Review: Static-X Rise of the Machine Tour, Columbus, OH

Photos & words courtesy of Harry Acosta — Website | Instagram | Facebook

In high school, I was enrolled in a vocational broadcasting program. We learned about music, the FCC, and everything that goes into running a radio station. We were taught that rock music was the most popular music and country music had the most loyal fanbase of all the major music genres in the U.S. That was more than 30 years ago.

With 5 bands on the ticket, attending this sold out show seemed more like a mini-festival and celebration of the genre.

In 2017, it was reported that hip hop now had the the largest representation on the U.S. charts, and according to Spotify’s data in 2022, the metal genre has the most loyal listeners. The metal community has kept the genre very much alive, and Static-X’s journey is a terrific example of it.

Cultus Black, Twiztid, Dope, Fear Factory , and Static-X at the King of Clubs in Columbus, OH March 30, 2023

With 5 bands on the ticket, attending this sold out show seemed more like a mini-festival and celebration of the genre. Cultus Black promptly began the evening’s celebration. Their performance was dark and swift with a good balance of screams and clean vocals. Their studio recordings were better produced which made it hard for the casual listener to recognize each song, with one exception. If you didn’t recognize Burn (Sick Society) you have either never heard it, or you were the drunk guy in the second row that got kicked out by the next act.

Twiztid, had the same energy that their studio horrorcore released do. If this was your first time hearing of them, you might think they’re trying too hard to be Insane Clown Posse until you realize, they have been around since 1997, and are sanctioned by ICP. Their emphasis is on songwriting. “I want you to learn this song and sing it to your bully”, Jaime Madrox introduced “We Don’t Die”.

Dope frontman, Edsel Dope took several moments between the music to thank the audience and line up for the evening. He made mention of the Alrosa Villa with a vague mention of the tragedy that happened there. This is a great example of the community surrounding metal. 

Nearly 20-years ago, Former Pantera vocalist “Dimebag” Darrell Abbott was gunned down on stage in Columbus’ Alrosa Villa. Over the next 15 years, the club struggled until it finally closed and was demolished in December of 2021. King of Clubs, now celebrating its two year anniversary, has taken the reigns as the venue for metal performances in Columbus. The crowd knows each other. The security knows the crowd. Even the artists know members of the audience. They rely on each other and appreciate the role each has to play. Edsel Dope made sure to let everyone know he was keenly aware of everything that transpired over the last few decades that made this night possible. With this in mind, Die MF Die was absolutely badass to hear live.

Another band getting a new vocalist is Fear Factory. Milo Silvestro was only announced within the last month. This was a great change up. Aside from looking a little younger, he fit right in. We’ll look for Milo to get a face tat or piercing within the coming months.

Fear Factory had a hand in getting the audience energized when a member of Mushroom Head came out in a CBJ jersey; joined in on vocals; and crowd surfed. He was one of only two people allowed to crowd surf throughout night. Who loves crowd surfing more than metal heads, but it simply isn’t allowed at the King of Clubs.

The moments leading up the Static-X taking the stage are worth mentioning. The last-minute-fluffier songs to keep your energy up before they take the stage are important. These were filled with nostalgic moments the crowd could reminisce over with each other. Pretty Hate Machine, Du Hast, Dragula, Breathe, and Walk were all welcome sounds while we waited the extra 15 minutes. I can however say there could not be many people privy to the Squirrel Nut Zipper’s Hell,  and one person shook his head no, while the rest of the audience sang along to Sweet Caroline (Which is just begging for a metalcore makeover).

In the aftermath of the pandemic, Static-X, like many other artists across the nation, have had to reschedule their latest tour. This was only the latest of the challenges LA-based Static-X has faced. They have been together, on and off, since 1994 with their first studio release in 1999. Nearly 30 years, they have had their share of lineup changes. In 2005, Guitarist Tripp Eisen was imprisoned, and most notably lead singer, and co-founder, Wayne Static passed away. 

The band was reincarnated with new frontman Xer0 joining the band on vocals in 2018. For 4 years Xer0 has dressed in a mask and sang in a tone to mimic Wayne Static. This year, Xer0 now has a new look that is bringing new attention to the band for this Rise of the Machine tour. 

The tour could not have happened at a better time. Static-X, Fear Factory, and Dope all have brand new releases; concerts are thriving again; and Xer0’s new look is peaking interest from younger audience members. The not-so subtle clues of the identity of Xer0, are easy for anyone paying attention to affirm their theories. The ticket holders know he’s not Wayne, and there wasn’t a single complaint that Xer0 is the face of Static-X. 

It is not surprising that the genre isn’t going down without a fight. In 1985, Roger Waters left Pink Floyd, and to this day there are those who believe they should no longer Pink Floyd without Waters. As integral a part that Wayne still is to Static-X, the fans aren’t up in arms saying this just isn’t Static-X anymore. The band has taken careful steps to honor and pay tribute to an artist that gained attention far too late. As Xer0 put it, it’s up to the fans if they want us to put out more music. If the turnout of the show and longevity of the genre is to be trusted, we’ll be hearing more music from Static-X within the next few years. Death has never been the end of a legacy with such a strong community.

Harry Acosta is a professional photographer who started out shooting concerts. He is an avid concertgoer and loves to capture his favorite musicians and unseen moments we take for granted in everyday life.

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