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Sunday 29 September 2019

A View From The Back Of The Room: Static X (Live Review By Matt Bladen)

Static X, Soil, Wednesday 13 & Dope, Tramshed, Cardiff

The late 90's and early 00's was an odd time for metal music, grunge was dead and post-grunge had come out of it with bands like Nickelback and Godsmack leading the way, however on the heavy side bands like Slipknot lead the way, but in their wake their was glut of bands for disenfranchised youths and outsiders to latch on to. I will profess I was never one of these youth's purely because my musical upbringing consisted of 70's rock monsters and lots of prog so I was happy in my little world thank you. However for some bands such as Static X became cult acts, so when their frontman Wayne Static passed away in 2014, many were shocked and saddened, those same people made up when three quarters of the original band Tony Campos (bass), Koichi Fukuda (guitar), Ken Jay (drummer) reformed the band in tribute to Static, bringing in an unidentified vocalist/guitarist, only known as Xer0 sporting a Wayne Static death mask, to mark the 20th anniversary of their album Wisconsin Death Trip.

First though there was the support acts to get through and they two were in that group of bands who were at their height during the early 00's and who heavily featured on some of the WWF/WWE albums from that period. The first band of the night were New York Nu Metal crew Dope (7) who kicked things off with a band blasting out their thumping industrial tinged grooves to a packed house. Songs such as Blood Money, 6-6-Sick and Die Motherfucker Die all well received, frontman Edsel waxing lyrical about how they haven't played the UK a lot especially 'back in the day', continuing the retrospective feel of the evening, though with such a short set a little less talking would have been appreciated. Still it was a whirlwind of noise and groove and Dope had the grebos and goths in the audience bouncing along, there was even some singing along for their cover of Dead Or Alive's You Spin Me Round (Like A Record).

Next up was the modern master of macabre Wednesday 13 (5) who is part Rob Zombie part Alice Cooper but unfortunately for all of his visual stimuli, masks, paint, screens, props etc musically they were bog standard and vocally he is abysmal croaking through the set that concluded with I Love To Say Fuck a song from his days in Frankenstein's Drag Queens From Planet 13, he went down a storm but for me it was dire.

So it was with anticipation I waited for the band I'd actually come to see, American alternative hard rock band Soil (8) who exploded out of the blocks with Breaking Me Down their usual call to arms which had Ryan McCombs barking down the mic as they drew mainly from Scars with a smattering of Re.De.Fine, as they ploughed through the set there were numerous calls for their big hit Halo, but Ryan explained that if they played Halo at that point then the crowd would have walked out and had a cigarette with a deprecating humour, the crowd laughed at the remark as the band then played a track from Soil without McCombs who delivered it as if it was one of his own after which ti was time for Halo which got the bouncing going again ending their slot with a cover of Lead Belly's Black Betty and reminding me why I really enjoy watching this band, they are for all intents a hard rock band who happened to come at a certain point and were lumped in with a lot the early 00's bands but they have always been a bit more than that, they also served as the perfect special guest for the headliners.

With the stage decked out in massive screens it was time for the part of the evening everyone had been waiting for. The pounding industrial battery of Static X (8) blasted out Bled For Days and there was a massive roar from the audience as they basically played most of Wisconsin Death Trip with some of the rest of their catalogue also aired. The original members assumed their roles once again locking in as if the intervening years hadn't even been there, Xer0 barking down the mic it was like reliving the heady days of the bands glory years. The audience were in their element singing back every line, as images and the words themselves often flashed up on the screens, there was little chit chat save for tributes to Wayne Static with the band calling him their fallen brother. A 17 song setlist flew by in blaze of electronically charged heavy metal. I'd never seen Static X before for the reasons I discussed before but they certainly have a very voracious following on the evidence of the crowd in the Tramshed, especially as there was Bristol date the night after, they managed to impress me with the stage craft and served as a fitting tribute to their fallen talismen. With the promise of a new album too, it looks like this could be the resurrection of Static X.        

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