Visually Captivating: Cross Record at Radio (Live Review)

Cross_Record_062615-3Some bands I write about so frequently and like so much that soon I feel I’ve run out of ways to articulate the truly incredible nature of their songs and shows. Such is the case with Cross Record. However, like discovering some previously undetected detail in a book you’ve read or movie you’ve seen a dozen times before, seeing new dimensions of a live performance even after ten or twenty shows is bound to happen.

Cross_Record_062615-6As I watched Cross Record this past Friday night at Radio, the visual arrangement of the show struck me more than ever before. This duo is arresting not only because of their powerful, imposing songs but also because of the interactions and subtle movements of married couple Emily Cross and Dan Duszynski. Of course, since both band members switch instruments regularly or, in the case of Duszynski, play two or three instruments simultaneously, observing the physical musicianship of the live show warrants noting, but the power of the visuals goes further.

Cross_Record_062615-18Since Cross Record’s songs both fall into entrancing grooves and also take surprising turns as they expand and build, the two members have the freedom to move and interact in less predictable patterns. In other words, they aren’t held to the common limitations of rocking out between the chorus and the next verse while otherwise being stuck at the mic to sing. Cross backs away from the microphone and gazes at the ceiling as the song rolls forward meditatively. Duszynski watches her with intensity. Cross turns her eyes to Duszynski as they both break from separate picking patterns to strum the same distorted chord in four synchronized bursts. Both Duszynski’s and Cross’s mouths open in tandem to emit a long, rising cry. It is both visual and aural. As the interplay is limited to two actors alone, watching their movements creates a sense of intimacy. Duszynski raises an eyebrow and Cross tries unsuccessfully to repress a smile. We are watching something special and genuine.

Cross_Record_062615-12Cross Record is one of Austin’s best and most distinct voices. Their live show enhances their songs without being stilted or forced. Rather than rock out, Cross and Duszynski use understated yet deliberate action to amplify the tone and aesthetics of their art. If you haven’t seen them, get on it. Their next show is Wednesday July 8th at Cheer Up Charlies.

Black_Brick_062615-5Black Brick, the project of Jimmy Magliozzi, opened the night with a set of solo songs, although the outfit usually consists of a full lineup. Using drum machine on about half the songs, Magliozzi performed an airy set of material falling somewhere between garage rock and 70s R&B. Dig more of their tunes here.

All photographs © Bryan C. Parker & Pop Press International; all rights reserved. Click any image to open in slideshow viewer.

About author
Bryan Parker is a writer and photographer living and working in Austin, TX. He is the founder of blog Pop Press International and print journal True Sincerity and recently released his first book, a volume on Beat Happening in the 33 1/3 series.

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