Saturday, February 16, 2002

Static-X upstaged by intro band

Concert review

By Chris Varias
Enquirer contributor

        “It's great to be back in Cincinnati at Bogart's,” said Wayne Static, lead singer of Static-X, “for like the 100th time I think.”

        One hundred seems just about right. The Los Angeles-based industrial-metal band has played Bogart's a bunch the last few years, and in that time has ascended from the bottom of three- and four-way packages to the headlining slot, selling out the joint. Friday, they found themselves at the top of the bill for a sold-out show rounded out by Soulfly, Soil and Onesidezero.

        There was only one problem. If they're headlining, they'd better be the clear-cut best band of the show. And on this particular night, that distinction would go to Soulfly.

        It's hard to say just what made Soulfly's performance better than the headliners. The band's styles were very similar. But Soulfly played with more energy, and they were clearly the crowd's favorite, which anyone could have sensed even before the back of the club broke out with chants of “Soulfly! Soulfly!” between Static-X's songs.

        Of the brands of metal that emerged in the late '90s, the industrial style favored by this group of bands is the most interesting. Industrial music grew out of Chicago in the '80s, first with Big Black before the genre had a name, later brought to greater prominence by another Chicago group Ministry, the kings of industrial. While industrial took shape, heavy metal was the domain of poodle-hair bands like Winger and speed-metal groups like Slayer.

        It makes sense a Chicago-native metal kid like Mr. Static would have been at the forefront of this emerging style. His band sounded fresh a few years ago when it was opening for more traditional bands, but Friday Static-X sounded like it has run out of ideas. Newer material in the hour-long set was received warmly, but the biggest crowd reaction was reserved for “Wisconsin Death Trip,” the title track of an album dating back to 1999.

        It was Soulfly who sounded like the innovators. Singer Max Cavalera, who formed the band in the wake of his Brazilian metal combo Sepultura's break-up, has a gift for sloganeering, growling out such catch phrases as “last of the Mohicans,” “the song remains the same” and “an eye for an eye” in an authoritative way that made it seem he wrote them himself.

        It's a hard way to go when a band like Static-X's works so hard to become a headliner, only to be upstaged by a guy chanting Led Zeppelin lyrics, but such is the way it works at Bogart's sometimes.


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