Live Review : Static-X + SOiL + Wednesday 13 + Dope @ O2 Ritz, Manchester on October 3rd 2019
It is the eternal rule. When you cannot be bothered with a night out, you go on to have the best night ever.
Now don't get me wrong, I've been positively horny with joy for a long time over this line up. I often jest I am a child of the nu-metal generation, but honestly, I'd wear my bondage pants to work if I thought I could get away with it (and if they fit me........... never mind). The happiest memories of my entire life revolve around gigs and albums and songs and bands and sneaking into the Krazyhouse when I was dramatically underage.
I made my plans to catch up with a long lost friend and booked a half day off work, trudging to Manchester feeling weary. The chill on the air signals the turn in the seasons, and it appears my mood has turned with it. I'm really in the mood for staying in the warm, indulging in the silence of my house. Well. As silent as my cat will let it be.
Turns out tonight was just the tonic for a misery guts like me.
Off to a shaky start when I get stopped entering the venue when the press list is missing. So naturally, I miss a chunk of Dope. What did they start with? Answers on a post card please.
I'm in time for ‘Die Mother Fucker Die’, which lights up the faces of the audience around me in a “oh we know this one" kind of way. They finished with their cover of ‘You Spin Me Round’, but I feel haven't seen enough to fairly critique. You know, because I was stood outside almost the entire set.
Dope have actually been a bucket list band for me, one of those bands I always wanted to see and never managed to over the 100s of gigs I've been in my life. So glad I ticked them off but peeved I missed most of their set. I'm still claiming the credit and genuinely hope they'll be back in UK so we can finish what we started tonight.
Storming up next is Wednesday 13. It's been 15 years since my last venture into his world and I'm stunned at how different it is from what I thought I'd be getting tonight. As a teen, I bopped around at his shows wearing see through spider web dresses, devil horns and lashings of black lipstick. His music then was all fun misfit style horror punk back then. Listen to ‘I Walked With A Zombie’ for reference. That's how I remember him and what I expected.
What we were presented with tonight was The Gothest Showman.
I've clearly been living under a rock but when did he get so deliciously dark?
With an array of dramatic theatrics and Manson-esque costume changes, Wednesday 13 delivered a spooktacular set over his 30-ish minute slot, ending with ‘Fuck You’ complete with twirly swirly umbrellas with a middle finger design.
SOiL are up next. Fun fact – SOiL were the very first band I felt massively fanatical about as a teenage moron (oh yes... I was a right prick as a kid); I was “Devil Girl" on their internet forum, the place where I learnt random strangers would call me names just for the LOLs.
I've never seen a bad SOiL set ever and tonight is no exception. Ryan, Tim and Adam play a set that sticks to “Scars” or “Redefine”, opening with ‘Breaking Me Down’. The only song that doesn't come from “Scars” or “Redefine” is ‘Give it up’ which was on the “True Self" album. Whilst the album didn't feature Ryan on vocals, this particular track had Wayne Static singing backing vocals on it. The track was performed with such passion in memory of their late friend.
20 years of “Scars”. Wow.
As good as all the supports have been tonight, the night truly belongs to Static-X.
The set kicks off properly with ‘Bled For Days’, and explores the bands finest moments from “Wisconsin Death Trip” and throughout their career. Everyone sings along to ‘Cold’, everyone leaps around to ‘I'm With Stupid’, everyone screams to ‘Push It’.
I particularly loved ‘The Trance Is The Motion’, one of the slower tracks which fills the room with its menacing riffs.
I was absolutely stunned at Xeros performance tonight. He had the vocals perfect. He looked spooky in his Wayne mask. He had the movements down.
The announcement that Static-X would reform to commemorate their fallen brother and celebrate 20 years of their debut album “Wisconsin Death Trip” (in my opinion this was one of the most important nu-metal albums ever, up there with Hybrid Theory, Korn, Toxicity...) was met with curiosity by most and hostility by others.
What Static-X did tonight was born out of nothing but love. Love for their music, love for their fans, and love for Wayne. I would sincerely hope that all those who took the time to publicly slate these guys for reforming also took the time to come and watch the show. And then promptly went and fucked themselves straight after.
I'm not wrong. Fight me. I've had a vodka or two.
Best gig of the year for me. And I include my beloved Rammstein in that.
Words by Sarah Cummings
Photography by Johann Wierzbicki