Who: Static-X, Otep, Invitro
Where: The Showbox
When: Sunday, June 3
Opener Invitro was a great surprise, right down to selling their album When I>"/>
Who: Static-X, Otep, Invitro
Where: The Showbox
When: Sunday, June 3
Opener Invitro was a great surprise, right down to selling their album When I was a Planet at the merch table for $1. Each member came out wearing a tinfoil helmet, but those were soon tossed to the crowd. They play loud, fast, and mostly unintelligible heavy metal. If you want to hear what they have to say, buy the album; the lyrics are more understandable when recorded.
Otep stepped up next and proved to be the crowd favorite. Vocalist Otep Shamaya expressed her love for being back in Seattle, home of her “favorite band, and favorite people.” At one point, she demanded that everyone “get off their fucking feet. If you see someone next to you just standing there, knock ‘em down.” The response followed suit, with the capacity crowd shaking the floor. “I’ve never seen anything like that before,” she said a few more times during the set. With such an overwhelming reaction to the group, it seemed odd that she would go for an easy over, by dedicating a song to Kurt Cobain. With the crowd already on her side, the move could only have been made from pure emotion as opposed to a cheap attempt to win an audience. Note to any band, anywhere: If you’ve already won a crowd, sentimental pleas and attempts at solidarity are not necessary. Only do it if you mean it. Otep meant it.
It was 10:30 by the time Static-X took the stage and kept to their promise by starting their set with the first and title track from Cannibal. Only a smattering of the crowd left, and more pushed their way to the front. They did the well-known songs, “Push It” and “Bled for Days,” and a lot from the new disc. Static moved around like a demented Muppet and the three mobile members played to the crowd by repeatedly switching positions. The set ran like an industrial machine, right to the end, with no real surprises. But that’s what they were going for, anyway. The good news is that the live set was much louder than the album.
Click below for a pre-show interview with Static-X singer/guitarist Wayne Static and bassist Tony Campos.
Static-X guitarist Nick Fukuda shredding some wicked riffs, Sunday at the Showbox.
Wayne Static woke up at 5 p.m. By 7 he’s watching Me, You & Dupree, the Owen Wilson-Kate Hudson comedy. The tour bus is quiet, laid-back, not the party bus one might expect from the popular heavy metal band. Then again, is Static-X really metal? They must be. They are scheduled for Ozzfest this year and are currently touring with Invitro and Otep, two groups that are as metal as it gets these days. Why still the questions about how metal are Static-X?
“Metal isn’t my staple,” Static said. “Journey is my favorite band and I love the ‘80s stuff, really big into The Cars right now.”
Bassist Tony Campos, whose goatee is as long as Static’s hair is high, agrees. “The ‘80s shit, old punk, as long as it’s fun.”
In the rock and roll tradition, fun is the name of the game for Static-X. With the current line-up, including drummer Nick Oshiro and guitarist Nick Fukuda, the fun has return for the group. “We we’re lucky that the bad elements took themselves out,” Static said in reference to former members Ken Jay and Tripp Eisen. “There are no fucking drama queens anymore.”
Eisen was fired from the band in 2005 after a sex scandal involving minors
with the return of original guitarist Fukuda and former Seether drummer Oshiro, the band functions as a more complete unit. Static even shared some of the songwriting duties with Campos for their current album, Cannibal.
“I sat a digital recorder and put down some death metal-sounding stuff,” Campos said. “Then I took the CD to Wayne and we picked out the stuff that we liked the best. It was mostly just some riffs.”
“And then we turned them into Static-X songs,” Static said.
Static’s own songwriting routine starts from the most basic point. “I pick the title first and then build a picture around that word,” he said. As such, very few Static-X tracks have titles longer than a single word. One of those songs off the new disc is “Destroyer,” for which a video has been released.
“We got to dress up like assholes,” Static said. “It was all a big joke.” The video features the band at a 1970s-style roller derby, catfights and revealing clothes included.
“We’re big fans of chicks in tight shorts and tight tops,” Campos said. Plenty of those fans attended the sold-out show Sunday at the Showbox. For those who weren’t able to get a ticket, don’t worry. Static-X will be on the main stage at Ozzfest this year.
And that brings up the question, again, of just how metal is Static-X? “When we played Ozzfest before [1999, 2000] there was a mix of heavy and not-so-heavy, and now it seems like it is all just heavy,” Static said. “I think Ozzfest needs us.”
While Static and Campos said they prepare for every show the same, right down to keeping the same set list, they do admit there are differences in headlining a tour and playing a festival.
“There’s all these empty seats because people are just waiting for Ozzy,” Campos said. And there’s that set list to worry about, too.
“We play for half an hour at Ozzfest,” Static said. “That’s like eight songs.” With a growing back catalogue, the choices become more and more difficult. “We try to play the first four tracks from the new album and then get into older stuff. There’d be a riot if we didn’t play it [‘Push It,’ Static-X’s hit off their first album Wisconsin Death Trip].”
Static-X has a few more headlining dates left in North America before heading to Europe, then it’s right back here in Seattle for the first Ozzfest show, July 12. And after that?
“We’ll probably put something together for the fall, then write some new songs for the next album,” Static said.
Reporter’s Notebook: I almost broke my fucking neck. During that Otep surge of “everyone on your feet” I had a hard time jumping, which I wanted to do, and protecting my camera from random flying elbows. And then I stepped on someone’s dropped sunglasses and proceeded to fall on my not insubstantial ass.
Thank you to the guy behind me that grabbed my shoulders before I got trampled. One slip up (or down, if you will) won’t prevent me from hitting more metal shows. The Seattle audience kicked ass above and beyond what I’ve seen in other places (Las Vegas and Salt Lake City, specifically).
And for the person who dropped this nice pair of black Utopia Optics sunglasses, they are on my desk and I’m keeping them as a battle trophy. Except for the right ear piece. That was sacrificed to the Showbox floor, never to be recovered.
Next time, keep your glasses in your pocket.