On November 1st, 2014, fans of the late 90’s and early 2000’s wave of nu-metal and industrial were crushed when news broke of the passing of Wayne Richard Wells, better known as Wayne Static. Wayne was the founder of Static-X and was easily recognized by his stylish spiked hair, energetic stage presence, and unique vocal deliveries. In October 2018, original Static-X members, bassist Tony Campos, guitarist Koichi Fukuda, and drummer Ken Jay, announced that Static-X would rise from the ashes and release a new album, Project Regeneration, late summer 2019. Along with the reformation and album news, the band shocked fans with a tour announcement to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their debut album, Wisconsin Deathtrip. Released on March 23, 1999, Wisconsin Deathtrip quickly put Static-X at the head of the nu-metal movement and is arguably the best album of the band’s discography. Static-X has partnered up with DevilDriver, Dope, Wednesday 13, and Raven Black to round out the nostalgia filled tour line-up that rolled through Gas Monkey Live in Dallas last night for what was only the third stop on the tour.
Originally posted as a three band bill and a start time of 7:00pm, many fans, including myself, were unaware that Wednesday 13 and Raven Black were even on the tour. With a criminally early start time of 6:20pm, I didn’t even get to see Raven Black, but I’m sure they played to a sparse crowd. By 7:00pm the venue had filled in with one of the larger crowds I’ve ever seen at Gas Monkey. The Static-X merchandise line was a sight to behold as it wrapped through the venue, spilling all the way back to the entrance doors. Wednesday 13 took the stage and entertained the crowd with their on stage theatrics, body paint, and costume changes from vocalist, Mr. 13. Musically not my cup of tea, but the visual performance made it an entertaining set for those in attendance. Hooded robes, backwards masks, a glowing mic stand, and what I’ll call interesting dance moves, kept the crowd entertained. After a quick change over, Dope took the stage. Formed in New York City in 1997, Dope is also celebrating the 20th anniversary of their debut album, Felons and Revolutionaries. The heavy guitar tones sparked some of the first movement from the crowd. The set consisted of songs from six of their studio albums and included tracks “Blood Money,” “Bring it on,” and the always classic, “Die Motherfucker, Die.”
Next up, DevilDriver took to the stage and opened their set with “Ruthless.” By that time, the crowd was packed into the venue like sweltering sardines. Bodies slammed into each other as if it were the last time they’d ever get to mosh. If you weren’t paying attention, you were bound to get kicked in the head by a crowd surfer. Led by vocalist Dez Fafara, DevilDriver delivered a crushing set of heavy metal. Dez made it clear that this was a tour to celebrate the life of Wayne Static. Dez told stories of touring with Wayne in years past during the height of their careers. It was an emotionally charged evening and those emotions helped enhance each set of the night. Each member of every band delivered exceptional performances. After blasting through several Devil Driver songs such as “Hold Back The Day,” “Wander,” and “My Night Sky,” the band kicked into their cover of Awolnation’s “Sail”. Then the moment came that many people in the crowd were waiting for, a couple of Coal Chamber covers. Coal Chamber was Dez’s old band that spent countless years performing all over the world next to Static-X. Coal Chamber also happens to be a childhood favorite of mine, so getting to see “ Loco” and “Fiend” live was a dream come true. The set didn’t stop there. DevilDriver continued on with “Clouds Over California” and closed out the blistering set with “End Of The Line.”
Finally the time came that everyone had been waiting for, Static-X. Before they embarked on this anniversary tour, Static-X somewhat answered the main question on everyone’s mind: who would be able to fill the shoes of Wayne? The answer, we’re still not exactly sure, but whoever it is, he’s doing an amazing job. The mystery vocalist had a mask, the same spiked hair, same beard, and a vocal delivery that is as close to the original Wayne style as one could get. Taking on the name Xero, the vocalist appeared to embody the spirit of Wayne in every facet; it was almost haunting. The crowd went into a frenzy as they opened the set with “Bled For Days” and “Wisconsin Deathtrip.” The bass, guitars, and drums were mixed perfectly. If you closed your eyes and listened to the vocals you would’ve thought that Wayne had returned to Earth. The set consisted of Wisconsin Deathtrip in its entirety. They also mixed in tracks “Cold” and “Black And White” from Machine, as well as “Behemoth” from Cannibal and “Destroy All” from Shadow Zone. Memory photos of Wayne were displayed on the giant projector screens that surrounded the stage. I can’t imagine the pressure of paying homage to not only someone’s art, but their entire life. Static-X exceeded my expectations and I’m sure Wayne wouldn’t hesitate to put his stamp of approval on the work that they are doing. Don’t miss this tour. You never know when, or even if, it will happen again.
– Corey Smith
– click to enlarge photos –