††† (Crosses) - Crescent Ballroom - 3/25/14

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††† (Crosses) Crescent Ballroom 3/25/14

It started with crosses. And a rosary.

"O memories that bless and burn / O barren gain and bitter loss / I kiss each bead and strive at last to learn / To kiss the cross, sweetheart / To kiss the cross . . ."

Perry Como's voice crooned over the loudspeakers for "The Rosary" song, which blasted the introduction of ††† (Crosses) onto the stage Tuesday night at Crescent Ballroom. Three heavy three white crosses were set across the back curtain. They flashed green, white, pink, and red throughout the entire performance.

The band started out with "†hholyghs†," and the crowd was enthusiastic as all hell -- maybe it was the sensual energy of the music. That's why I was there. But in all reality, it's probably because Chino Moreno of the Deftones is the lead singer.

Either way, the house was packed, but it was one of the most mellow sold-out shows I've seen in years.

After the band finished the first song, Moreno yelled, "What's up, Phoenix!" and tossed a few guitar picks out over the audience. As he launched into the song †rick, the crowd went wild. I have to admit that I have seen Crescent Ballroom that packed before, but never in such a mellow state with that much light variation and electronica. It has usually been the random lucky occurrence of heavy metal, or else a really, really packed pop indie rock house.

While Moreno's voice might have sounded Deftones-sy as usual, the fuzzy effects were making him drive the crowd more crazy than usual. When it comes to Moreno, it's hard to say whether it is all about his voice talent or the grainy sound engineering . . . granted, the sound engineers were clueless as to where I could even find a set list, so who knows what was luck.

The band launched into the mainstream favorite "Bi†ches Brew" while incense burned off the front speakers. The drums and guitar were so on point, they actually were more clear than Moreno's vocals at several points.

After the third song, "Fron†iers," Moreno screamed out, "Yeeeaahhh!" and wiped the sweat from his forehead before launching into "Black S†allion."

Throughout the night, Moreno stood on the front platform, and numerous tattooed, ahem, ta††oed sleeved arms reached out to him from the crowd.

After "Black S†allion" and "Bermuda Locke†" (the latter of which is a personal favorite), I could see that Moreno clearly was into the crowd. While the other two talented band members might have been on point and articulate, Moreno was the one who truly handed over his heart and soul to the crowd. It might sound dramatic, but if you've ever seen Chino Moreno perform with another act you would understand what I'm talking about.

Crosses performed eight more songs, including "Goodbye Horses" by Q Lazzarus, which infamously was featured in Silence of the Lambs.

Set List "†hholyghs†" "Bi†ches brew" "Fron†iers" "Black S†allion" "Bermuda Locke†" "†elepa†hy" "Purien†" "1987" "†he epilogue" "†" "†rophy" "Op†ion" "Goodybye Horses" "†he Years"

Critics Notebook:

What: Crosses at Crescent Balloom on March 25

The Crowd: Mostly a range of hipsters in their 20s and 30s, but a healthy percentage of metalheads and some die-hard Deftones fans

Overheard in the Crowd: After the favorite song "Bermuda Locke†," some guy yelled: "There's a mermaid over there!" toward a woman dressed in Indian garb. Then another girl yelled, "Yeah, she's under the sea!" Still not completely convinced they understood Coachella hadn't yet begun.

Find any show in Metro Phoenix via our extensive online concert calendar.

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