stepped on the stage and completely slayed Dead Kennedys‘ “Nazi Punks Fuck Off.” After that they launched into Slayer’s “Raining Blood” — however, that was only a tease. They cut off after the intro, dropped the mic, and walked off stage. Way to leave a crowd breathless, guys! As I said that evening after the show on social media, “Dead Cross is amazing live. 10/10 do recommend.”