Review: Nev Pearce
Photography: Luke Petty
A few years after the tragic passing of beloved frontman Wayne Static in 2014, his former bandmates Tony Campos, Ken Jay and Koichi Fukuda decided to regroup and reboot the machine with masked vocalist Xero fronting the band as a tribute to their fallen friend, setting out to celebrate his life and achievements with fans all across the globe.
The response was much bigger than initially anticipated and put the group in high demand, seeing them unleash some unreleased material and make plans to stick around for the long term.
With their massive recent sold-out U.S. tour dates under their belt and the success of their last run here in 2019, the evil disco masters wasted no time in making their way back to Australia once the world had opened up again.
The band have always had a strong following here dating back to 1999 when they released their critically acclaimed album Wisconsin Death Trip and had always made the effort to pay us a visit with every album cycle, so to say that Aussie fans were excited to see them again is an understatement, especially back here in Brisbane at Eaton’s Hill Hotel.
With the stranger things theme coming over the PA Aussie industrial metal legends Witchgrinder hit the stage to an extremely warm welcome.
Kicking in with The Demon Calling, it’s quickly evident as to why these guys are one of our best live acts.
Frontman Trav Everette’s grinding vocals over their heavy as fuck beats and shredding commands your attention from the get-go and as their set progresses with tracks like Bloodlust, Rigor Mortis and the new unreleased Evil Dead-inspired song Dead by Dawn, even the late arrivals to the show are instantly drawn to their high energy performance.
These guys are no strangers supporting much larger bands and give a lot of acts a run for their money, not only are Witchgrinder a great opener but also a treat for anyone who rocked up early to catch them.
It isn’t long before the lights go out and a remix of SOiL’s Halo glitches and echoes throughout the venue causing a rush of fans to run in and pack out the room.
It’s been a long time since we have seen these guys in Aus so it’s understandable that they are greeted with a very loud reception as they rip into Breaking Me Down, the opening track from their phenomenal sophomore album ‘Scars’.
‘We had this idea where would only be playing songs off Scars, if you know it sing along as you probably remember it better than I do’ jokes vocalist Ryan McCombs who is an absolute powerhouse, making it his mission to reach everyone in the room and draw them closer to the stage.
There is even a moment where he is pressured into doing a shoey from a fan’s very dirty-looking work boot and doesn’t back down from the challenge, this is a decision he later seems to regret but pushes on through their set with power and determination.
Wrapping up their slot with favourites Black 7 and mega-hit Halo, SOiL should definitely make the trip back sooner rather than later as there is definitely no love lost here for them even after so many years.
Fans are getting restless to see their industrial metal heroes and when the screen behind the stage lights up with visuals of machine arms building the Static-X logo the entire room erupts from the build-up of anticipation.
Opening with the tracks Permanence, This Is Not, Structural Defect and Black and White to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Machine, you are quickly reminded of how tight and dominating Static-X is live and their production is above and beyond what you would expect from the ticket price.
Frontman Xero does an incredible job and seems to have really found his place within the band’s ranks and gained the respect of the fans who might have been previously sceptical.
Having recently upgraded to the cybernetic 2.0 version, The mysterious frontman’s robotic mask with its red laser eyes and plastic-wired hair is so much cooler to see in real life and a very fitting tribute to the man who once stood in his position.
As the set rolls on with fan favourites Love Dump, Bled for Days and Terminator Oscillator (which got the biggest response) and Get to the Gone, the band dig even further into their career-spanning tracks and even throws in their recently released cover of Nine Inch Nails Terrible Lie that then leads into a very touching visual tribute to Wayne Static during Cold, resulting in a chant of his name which is incredibly moving.
The band wrap up with the classic hits I’m With Stupid and Push It, giving fans exactly what they paid for and more.
I feel sorry for anyone who missed out on this show, not only was it a huge step beyond their previous tour but also a testament that the band is here to stay, and fans have a lot more to look forward to, what an incredible fucking show that was!