Static X – Gig Review & Photo Gallery 19th May @ Northcote Theatre, Melb VIC
Northcote Theatre, Melbourne VIC
May 19th, 2023
Supports: SoiL and Witchgrinder
It’s a typical rainy almost-winter night in Melbourne and we find ourselves inside the beautiful Northcote Theatre, for the long-awaited return of Los Angeles’ industrial metallers Static-X, along with Chicago’s SoiL, and Melbourne’s own Witchgrinder. The venue itself is a split-level theatre with a central bar downstairs, and another upstairs with a lovely view of the rest of the venue. The Northcote Theatre is a quirky venue, but one thing it has that is a plus is a cordoned-off area on the front left-hand side of the stage for people with accessibility needs, which is really exciting and pleasing to see for inclusivity.
Kicking off the night were the hometown boys Witchgrinder, who will be supporting the band across all three tour dates. The four-piece are a crossover of industrial and thrash and have some of the best hair in the Melbourne music scene. The building crowd was extremely responsive to the band, cheering quite loudly at the completion of each song. There was minimal interaction between each track from vocalist and guitarist Travis Everett and the audience, but that took absolutely nothing away from the performance. Witchgrinder also debuted a new track ‘Dead By Dawn’, which is heavy and thrashy and everything we love about the Melbournites, and the crowd loved it – if the enthusiastic response was anything to go by. We were also informed that a new Witchgrinder album is on the horizon, with a release anticipated later this year, so watch this space!
Next was SoiL, who utilised Rob Zombie‘s ‘Living Dead Girl‘ as their final pre-set track. From the moment they hit the stage, there was nothing but energy being bounced back and forth between the band and the crowd. The type of music that SoiL play is very much party rock, which meant that the mosh pit was halfway between a pit, and a dance party. They were incredibly tight and clean musically, reminding me a little bit of 80’s glam in the way it was heavy, but dancey at the same time. The guys were super interactive with the crowd with vocalist Ryan McCombs telling us all “we decided we’d go back in time and play songs from our album Scars“, which was met with enthusiasm from the crowd. Audience members on both levels of the venue were super into them, and by their final song, almost everyone in the room was singing along. Importantly, before the band left the stage McCombs reminded us “Always remember the music starts with you, always remember the music ends with you, you make this happen” and with what the pandemic did to the live music scene, I think that that is something that everyone needs to hear.
I always love when bands use songs to hype up the audience before they take to the stage, Static-X did this with three different jams, starting with Neil Diamond’s classic ‘Sweet Caroline‘, which led into ‘Walk’ by Pantera, then finally Time Warp from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, and every single person in the room sang along (I even spotted several people doing the time warp while it played). Singer and guitarist Xer0 debuted a new mask at the start of the Rise Of The Machine Tour, which was made by Eddie Yang and his Diety Creative. Eddie has worked on films such as Avatar, Iron Man, and Man Of Steel to name a few, and the mask itself is an homage to the late great Wayne Static and his look during the band’s Wisconsin Death Trip era.
Xer0 has been a part of Static-X since 2019 following Wayne’s tragic passing in 2014, and he’s spent years crafting his copy of Wayne, while also being uniquely himself. Xer0 was also consistently in communication in the crowd, whether it was during ‘Structural Defect’ where he was telling us “Everybody fucking jump” which both levels of the venue absolutely did, or in ‘Just In Case’ when we were all asked to put our phone torches and lighters up in the air.
The tour is a celebration of the 20th anniversary of the album Machine, albeit a couple of years late due to the pandemic, but Static-X played songs from various albums, not just that one. I would love to know if the lights in Xer0’s mask blind him on the inside, because they’re incredibly bright, but the look overall is very cool, and it’s a touching tribute to Wayne and shows that the band aren’t trying to replace him, and are making sure that his legacy lives on. ‘Terminator Oscilator‘ was one of the highlights of the set for me, purely because of the trippy, hypnotic purple and green swirling background, and overall the production during the whole set was incredible. Bassist Tony Campos took the time to introduce each band member at the tail end of the set with drummer Ken Jay being referred to as “Wayne’s original partner in crime” and Xer0 being referred to as ‘Version 2.0′ because of the new costume being used for this tour. Whilst there was a lot of moshing and singing going on, the track that was definitely sung loudest was ‘Cold‘, which most people will know from The Queen Of The Damned soundtrack, and the song is dedicated to the memory of Wayne. The final two songs of the night also included some giant red, white and black balls being bounced around in the crowd, before they closed out the night with ‘Push It‘, which was the first song I ever heard by Static-X and the one that got me into the band due to it being featured in the Duke Nukem 3D video game.
It was an absolutely incredible night, and although I was a little worried about Xer0’s Wayne Static mask coming off a little cheesy, it absolutely was one of the highlights and shows just how much Wayne and his memory mean to the remaining members of Static-X. The LA quartet are regular visitors to Australian shores and I’m already looking forward to when they come back.
Gig Review by Kelsey Trevan @kelsey_139
This Is Not
Black and White
Wisconsin Death Trip
Bled for Days
Sweat of the Bud
Just in Case
Get to the Gone
Terrible Lie (Nine Inch Nails cover)
I’m With Stupid
Photo Gallery by Clinton Hatfield. Insta: @ampd.agency.
Please credit Wall of Sound and Clinton Hatfield if you report photos.