Static-X: Wisconsin Death Trip 20th Anniversary Tour
Admittedly, my knowledge of industrial music doesn’t go much further Nine Inch Nails. Knowing I would be photographing for Static-X, I did some research into the genre as an attempt to get a better appreciation for the style. The harsh, transgressive music style was popularized in the late 90s with acts such as Ministry and Marilyn Manson at the forefront. It creates a certain groove, employing repeating guitar riffs, sampling synthesizer lines, and distorted vocals, most prominently in its metal application.
In 1999, Static-X released their major-label debut, Wisconsin Death Trip, a project that wholeheartedly fits into the mold of Industrial metal. Along with being a certified platinum in 2001, the band is celebrating its twenty-year anniversary since its release. With the unfortunate death of their iconic frontman, Wayne Static, in 2014, the band is proceeding with an unknown, masked vocalist under the alias “Xer0.”
Being a celebration of two entire decades, fans old enough to bring their almost-adult kids came out in the hundreds, packing Sauget’s Pop’s nightclub from wall to wall.
Death Trip album-closing song “December” opened their set with a dreamy, atmospheric and synth-laden soundscape. The members took the stage towards the end of the track, flowing straight into the song “Bled For Days,” representing the band’s signature Industrial sound. Guitarist Koichi Fukuda executed cylical, staccato style riffs with support from bassist Tony Campos‘s rhythmic foundation.
Masked vocalist “Xer0” did a near-perfect job emulating late frontman Wayne Static’s vocal style. In both appearance and performance, songs like “Love Dump” and “I Am” had Xer0 bouncing around the stage, banging his Wayne-like spiked hair to the syncopated rhythms.
Other songs like “I’m With Stupid” and set closer “Push It” had Sauget barely on the ground. Crowd surfers and continuous jumping brought a youthful energy to the room, making it feel as though it was the early 2000s once more.
The band played a full hour and a half set, playing every song from their debut effort. With support from fellow industrial, nu-metal tinged bands Mushroomhead and Dope, the bill was everything a die-hard Static-X could want from a show.
Trying to navigate the future of a band after the passing of the singer can seem impossible to figure out. The celebration of their most successful effort to date was an appropriate time to pay a tasteful tribute to one of the genre’s most iconic members. In both appearance and performance, Wayne was a one of a kind musician who left his mark on rock and would be proud of the success of this tour.