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Born in Los Angeles, California, the Industrial Metal project, Static-X, led by the incomparable, Wayne Static, became the forefront of the Nu-Metal boom during the late 90’s. Due to the mainstream success of their debut album, Wisconsin Death Trip, the band quickly emerged as a bridge for other crossover metal acts to follow. With six studio albums to their credit, Wayne Static eventually became the one consistent driving force for the band. In 2014, his life was tragically cut short, causing a wave of sympathy throughout the Metalsphere. With the aim of celebrating the legacy of their friend on the 20 year anniversary of the band’s debut, Static-X’s original line-up reunited. Armed with a new vocalist/guitarist, known only as Xer0, who donned the appearance of the late singer, they performed a series of anniversary shows across North America with Horror-inspired theatrical rock act, Wednesday 13, Portland’s own, Davey Suicide, and Society 1 in support.

Unfortunately, Society 1, the industrial metal act out of Los Angeles, who were first to start the night, began their set at the same time the doors were due to open, confusing not only the audience but the venue staff as well. They sounded great, but I never got a chance to really dig into their set or capture photos under the circumstances presented.  In contrast, Davey Suicide, the eccentric Metal ensemble out of Portland, had quite a show of support from the local scene, while creating an eccentric stage show with musical chops to match.

Wednesday 13 was like a schizophrenic soundtrack to a carnival gone terribly wrong. The band’s mastermind, of the same name, morphed into a physical manifestation of psychosis; knife-wielding and devilish, his eyes staring through the small holes through a mask that could have been created in a madman’s house of horrors. They churned out monstrous and savage songs from their latest album, Necrophaze and a few others from their history.

There was no escaping the media controversy surrounding the reformation of Static-X and the identity of their new mask-wearing, guitarist/vocalist, Xer0. As a loyal fan of the original line-up, I was also torn, having experienced the phenomenon of Static-X in the past and even shaking Wayne Static’s hand in Hawaii over two decades ago. As the dissonant atmosphere of “December” began to emanate throughout the venue and images of Wayne’s face glowed from massive screens above the band, it was clear that this was a celebration of Wayne Static’s louder-than-life personality and the legacy he left behind.

Bassist, Tony Campos, guitarist, Koichi Fukuda and drummer, Ken Jay, played their acclaimed album, Wisconsin Death Trip in its entirety while sprinkling in their most industrious fan-favorites from Machine, “Get to the Gone,” “Black and White” and “This is Not.” Before introducing their next song, Xer0 explained how grateful he was to be onstage paying tribute to his friend and asked the audience to raise their arms in the air during their heartfelt performance of “Cold” for the late Wayne Static. They ended the night with the two tracks that started it all for them, the floor-bouncing, “I’m With Stupid” and their most-applauded crowd favorite, “Push It.”

Remember that music has the ability to transform lives, not only for those who create it but those touched by it as well. Static-X is not just a legacy act trying to relive their glory days, they’re forging a future by celebrating the path they’ve walked. So, forget the naysayers and live life how Wayne Static intended: by keeping disco evil and partying like it’s 1999 all over again.

Raul Soria Jr.

Photojournalist - Portland

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