It was nearly 20 years ago but I remember it like it was yesterday…My coworkers and I at Subway were closing down the store and as per our usual nightly ritual we played whatever music we wanted while cleaning up. Mind you, when it came to music I was a complete dumb ass! I was sheltered and pretty much listened to whatever music my conservative Christian mother allowed me to. So when people tried speaking to me about music, I pretty much tried to make up some excuse as to why I didn’t know about certain bands without embarrassing myself. Well this particular night, I made a comment that STILL echoes in my mind to this day. I said, “All heavy music sounds the same” when asked how why I didn’t listen to Metal. The truth was, at that time my 16 year old self didn’t know the different between AC/DC and White Zombie, I was quite literally talking out my ass. My boss scoffed and replied “Dude, I bet you haven’t heard anything like this….and he hit play on Wisconsin Death Trip.
“Corrosive..Tainted by my sin, I’m spilling blood and I can’t hardly contain it!” Blasted out of the speakers! The iconic lyrics to Static-X’s first smash hit Push It , burned into my brain and that moment would forever change my life. Even typing those words now, I get the chills. He was right, I had never heard music like this! As far as I am concerned Static-X ignited a passion for heavy music that has not wavered to this day. That is why when I heard they were headed out on tour to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the album, I just had to be there. I needed to not only attempt to relive some of my youth but also, I wanted to see if the late, great Wayne Static could ever truly be replaced.
Kicking off the night at San Antonio’s Aztec Theater was one of the hottest new bands in Metal, Raven Black. I remember seeing this band about a year and a half ago in a small hole in the wall venue in Rochester NY. I remember thinking how talented they were and I definitely hoped they would eventually end up on a big tour like this. They give off an “Evil Carnival” type vibe but they are some of the nicest people you could ever hope to meet. Spending much of the night signing autographs for people and taking photos. They most certainly know how to rock HARD! So if you plan on going to see Static-X make sure you get there early to catch these guys.
Next up was Wednesday 13, a band that I haven’t had the pleasure of seeing before today but boy were they heavy! The crowd exploded as they took the stage and quite honestly it felt like being caught up in a tornado of music for the next 30-45 minutes. Fog, glow in the dark paint and lights might be part of the show but these guys are seasoned musical professionals and could easily rock just as hard with or without the stage show. They have a new album “Necrophaze coming out in September so be on the look out for that. You can also be sure I will be marking my calendar next time they come into town.
Dope was the next band up and they brought back soooo many great memories from my youth. I remember following these guys around on tour with Primer 55 and Fear Factory back in the day. I have two forearm tribal tattoos because of Edsel Dope haha! To say that I spent hours and hours of my youth listening to “Felons and Revolutionaries” would be an understatement. I know it might seem like such a silly thing but seeing them again gave me such a deep sense of euphoria. So many bands from the late 90’s and 00’s have slowly faded away with time but it was great to see that these guys could still command a crowd all these years later. I did get punched in the back of the head on accident by a fan first pumping during their set but ya know what? “I don’t care nothing about it!”
I want to begin speaking about Devildriver by saying that Dez Fafara is a legend. I consider guys like Dez and Wayne Static some of the founding fathers of the “Nu Metal” movement of the early 2000’s. Sadly, in all my time going to shows I was never able to see Coal Chamber perform live but I was obsessed none the less. Devildriver were absolutely brutal and for the first time in a while I found myself actually considering starting my own mosh pit…yeah… at 36 years old. It was a momentary but almost overwhelming urge brought on by Heavy Metal in it’s purest and most raw form, I decided to not risk it. However, Devildriver would be responsible for my neck pain the following day….as I am pretty sure I spent most of the set headbanging. On top of that they played “Fiend” which is my all time favorite Coal Chamber song! All in all this night was exceeding all expectations for me but was still skeptical heading into the final performance of the night. Would I be disappointed??? Would this end up a weak tribute to Wayne Static?
Static-X was back and filled with just as much high energy as they always had. I am pretty sure as soon as “Bled for Days” kicked in the entire roof blew off the Aztec Theater. Ken, Tony and Koichi had people going absolutely mental from start to finish. While many rumors have circulated about who the mystery singer is, I simply do not care. He did an excellent job filling the giant shoes left behind by the late lead singer. I can almost imagine Wayne smiling down from Heavy Metal Heaven as they continue to tour in tribute of their fallen friend. They played every song from WDT and a few choice others. I can’t say that Static-X will ever truly be the same without Wayne Static but coming from someone who has loved this band since he was 16 years old….this version is almost as amazing as the original. Check them out before it’s too late!!
Photos and Editorial by Derek Jones