WORDS BY JONATHAN GRAY AND PHOTOS BY MAURICE NUNEZ | Go Venue Magazine
It was Ozzfest July of 1999 that I first heard Static-X. Instantly, like many others, I was blown away and hooked. The new sound of metal that was set aside from the Nu metal scene. The mesmerizing and captivating presence of the now iconic front man Wayne Static. Unfortunately the metal world was shocked to learn that in 2014 Wayne had passed away. Many I’m sure thought that this was the end of Static-X. Only to discover that a reunion, memorial and celebration of the freshman album ‘Wisconsin Death Trip’ being now 20 years old was upon us.
They were coming to my backyard of Orange County and playing at The Observatory. The show was completely Sold Out. When I learned that the lineup would consist of Raven Black, Wednesday 13, Dope, Devildriver and of course the remaining original members of Static-X with a front man only named Xero, I had to be there.
So let’s start with the opening band, Raven Black. I have seen them before with Cradle of Filth last march. They were just as good as tonight. With the frontwoman half girl/half doll walking around with an umbrella, over-sized teddy bear and a Morning star (medieval club-like weapon) simply draws you in. They have become one of my favorite bands. With the frontwoman’s melodic singing to her dark growls, Raven can do it all. This is one band I look eager to see move up the ranks and headline their own tour.
Following Raven Black was Wednesday 13. He’s definitely a very theatrical and dark performer. With the outrageous costumes and props alongside the dramatic front man, there is without a doubt a new horror king in metal. These days he is known as the duke of spook and rightfully so.
Dope was up next and you can start to feel the emotion of why we gathered here tonight, to remember Wayne. Dope played a 5-song set and kept the energy flowing. Great to see Acey Slade on bass. For those that are Misfits fans, they know Acey as the 2nd guitarist for the OG Misfits reunion shows. This set the stage for the next band, Devildriver.
Devildriver is fronted by legendary Coal Chamber vocalist Dez Fafara. A blistering set that surely pumped up the crowd where there were multiple crowd surfers and a pit to write home about. With the chilling growls and deep body vibrating double bass, this definitely gave the crowd a 2nd wind. They played 2 songs from iconic band Coal Chamber, “Loco” and “Fiend.” The crowd went nuts with nostalgia. With Dez paying homage to their falling friend and our hero Mr. Static.
And finally, what we all came here for, it was now time, for the grand finale. Static-X took the stage and instantly there was a presence felt in the entire room, Wayne’s spirit and energy was upon us. Holding back the tears of emotions, I was sent back 20 years as I watched them, without them skipping a beat, tear the house down. Front man Xero wore a mask that looked like Wayne as well as the hairstyle. The sound was spot on as everyone was feeling the energy. They played a grueling set of 17 songs. About halfway through the music stopped, the bassist had everyone hold up a drink as the band members took a shot to salute and honor Wayne. It was beautiful as well as a badass moment that I myself will never forget. Finally ending with the first song off the already legendary album, “Push It.” The crowd lost their minds as the pit got bigger and crazier. What an incredible and emotional night in metal history. Thank you to all the bands and thank you to Wayne Static for giving us 20 years of greatness, memories, and true metal music. RIP you will not be forgotten. Raise your horns!