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Concert Review: Static-X w/ OTEP, Black Star Inc. (May 6, 2007)

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The doors were advertised as opening at 6:00, and they did, however, the first band did not go on until 8:00! Man, that is a good way to a get a crowd in a bad mood right from the start, let them get in to stand around and get drunk before the show even starts. This led to a fan getting kicked out right when the show started. Anyway, I was able to get a good location to set up camp for the evening, and there I stood, preparing myself for what was yet to come.

The small crowd was ready for the first act, a good round of applause went up as the lights went dark. When they came up, we were introduced to Black Star Inc as "not too heavy, and no real metal." Great, just what I wanted. They are a local act that won a battle of the bands a few weeks ago to get the opening slot. Not to sound mean, but if this was the best that show had to offer, it must have been one lame show.

Don't get me wrong, the band has some potential, but they were clearly a few months away from being a live band. The music was bland, generic, and just completely uninteresting. Save for a small group off to one side of the stage, the crowd just stood there, staring up blankly at the stage. The lead singer was not all that interesting of a frontman, he spent most of his time jumping around and spinning as if he had epilepsy. The guitarist was pretty quick, but he was not all that accurate with plenty of dropped notes. He has the potential but is not quite ready. The rhythm section was just sort of there, not doing anything terribly interesting.

Given the right setting, they may not be bad, but this was just not the right crowd for them. Towards the end of their set, a small pit broke out, possibly to get the singer to stop asking them to move, or to keep themselves awake, both reasons fit.

After Black Star left the stage, the curtain came down and the stage was redressed for OTEP. This was my first experience with the force known as OTEP. I wasn't quite sure what to expect, I had given a quick listen to a couple of tracks before heading out, but it was not nearly enough to prepare me for what was to come. The band took the stage, adorned with Christmas tree lights and a microphone stage complete with a dolls head. The music started, and OTEP, herself, came out onstage. The tattooed blonde took immediate control, she was the center of attention, this high energy union of musicality, politics, and a tough as nails demeanor wrapped in a total "f— you" attitude.

Joining her was a tight musical unit, featuring new guitarist, Aaron, looking like a wizened master ready to impart ancient knowledge on the arts of the strings, or maybe it was the long white hair and beard. No matter how you look at him, the music was quite intriguing, heavy and atmospheric. On the other side of the stage was J. on bass, a madman on five strings. Behind them, Brian Wolff was behind the drumkit, deliving some really strong work. While those three laid down the music, Otep Shamaya played ringleader to the metallic circus, her voice was impressive, a style combining sardonic wit, clean singing, and the guttural growl that is usually only in the arena of male death metal singers. The pit was wild, and the music tight. I have to admit that they were very, very good, better than I expected, save for the extended political posturing in time that would better be served by more music. Still, I have to say that you must see them live if you have the opportunity.

The crowd at The Chance Theater was a little slow to grow, but by the time Static-X took the stage, the pit was filled, as was most of the space around me. When Wayne and the rest of the band took the stage, the crowd erupted. The purveyors of evil disco were in full effect, crushing the crowd and absolutely ripping up the stage. Wayne called the music "evil disco," and it was the first time I had ever heard it called that, but it makes perfect sense. I haven't really listened to Static-X since Machine, though they always were a band I meant to get more of, but haven't really done so yet.

Watching them tear through the technically precise riffs and rhythms, it is hard to keep yourself from moving. This is music made to get a pit churning, and churn it did, through their entire set the pit was in a constant state of motion. Wayne Static roamed around the stage with a strange look in his eye, a charismatic individual, complete with impossibly spiked hair. The rest of the band, including the returning Koichi Fukuda and fill drummer Benan Davies (while Nick Oshiro's broken hand heals), sounded great.

While I think some of their songs can begin to sound similar, there is no else quite like them and their clipped precision, sheer industrial heaviness. Man, I really need to pick up some of their other albums. Songs from their set include "Cannibal," "Black and White," "Cold," "This is Not," "…In A Bag," "Destroyer," "Bled for Days," and "I Am." They played two encores, the first one was "Love Dump" and "Push It," followed by the second encore of "Get to the Gone" which sent us all out into the night, sweaty, exhausted, but thirsting for more.

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  • Morphox

    Holy crap I have to see Static.