It’s been 5 years since the unfortunate death of Static-X’s iconic frontman Wayne Static. After the event the band split up, but recently they got back together to release an album of previously unreleased songs titled Project Regeneration featuring Wayne’s vocals as well as guest vocalists. They added a tour in celebration of Wisconsin Death Trip’s release 20 years ago as well as celebrating the life and work of Wayne Static, featuring an incognito frontman named Xer0 and the original line up from the album.
The night kicked off at full speed with Dope. They had a short set of 6 songs only and they made the most of it. Some bands sound better live than they do on record and Dope are certainly one of them – their record production doesn’t do their live show enough justice. The crowd seemed to still remember well their songs and in particular their cover version of Dead or Alive’s “You Spin Me Round (Like a Record)”.
It wasn’t long before Wednesday 13 was on stage with his band and his brand of horror punk. For an opening act, it was surprising to see the variety of characters that Wednesday 13 was able to play during the show. With each song a new mask, outfit or variation of the previous one was worn to create an atmosphere that beats most horror houses and takes inspiration from classic horror films. I would expect nothing less from this act, but I was still impressed by it. While the theatrical aspect of the show helps, musically there was also merit and the band put on a solid performance.
After a fairly long intro consisting of a sort of remix of some of their hits, SOiL hit the stage with the pounding drums and crunchy guitar riffs of “Breaking Me Down”, a great song to open the set. The band was just getting warmed up though, and kept delivering a very American-sounding style of hard rock while stepping it up a notch at each song. They finished on a high note with “Halo”, certainly a recognizable song that prompts sing-alongs and arms to go up in the air and should need no introductions, and before calling it a night, the band treated the audience to their cover of Ram Jam’s “Black Betty”.
It’s never easy for a band to overcome the death of their frontman, especially one so iconic such as Wayne Static. While Static-X made sure that Wayne’s memory was respected and the decision was made for the current singer and guitarist to be masked and remain unknown and simply named Xer0 (there are rumours that he is in fact Edsel Dope of the band Dope), I was still a bit apprehensive about what to expect and how it would all go down. That apprehension quickly faded the moment the band started playing. Xer0 perfectly personifies Wayne Static in how he looks, how he moves as well as how he sounds. It’s not to say that you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference, but it keeps the memory of Wayne Static alive and makes it feel like he is present.
As would be expected, every single track of Wisconsin Death Trip was played during the show, and they also managed to squeeze in a few popular tracks from other albums. There were no songs from the upcoming album surprisingly. It was a true celebration of death disco and the original members of the band seemed to enjoy themselves as much as the crowd did.
Photos by Luis Rodrigues