Live Review: Static-X w/Dope, Soil & Wednesday 13 @ Camden Electric Ballroom

The 20th Anniversary World tour for Wisconsin Death Trip in tribute to Wayne Static rolls into London tonight with Static-X surrounded by controversy that hasn’t stopped fans from buying tickets and selling out venues globally. A new album entitled “Project Regeneration” has been crowd funded with original producer Ulrich Wild at the helm that will see the band completing a collection of partially completed songs with full vocals from Wayne Static himself. Ministry and mastermind Al Jorgensen has been tapped up to appear as well, Static-X having paid tribute to them with a cover of “Burning Inside” many Moons ago. Part of the controversy that surrounds the tour is around the ghostly figure of Xer0, who fronts Static-X and plays guitar in Wayne Static’s shoes wearing a death mask. Who that person is has never been officially reviled by the band, however it is obviously¬†Dope frontman and guitarist Edsel Dope from the footage we’ve seen online. Put simply, he fits the bill. Loves industrial Metal, has his own band in the genre who have opened every single show of the tour and the clincher being that he has the same stage mannerisms and presence, no matter how hard he tries to hide it. Not that it matters because we love both bands and not having had the chance to see them previously, tonight is a total nostalgia trip.

Dope [8/10] are a band we’ve enjoyed since their 2001 sophomore album “Life” came out and would have paid to see on their own as a headliner. Having them on board with Edsel Dope pulling double duty is a master stroke. Not only because the two bands toured together the first time around, but because the genres cross nicely and it’s also the 20th Anniversary of their debut album “Felons And Revolutionaries”. The odd thing about the billing is that we have four bands instead of three so the pair of openers only get 30 minutes a piece but it is what it is. Opening up with “Blood Money” they play a career spanning set with Virus tearing it up on the guitars. Hopefully the “Blood Money Pt. II” album that we’ve had a cover of “Theives” by Ministry from isn’t going to be too much further down the track.

The Wisconsin Death Trip Tour has had a co-headliner from the start with Devildriver appearing in the US but even so, a band the size of Wednesday 13 [9/10] on the bill is excellent, especially as they have new album “Necrophaze” appearing tomorrow via Nuclear Blast. Wednesday 13 himself is the complete showman, going through a series of quick costume changes that don’t delay things. First he’s got a head with a flashlight on his head, then he’s an alien with neon body paint before he’s a space Warlord during “Hail Ming”. It’s the rubber face mast on the back of his head that allows him to pull some freaky shapes later on and it’s an incredible watch. A career spanning set comes to a close with “I Love To Say F***” complete with middle finger umbrella, which is hilarious good fun.

A band who divide opinion, Soil [7/10] are the odd ones out on nights bill. For some they are like Flaw a band who had one song and never moved forward form there but still manage to get people out to see them for that. For others, the bands set which is largely comprised of songs of nearly 20 years of age, they are a nostalgia trip with sing-a-long anthems and grooves. “Halo” followed by a cover of “Black Betty” by Ram Jam bring their set to a close in style.

There is their air of the unknown before tonight’s headliners take the stage. There is long delay before the big screens and introduction music kicks in but then everything comes to life with¬†Static-X [10/10] are in fine form and Edsel Dope is the perfect fill in for Wayne Static. Hats off to him because he’s got the vocals a s guitar work for the set down to perfection and it’s really only the talking between tracks that gives the game away. His normal talking voice is disguised somewhat but his choice of phrase isn’t and when he says things like “We’re here to pay tribute to our friend and your hero Wayne Static” it’s a dead give away. Not that it matters as it had to be someone and Edsel Dope has always been a highly talented and underrated musician so fair play, he deserves it. The tributes to Wayne are well balanced during the set, neither over stated nor under, both of which would be criminal. His appearance on the big screen in a snippet cut from the “Cold” music video during the track gives the impression he’s doing backing vocals which is a nice touch, as is the presence of tracks from the first four albums in the set. “Get To The Gone”, “Black and White”, “Destroy All” and “Start A War” are all fine moments from the bands career and to have them appear in a mid set run alongside the various logos and colours of the eras of the band is a wonderful statement. “Wisconsin Death Trip” itself is the bulk of the set and every song is a sing-a-long with the sell out crowd bouncing along. Ending with “Push It” brings the curtain down on a wonderful night and tribute….

….for our 2p worth, we’ll tell you what we think is going to happen. When the Wisconsin Death Trip tour comes to an end, the new album will be finished and after it’s released, Static-X and Dope will tour the World again off the back of it. Then with Edsel Dope being the prolific writer we know he is, he’s going to get in a room with Tony Campos, Ken Jay and Koichi Fukuda and they’re going to write a new record in the Static-X style… and no, Xer0 isn’t going to take his mask off…

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