LIVE PHOTOS: Static-X, Wednesday 13, Raven Black
Review by Greg Maki
It was the early 2000s all over again, as the reconstituted Static-X, celebrating the 20th anniversary of its debut album “Wisconsin Death Trip” and the life of the late Wayne Static, led a bill featuring DevilDriver, fronted by ex-Coal Chamber vocalist Dez Fafara; Dope, also marking the 20th anniversary of its debut, “Felons and Revolutionaries”; and Wednesday 13, who rose to fame with the Murderdolls. Fans packed into Baltimore Soundstage on a hot summer night, selling out the venue in advance, eager to take a peek inside this traveling time capsule.
It wasn’t all about nostalgia, though. Raven Black, a self-described “dark metal carnival” that formed in 2012 in Los Angeles, kicked things off. The band’s theatrical stage show—including the band members covered in makeup and/or masks, and singer Raven incorporating a variety of props, such as an umbrella and a giant, stuff teddy bear—was a perfect table-setter for the night, drawing the audience into another world, where they would remain for the next few hours.
Wednesday 13 also wasn’t thinking much about the past. The horror rocker’s set leaned entirely on the darker, heavier material of his recent albums. With a wild, makeup-heavy new look, he dialed the camp factor almost all the way down. And though he wore masks and brought out other props like he has through the years, this was Wednesday as we’ve never seen him before. For an artist who performs songs about death, dismemberment and necrophilia, he’s never actually seemed scary—until now. I’m intrigued to see where he’s going with this on his next album.
Dope, on the other hand, filled its set with familiar tunes, including “Addiction,” the crowd-pleasing “Die Motherfucker Die” and the Dead Alive cover “You Spin Me Round,” which frontman Edsel Dope introduced as “the stupidest song ever written.” Edsel also talked about how much Dope and Static-X toured together two decades ago, when both were young bands hitting the road to support their first records. With longtime guitarist Virus still onboard, Dope remains a formidable force in 2019, and a large portion of the crowd would have been happy to see the band play longer than its allotted 30 minutes.
DevilDriver was next to the stage, playing a career-spanning (and beyond) set that lasted nearly an hour. A pair of Coal Chamber covers, ”Loco” and “Fiend,” along with a rendition of AWOLNATION’s “Sail,” garnered the biggest reactions, but the crowd was with Dez and company throughout the performance, with pits raging and crowd surfers flying. Video boards behind the band helped the show seem larger than what you normally see in a club the size of Soundstage, and that feeling only increased when Static-X took the stage.
The tour was billed as a co-headliner, but it was clear who the main attraction was. I’ll admit I slept on Static-X a bit when the band was active in the early 2000s and was a bit shocked by the devoted following it has in 2019.
Images of Wayne Static, who passed away in 2014, filled the video boards throughout the 90-minute set, and the band’s new singer, credited as “Xer0,” wore a mask that made him look like a zombie version of Wayne, along with that unforgettable, trademark hair. It’s been strongly rumored that the vocalist is Edsel Dope, and my eyes and ears agree. He pulled it off remarkably well, eerily channeling Weyne’s vocal mannerisms so much that if you closed your eyes, you might question whether Wayne was really gone. The band—bassist Tony Campos, guitarist Koichi Fukuda and drummer Ken Jay—hasn’t missed a beat, recreating that bouncy yet menacing “evil disco” sound like it was 2000 all over again.
The most well-known songs—”Cold,” “I’m with Stupid” and “Push It”—naturally were saved for last, sending the capacity crowd home happy and begging for more.