BY BRIAN KNEPP | Go Venue Magazine
On July 7th, 2019, I had the opportunity to see one of the biggest tours of 2019; Static-X memorial tribute to Wayne Static/20 year anniversary of Wisconsin Death Trip at Reverb in Reading, PA. The band consisted of the masked mystery front man Xero, as well as the 3 original WDT members Ken, Tony, and Koichi. There has been a lot of spectacle as to who the mystery front man is, but that will not be covered in this review. I personally believe that it adds to the excitement and experience and should just be enjoyed and embraced. The band also brought along quite a few friends on this tour such as Wednesday 13, Dope, DevilDriver, and Raven Black. If you’re wondering, yes DevilDriver did in fact, play 2 Coal Chamber songs (Loco and Fiend) and Dez absolutely knocked it out of the park. I felt like I was watching the original Coal Chamber line up and it still gives me chills when I think about it.
Now, let’s get to the main act of this tour; Static-X. There is a reason that this tour has sold out almost every single date they play, and this night was no different. The band opened up with “December” and a lot of fog, as well as flashes of Wayne and the rest of the band from the Wisconsin Death Trip album booklet. Then, the song stopped and the entire band, and Xero walked out on stage and the crowd broke sound barriers. Strobes flashed and the band immediately went into “Bled for Days” as their first official song of the setlist. As I was taking photographs, I was watching the entire band including Xero. I have to say that he completely and totally captured the spirit of Wayne Static. From the jumping while playing guitar, to his mannerisms, I felt like I was back in 1999 watching Static-X play. Seeing the band interact with him also made me sad for the band. I cannot imagine the pain they go through of missing Wayne during this tour, but they are doing a great job honoring his memory. The band covered so much material from Wisconsin Death Trip such as Love Dump, I’m with Stupid, and The Trance is the Motion. Images of Wayne flashed throughout the show on the big screens behind the band, along with messages such as “we miss you Wayne”. At one point, the crowd was yelling Wayne’s name so loud, I couldn’t hear myself think. The band stopped to do a shot in Wayne’s memory and continued on. The band stopped 3/4 of the way to address the crowd about how thankful that they were that everyone showed up and how much they appreciate the fans and there was one thing I noticed during this; Xero was absent. I looked behind one of the big screens and he was crouched down behind it with his guitar, completely out of sight from the crowd. He made it completely and totally about Wayne and Static-X. After a very emotional night, the band closed with, of course, Push it and they absolutely nailed it. It sounded exactly as it would if Wayne were singing it. As I said before, they did such an amazing job honoring the memory of Wayne, which was the point of this whole tour. If you have the opportunity to see this show, please, do it for your own sake. If it’s not sold out, grab tickets before it is because it won’t be long before they sell all of them. I can almost guarantee Wayne is looking down on the band smiling from ear to ear with pride, absolutely ecstatic with the legacy he has left behind.