Words: Lucy Walker
Photos: Adrian Hextall \ MindHex Media
How does one begin to review this 4 band bill…. quite simply “What can I say…. this line up!”
It’s a simple sentiment but, this ticks every box for everyone that attended the gig in London. A case of the perfect line up. We thought that they could never occur, always one band on the bill that the promoter insisted on adding or the support are just label mates with the headliner, the list goes one. The ones to lose out, the fans as they get the band the were hoping for plus others that don’t fit with their love of a style or genre. For this reviewer, for the one night in London when Static-X returned with their ‘Wisconsin Death Trip – 20th Anniversary show in tribute to the late Wayne Static, the stars aligned, the bill was perfect. The four hours of music that kicked off with Dope gave every band the opportunity to deliver a decent length set and didn’t leave hardcore fans of each act feeling short changed.
+ Dope +
Dope were up first and they are a band I have never had a chance to see so of course this was a big deal. There is a rumour that Edsel Dope is in fact Xer0 filling in for the late Wayne Static on the Wisconsin Death Trip 20th Anniversary tour so this may be the reason why but I still wanted more. Their set only had 7 tracks performed – maybe saving his voice for later on? The venue was fairly packed even this early on as Dope were said to be playing at 6:30pm. Now I have been waiting for a long time to get the opportunity to see this band and even though it was short, they did not disappoint as their set basically played tracks from nearly every one of their albums (they excluded their debut album) including some favourites such as ‘Burn’ from 2003’s ‘Group Therapy’ and my personal favourite ‘Die Motherfucker Die’ from 2001’s ‘Life’. Of course we all chanted ‘I’ and screamed out Die Mother… you get the idea.. Die MF Die is such a happy singalong kind of song. The band jumped around on the stage which was reduced so it was pretty impressive to see so much energy and Edsel Dope made the most of the space he had. I cannot lie that maybe my favourite bit was when they played possibly the best ever cover I have heard of Dead or Alive’s ‘You Spin Me Round’ which I will never tire of hearing and now seeing! I need them to come back on a headline tour!!
A friend of mine went to Bloodstock this year and came back raving about the Wednesday 13 show. He did not disappoint. I am not sure I would normally listen to their albums as it is not really my thing but then maybe now is the time to start. The whole vibe of their show has elements of Alice Cooper maybe mixed up with a Rob Zombie and you feel like you have travelled back in time to a 50’s b movie though this also reminds me of Queens of the Stone Age’s I Appear Missing video though the music is maybe not so much like that. They provide a horror show and the costumes and outfits they wear alone pull you into the dystopian horror of maybe what they are singing about. The music though does not seem to tally with the show and I did hear elements of punk in there. Wednesday 13 himself is such a showman with his many disguises, each one more horrific than the next, and when he is singing and telling you to ‘Get Your Grave On’, you do it! For me, the best part was their performance of ‘I Love to say Fuck’ helped along by the delightful Pyrohex holding up prompt cards with the word ‘Fuck’ just in case we had forgotten the word. There were definitely many Wednesday 13 fans there who got into their performance totally but I think I need to see them again and maybe with a bigger stage and more fire. They just seem to be that sort of band that are good at playing with fire.
When I was standing in the queue to get in, I heard many people discussing who they were there to see and even though a lot of the bands were mentioned, the two favourites were Static X (of course) and SOiL. I have a feeling that the fans had been as excited to see this band perform as seeing Static X and I am guessing that this may have contributed to the sold out status for this show. When the stage was being set up to welcome the guys, even though the crowd had felt pretty full before, there was a sudden swell of people into the pit who had obviously moved down from the bar and surrounding areas to get close to see this band. I had expected this to certainly happen when the main act came on but you could feel the excitement from the crowd as they waited to see this band play. As soon as they came out, the roar erupted and straight away they kicked into the intro their first song ‘Bringing It Down’ (love this song) and the crowd heaved!! Of course they did not forget the reason why they were there and front-man Ryan McCombs spoke of the time when he was out of action and Wayne Static stepped in to help the band and as a tribute, played ‘Give It Up’ and I may have had a tear in my eye. Played tracks from all the albums that Ryan has been the lead vocalist apart from the obvious ‘Give It Up’ which is from Ture Self and originally sung with AJ Cavalier. If you looked at the crowd, they knew these songs and jumped and sang along to it all and I am glad that they played so many tracks such as ‘Unreal’ and of course their huge hit ‘Halo’, they also did a fun cover of ‘Black Betty’ to round things off. Apart from Ryan letting us know that he is now an honorary Brit (well he lives in the UK now woohoo!), which of course got a cheer, I can honestly say it was a rip roaring ride for all of us and we still had Static X to come…
I was not sure how I felt about Xer0 playing in the role of Wayne Static though I understand the sentiment behind it. It was the image of him wearing Wayne Static like death mask that made me feel uncomfortable but after hearing Xer0 explaining that he did not want to take away from the idea and memory of these songs being performed by Wayne and also now we know that the band are releasing in May next year featuring 12 brand new songs with the last known vocals by Wayne Static, I understand now. It is the best thing to do. I also have to say, that after seeing this band perform so tightly and almost like Wayne was there, it worked. Xer0 and the band pulled it off. I adore Static X and as soon as they kicked into ‘Bled’ from the ‘Wisconsin Death Trip’ which is apt for this album’s 20th anniversary tour, I was jumping and surrounded by many other equally bouncy people. They of course played many tracks from the album which of course was why we were here but I know in the queue, we were talking about what they would perform and there were hopes for certain tracks and they did not let us down. They played for example ‘Black and White’ from their second album ‘Machine’ and of course ‘Cold’ from the same album. Watching the band perform together was quite simply mesmerising when not jumping about like a lunatic because even after all these years, the band are as tight as ever and with Koichi Fukuda jumping up and down on the amps and Tony Campos on bass having a whale of a time, it felt like nothing had changed. When you throw in Xer0 who scarily moved and performed like Wayne was there, I had the most amazing time ever – I wish I was still there. I did notice that towards the end of the set, Xer0 looked like he was struggling slightly with taking on these vocals and had to retreat to the stage for a good while trying to hydrate his vocal cords but he did the most touching and fantastic job of honouring Wayne Static and made us feel he was there with us. It will be interesting to see how they tour their new album if they do and if they will work with Xer0 again. I hope so.
December (Intro Tape)
Bled for Days
Wisconsin Death Trip
Sweat of the Bud
The Trance Is the Motion
Get to the Gone
Black and White
This Is Not
Start a War
I’m With Stupid
Stem (Outro Tape)