Static X at Islington Academy

Photos by Warren Zanin

static-x-1Let’s be honest here. What’s not to like about a guy who manages to maintain a hair do that preserves its five-inch height after head banging and neck lashing for a full hour and fifteen minutes? Industrial metallers Static X, fronted by ‘I put my hand in a wall-socket’ Wayne Static, put on an electric performance at Islington Academy. Tickets were still being sold at the door before the gig (woe to the hawkers) but the crowd enthusiasm seemed to cramp the venue nonetheless. The self-proclaimed “Kings of Evil Disco” invoked a frantic frenzy of fan-adoration and fun, rendering the atmosphere hair-raisingly static indeed.

The Defiled, which has become a regular on the London gigging circuit over the last few years, open for the evil disco kings. The band is able to stir up the crowd and manages to open up a circle pit toward the end of their set. Hailing from London, The Defiled is yet unsigned but is surely building up a memorable stage persona with each passing performance. With harajuku hair and make-up, the five band members look like the cast of a pop-horror film – let’s say Mars Attacks slash Adam’s Family meets Thirteen Ghosts – and boast the names to match: Stitch D on vocals and guitar, Drex Exel on bass, The A.V.D on keys and vocals, Curse on guitar and J.C on drums. The band’s overall metalcore sound, with melodic overtones borrowed from black metal, is best represented in songs The End of Innocence, 1888 and Red Tape. Stitch’s vocals do become slightly monotonous (owing perhaps to an admitted hangover) but the band’s musical performance is tight and certainly entertaining. As The Defiled exit the stage the venue seems to fill up within seconds as Static X fans make a beeline for prime position at the front and centre. With anticipation busting at the seams,static-x-2 Wayne Static and his crew appear on stage and are met with an eruption of cheers and applause. The tone for a charged performance infused with unyielding energy is set with Lunatic – the first track off new album Cult of Static, which was released in March of this year.

The set list (in order: Lunatic, Dirthouse, I’m With Stupid, Thestatic-x-3 Only, Stem, Black & White, Stingwray, Destroyer, Cold, Bled for Days, Behemoth, 228, Destroy All, Cannibal and Love Dump encore: This is Not and Push It) draws from all six Static X albums and includes eleven of the band’s hit singles and five songs from debut album Wisconsin Death Trip. It’s a smart move for the band to draw from all of their material as opposed to focusing on a particular album – variety is generally a good way to please fans of all shapes and sizes. As the audience belts out the words of each song at full steam, the musicians quickly realise that this is a special evening. When Static asks his audience, “Are you having a good time?” he answers his own question by responding, “Need I ask”. The crowd appreciation is tangible and with the cult of static in full swing the familiar sight of ‘shot girls’ (sizzling hot sirens who grace the stage intermittently to provide the band members with some well earned shots) goes down well with the crowd … ehem … the male portion of the crowd if we’re talking specifics. Unfortunately for the ladies, Mr Static is married – as he gently reminds the fairer sex upon the introduction of Stingwray (title track off Cult of Static) as a song he wrote for his wife. The song lyrics refer to some intimate husband/wife stuff I am sure but undoubtedly Mr Static allows for lyrical ambiguity, and in this instance the words and tone of the song can adequately be used to describe the excitement of the expectant crowd at Islington Academy on this night:

Pull over push
Forcing the rush
Keep on moving faster
Wearing me down
Breaking the sound
Finely tune the caster
Burning gasoline
Spark will set it on fire
Reaching the top
Still growing hot

As the storm of Static thunders to the max, the encore arrives with lightening speed. The set ends on a high note with two oldies: This is Not and Push It. Perhaps the best synopsis of the evening is best captured in the words of Mr Static himself: “This is the eighth show we’ve had in Europe on this tour and it is by far the best show”. Great band. Manic party. Expectations exceeded. What a night!

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