Sunday July 7th. Reverb – Reading, PA
It’s hard to turn down a chance to see a band you grew up with when they reform after a decade. Even rarer considering the loss of the most recognizable figure, in this case, Wayne Static of Static-X. The original line-up has reformed for a round of touring (celebrating 25 years since their debut and best-known album ‘Wisconsin Death Trip’) and work on a new album to utilize Wayne’s final vocal recordings. The fact that they are performing with a masked frontman who goes by XER0 only added to the morbid curiosity.
Things truly got started inside with theatrical band, Raven Black. You want makeup, masks and carnival elements? Check! How about a hula hoop, a giant teddy bear and the sense that Tim Burton films are on regular rotation in the tour bus? Double check! In all seriousness, they are an energetic newer band with a charismatic frontwoman that can certainly continue to grow and reach wider audiences.
Wednesday 13 was next and to those who haven’t kept up, the stage show and look has evolved. He was covered in paint with loads of neon and a mask on the back of his head. The pictures really say it all.
Dope was a big opener that I had some familiarity with from back in the day. The set wasn’t overly long but the hits I was familiar with were present “Die M.F. Die” and “You Spin Me Right Round.” This tour was also a 20 year celebration of Dope’s debut release ‘Felons and Revolutionaries.’ But being a memorial for the late Wayne Static, it was downplayed save for a few mentions from frontman Edsel Dope during in-between song banter.
By this point in the evening, show was starting to really fill in. With more people meant more heat which became a theme.
DevilDriver was next and they ran through a solid hour with a wide variety of material from all aspects of their lengthy career. There were even a few Coal Chamber classics thrown in toward the end (“Loco” and “Fiend”). As was slightly the case earlier in the evening and especially for the first 2/3 of Devildriver’s set, the mix was…..not great. The vocals and guitars were a bit too low in the mix which prompted Dez to demand that things be turned up. This went a large way toward fixing the issue. Still, it was probably something that should have been picked up on much earlier.
The venue was clearly at full capacity partway through Devildrier and the heat inside was sweltering. Musicians were even commenting on it throughout the night. Normally a few drinks are spilled throughout the evening but the venue floor was coated and slick with sweat. A brief sojourn outside to the now abandoned outdoor stage was the only respite from this. Fortunately, a light rain and a Mountain Dew went a long way.
Large screens were utilized by the last 3 bands of the evening, especially heavily by our headliners Static-X. Old images of the band, new animations, lyrics, messages of tribute to Wayne Static all punctuated the background. In fact, the screens led us through a protracted opening before the band came out and started with “December” before going right into “Bled For Days”. The first 9 songs were all from ‘Wisconsin Death Trip’ before they launched into samplings of some of their bigger songs from most of the other albums. “Get To The Gone,” “This Is Not,” and “Start A War” were personal highlights. Of course things ended with “Push It” as a show of this magnitude without it would be woefully incomplete.
Before all of that, I was lucky enough to speak to Static-X bass player, and really, the guy who had the biggest part in putting all of this together, Tony Campos. We talked a bit about the tour, the album, the old days, an interesting celebrity encounter and more!
Whether this is truly the live farewell or if Static-X will tour on ‘Project Regeneration’ in some capacity remains to be seen. It was my first chance in over a decade to hear a lot of these songs live again, and while a little different, it still evoked a lot of the spirit of the band that I recalled. That’s all I could ever ask. I’ll always have the old memories but this is a cool new one to file along with them.
Go to www.static-x.org to preorder your copy of ‘Project Regeneration’
With several shows on the upcoming Wisconsin Death Trip 20th Anniversary Tour already sold-out, STATIC-X has announced additional dates for this fall. The tour will feature the same lineup of co-headliners DevilDriver and support acts Dope, Wednesday 13 and Raven Black.
WISCONSIN DEATH TRIP 20TH ANNIVERSARY TOUR DATES:
6/18 – Tempe, AZ @ Marquee Theater
6/19 – Albuquerque, NM @ El Rey Theater (Sold Out)
6/21 – Dallas, TX @ Gas Monkey Live
6/22 – Houston, TX @ The Warehouse
6/23 – San Antonio, TX @ The Aztec Theater
6/25 – Atlanta, GA @ Masquerade (Sold Out)
6/26 – Greenville, SC @ The Firmament (Sold Out)
6/28 – Baltimore, MD @ Soundstage (Sold Out)
6/29 – Sayreville, NJ @ Starland Ballroom
6/30 – Scranton, PA @ Levels (Cancelled)
7/2 – Toronto, ON @ Opera House (Sold Out)
7/3 – London, ON @ London Music Hall
7/4 – Ottawa, ON @ Brass Monkey
7/5 – Hampton Beach, NH @ Wally’s (Sold Out)
7/6 – Worcester, MA @ The Palladium
7/7 – Reading, PA @ Reverb (Sold Out)
7/9 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Jergel’s (Sold Out)
7/10 – Cleveland, OH @ Agora Theater
7/11 – Indianapolis, IN @ The Citadel
7/12 – Ft. Wayne, IN @ Clyde Theatre
7/13 – Detroit, MI @ Harpo’s
7/14 – Lexington, KY @ Manchester Music Hall
7/16 – Grand Rapids, MI @ Intersection
7/18 – Cadott, WI @ Cadott Rockfest
7/19 – Sioux City, IA @ Anthem @ Hard Rock Casino (Sold Out)
7/20 – Joliet, IL @ The Forge (Sold Out)
7/21 – Belvidere, IL @ Apollo Theater (Sold Out)
7/23 – Denver, CO @ Oriental Theater (Sold Out)
7/25 – Santa Ana, CA @ The Observatory
7/26 – Los Angeles, CA @ Catch One (Sold Out)
7/27 – Los Vagas, NV @ House of Blues
NEWLY ADDED WISCONSIN DEATH TRIP 20TH ANNIVERSARY TOUR DATES:
11/12 – Baton Rouge, LA @ Varsity Theater
11/13 – New Orleans, LA @ House of Blues
11/15 – Ft. Lauderdale @ Revolution
11/16 – Tampa, FL @ The Orpheum
11/17 – Destin, FL @ Club LA
12/2 – Chicago, IL @ House of Blues
12/6 – Sauget, IL @ Pop’s
12/7 – Lincoln, NE @ Bourbon Theater
12/8 – Colorado Springs, CO @ Sunshine Studios Live
12/10 – Salt Lake City, UT @ The Royal Bar
12/11 – Boise, ID @ Knitting Factory
12/12 – Spokane, WA @ Knitting Factory
12/13 – Portland, OR @ Hawthorne Theatre
12/14 – Seattle, WA @ El Corazon
12/15 – Vancouver, BC @ Rickshaw Theatre
+ More dates TBA!
Words: JJ Ellis
Photos: Henry Chung