Written By: George Archibald
As many packed into Jergel’s Rhythm Grille for the Wisconsin Death Trip 20th Anniversary Tour, these crowd goers were in for a night of mystery and wonder. The topic of the night would be; who is the mystery vocalist standing in for the late Static-X frontman Wayne Static? This topic has sparked quite a debate since the band reformed in preparation for this tour. The subject has become very polarizing, as many have stayed faithful to Wayne and see a stand-in as disrespectful to his memory. This mystery vocalist was picked by the band and has been performing wearing a Wayne Static mask and wig. To further add to this cavalcade of chaos this night, the bands Raven Black, Wednesday 13, Dope and Devildriver would be taking the stage.
Kicking things off was Raven Black, these Los Angeles natives have a knack for the theatric, using props and putting a carnival twist on metal. Vocalist Raven could be seen brandishing a scythe or cuddling a teddy bear while ripping out hellish screams in delight throughout the band’s set. The band’s sound was a mix of heavy guitars paired with rhythmic drumming and circus influenced cadences. The band played through several of their hits: ‘Risen from the Ashes’ and even ‘Carnival.’
Wednesday 13 was up next with their own blend of horror and metal. The band has been touring nonstop this year supporting their latest release Condolences. The band is no strangers to Jergel’s as they performed earlier this year with John 5 at this very venue. Frontman Wednesday 13 put on quite the show, with several costume changes; from glow in the dark body paint to a full Goat mask and pitchfork. This hellish group rocked the crowd as they paid tribute to Wayne Static this night.
Dope took the stage next; frontman Edsel Dope has been on the forefront of the debate of who could be filling the coveted spot as the vocalist of Static-X. His energy this night was quite tame from previous performances I have seen in the past. During their set, Edsel addressed the crowd to speak about his friendship with Wayne and talked about their early years touring with the band; stating their first tour together was Fear Factory, Static-X and Dope before kicking back in. The band’s music got the crowd into a roar, playing through ‘You Spin Me Round’, and even leading a chant of “bang, bang, bang” at the end of ‘Die MF Die.’
Devildriver performed next, led by vocalist Dez Fafara, this band has been crushing out music since 2002. Their stage show was quite a sight to see as there were several LED screens onstage continuously flashing the band’s artwork. The band kicked off things with ‘I Could Care Less,’ the heavy guitar tone and drum flurries got the crowd into a frenzy headbanging away. The high energy set also included the cover of Awol Nation’s ‘Sail,’ ‘Devil’s Son,’ and ‘Clouds over California.’ To wrap up their set, Devildriver performed ‘Loco,’ a song by Dez’s former band Coal Chamber.
Static-X rounded out the night, it was a very nostalgic feeling seeing the band perform again and hearing the music played live. From the first note, you knew this was going to be something special. The band kicked things off with ‘Bled for Days.’ The stand-in vocalist, adorned in the Wayne mask was the perfect doppelgänger for the late vocalist. He even got down many of Wayne’s mannerisms and stage movements during the set. The band played through the Wisconsin Death Trip album; for me, it was a walk down memory lane as this was a very beloved album in my collection from that time. Songs like ‘Love Dump’, ‘Wisconsin Death Trip’, and ‘Push It’ were all well received by the crowd as the new vocalist did a great job performing Static’s iconic vocal lines. This was the perfect way to remember not only a great album but also to pay tribute to the great frontman. This is a must-see tour in my book if you are a fan, and want to see the music live once again.
All photos courtesy of Josh Drespling and Empire Extreme © 2019 http://www.empireextreme.com/