Review: Static-X @ Eatons Hill Hotel (Brisbane)

Static-X played Eatons Hill Hotel (Brisbane) 21 May, 2023. © Clea-marie Thorn
With an insatiable passion for live music and photography adventures, this mistress of gig chronicles loves the realms of metal and blues but wanders all musical frontiers and paints you vibrant landscapes through words and pics (@lilmissterror) that share the very essence of her sonic journeys with you.

Static-X concluded their brief Australian tour celebrating their 'Machine' album in Brisbane, joined by Chicago's SOiL and home grown Witchgrinder playing ahead of the 'evil disco' pioneers.

A smoke machine is working overtime pumping out atmospheric vape trails that is kindling the expectant excitement of the punters gathering for tonight's show (21 May).

Victorian group Witchgrinder don't bat an eyelid as they take to the stage on the back of the 'Stranger Things' theme song and quickly set about entertaining ears and eyes under red lighting.

Their industrial sounds are nothing short of the perfect choice as openers as Travis Everett (vocals), James Shelverton (drums), Scottie Pachino (guitar), and Jake Parr (bass) get the vibe humming in the room.

Witchgrinder - image © Clea-marie Thorne

Three songs in and the industrial thrashers have intensified the level of excitement with their hard-edged set delivered with classic metal guitar poses, loads of hair whipping and of course tongue poking at fans.

After hearing their new song 'Dead By Dawn', I'll be on the lookout for a new EP or album release. My guess is that fans poppin' their Witchgrinder cherries will do as well.

Ensuring faithful fans are catered to, we hear the distorted electronic intro to 'Cult Of Voodoo' as the crowd ripped it up in front of the band as they delivered this bone-crushing delight.

I have a little boogie as Rob Zombie plays over the speakers waiting for SOiL's Ryan McCombs (vocals), Adam Zadel (guitar), Tim King (bass), and TJ Taylor (drums) to bring their alternative metal-rock mayhem to the stage.

We wait no longer! The long-haired band members all dressed in various shades of black are before us and they're also celebrating an album anniversary tonight – 'Scars', and they start with my album favourite 'Breaking Me Down'.

SOiL serve up glorious alternative/ nu-metal bangers from 'Scars' (well, 11 of them) – such a solid album that still gets regular rotation on my playlists.

SOiL - image © Clea-marie Thorne

There is huge talent and massive energy behind the soaring decibel levels in the room. The riffage and rhythm of these rockers is pretty damn cool to these ears. We get more hair twirls and guitar pointing at the crowd, and growling vocals hammering our lug holes in the best way.

Finishing their set with 'Halo' has fans in the crowd cranking a frenzy mosh and McCombs sees this and gets up on the barrier halfway through to close out this banger with fans.

McCombs takes the time to tell the crowd: "Live music starts with you. Live music ends with you. We don't exist without you." The response is immense.

I see two figures silhouetted against the digital backdrop that has come to life as Ken Jay is first to grace stage and takes his place behind the kit. A trusted hand checks all is where it should be. Tony Campos (bass) and Koichi Fukada (guitar) are now taking the stage.

However,  it's not until the intro to their opening song 'Permanence' that Xer0 brings his theatrical portrayal of Wayne Static before us. What an impressive get-up. Seeing pictures has nothing on real life visuals.

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Static-X - image © Clea-marie Thorne

They play with an energy and fervour that is catching: 'This Is Not', 'Structural Defect', and 'Black And White' has fans singing along, some smashing their brains against their skulls and others with eyes transfixed on the spectacle before them.

'Love Dump' starts us on a trip of five cuts from their 'Wisconsin Death Trip' album and the title track is backed up by 'Fix', 'Bled For Days' and 'Sweat Of The Bud'.

'Terminator Oscillator', from the 'Project: Regeneration Vol. 1' album, kept the momentum flowing which was not lost but maintained during 'Just In Case (Start A War)' – a less vibrant song but no less of a banger for fans to sing-along to.

'Destroy All' made a mess of the mosh with a small circle pit happening while 'Dirthouse', 'Get To The Gone', and 'Cannibal' fuel the frenzy.

Guitar-slinger Fukada and bass slinger Campos criss-cross the stage behind the man in the Wayne Static guise (Brian Ebejer aka Edsel Dope?). As Fukada is delivering guitar solos, the front of the crowd cheers him on raising hands high.

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Static-X - image © Clea-marie Thorne

At one point Xer0 and Fukada see who can jump the most while playing guitar! Sorry Fukada, Xer0 gets extra points for doing it in full costume.

The mood shifts slightly with the next song that is raising conflicting comments among punters. It's a cover version of Nine Inch Nails' 'Terrible Lie' that closes out the set. Personally, I loved it and sang-along loudly. Oh, and it was just that – a terrible lie!

After much chanting they return to the stage for an encore. Campos and Xer0 ask us to light up in honour of Wayne Static – RIP.

Xer0 thanks Wayne Static for being his friend and bringing this band together, and we find ourselves singing along to 'Cold' while images of Static are displayed on the digital back drop. It's touching and produces goosepimples on the back of my neck.

Bringing the nostalgia more fiercely to our Static-loving hearts are huge balloons, some with the Static-X logo as they play corker song 'I'm With Stupid' followed by another fan favourite closing the night (for real this time), 'Push It'. We fans totally lost our minds!

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Static-X - image © Clea-marie Thorne

Seeing Static-X with a Wayne Static impersonator is a totally new experience for some in the room while others like me are comparing it to their last tour in 2019.

I find myself liking the previous more humanlike mask worn that last show, however the cyborg creation from master designers including Eddie Yang ('Avatar', 'Iron Man') is not awful; on the contrary, it's theatrical and fitting and a whole lot more than okay.

I had hopes on hearing, seeing, and feeling the full Static-X sound from yesteryear – regardless of who is singing and playing. They came crushing in and it was clear my hopes were fulfilled.

Xer0 with his red laser eyes, can boast a full diaphragm and throaty greatness that emulates Static's vocals perfectly at times as well as his verve for the music the legend created. I'm not only impressed by Xer0's pipes, but also with his onstage swagger that is carried off beneath the costume of uber awesomeness.

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Static-X - image © Clea-marie Thorne

Campos, Jay and Fukada were clearly worshipped by the frenzy of moshing die-hard fans centre of stage and the whole show sent the rest of us fans on the periphery hurtling into a spin of Static-X bliss.

More photos from the show.

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