As time slowly passes or flies by, depending on the day, the past usually creeps into the present in one way or another. This can be a positive attribute by showcasing live music artists who originated and gained notoriety in past decades. It is always a collective nostalgic trip back into everyone’s youth when live bands dive into their old-school discography on stage. On Saturday, April 15th, 2023, at the Belasco Theater in Downtown Los Angeles, a very well-collaborated group of heavy metal, industrial, nu-metal, horrorcore, etc., musicians played their second to last show of the Rise Of The Machine tour. This heavy tour recreated some of the most influential 90’s tunes. It was headlined by Static-X, but organized by Dino Cazares from Fear Factory, with support from Dope, Twiztid, and Cultus Black.
This sold-out show began at six-thirty in the early evening with one of the newer Nu-metal bands, Cultus Black, who definitely doesn’t have a boring live presence. As most die-hard fans were there for the Industrial nineties nostalgia of Fear Factory and Static-X, this newer 2018-originated band was there to bridge the gap between the past and the future. Then another unusual but entertaining duo Twiztid from Detroit, took over the stage playing their horrorcore, rap metal, and whatever else they wanted to define their genre as. By eight o’clock in the evening, it was time for New York City-originated band Dope, which was the first of the three bands to take the stage who had members pulling double-duty.
As best kept a secret it was at first, Dope’s lead singer Edsel Dope, has also taken over the late Wayne Static’s vocals. In Static-X, he is referred to as Xero, and he embodies a robot-like mask resembling Wayne Static. These double-duty vocals are not easy, and Dope benefited most from the Fear Factory explosion between his two sets. Dope played a very energetic short but worthy set featuring some of their popular hits like “Bitch,” “Violence,” “Die MF Die, and “Burn,” to name a few. Dope’s stage banter is never a dull time. On this night, he mentioned that “It ain’t a party until someone sticks their dick in the mashed potatoes.” Then, he went on to say everyone could join in, even the women because they are allowed to have dicks now too. So, a party it was. It ended with “the stupidest song of your life” which was their cover of “You Spin Me Round” (like a record). They received a great packed crowd who re-lived all their stupidest moments in the best way.
Fear Factory took the eight forty-five spot, which due to their lengthy set, didn’t seem too early until it was discovered that someone was already vomiting in the girl’s restroom by nine at night. That person perhaps pre-gamed a little too hard because it is unlikely they had purchased enough liquor to reach that intoxication level since drink prices at the Belasco are almost equal to those of a brand-new Prius. Jokes aside, Fear Factory, put on a very special performance that evening featuring their new vocalist Milo Silvestro, who comes from Italy. This man proves to be an excellent fit for the band and their future.
It isn’t possible to love Fear Factory and not love previous lead vocalist Burton C. Bell, but times change. Silvestro not only looks like a young Burton, but he has a beautiful range from the growls to the clean in a special way. Burton crafted the most perfect transition from harsh to clean vocals in one song back before most ever attempted it. It is very unusual for singers to sound equally good at both. Usually, either the growls are weak, or the clean sounds like a whining teenager who lost his first football game. Nu-metal bands who Fear Factory influenced are usually hit or miss in this this regard. Duel vocals can work well, but for one person to sound like two during one song with very tough octaves is left to the few. Milo Silvestro has this rare capability, and it seems he will grow into the old sound with his own modern take. The clean vocals this night seemed a touch on the subdued side, but he seemed to concentrate on hitting the keys accurately. It was exciting to watch a new member take on this role, and it didn’t bother anyone that this was a slightly different Fear Factory than in the past. Dino Cazares definitely presented this whole tour most peacefully by collaborating with guest vocalists from the other bands for a song or two and incorporating his friends into the metal party. Their drummer on this night was Pete Webber from Havok, and the bassist was Tony Campos, who also plays in Static-X.
Fear Factory had a brilliant show despite a short interruption of the sound system that cut out briefly on them mid-song. Their set list took the audience way back to that time of Obsolete, Demanufacture, and even before. They also played a newer tune, “Disruptor,” which had that vibe of old Fear Factory mixed with Slipknot from back in the day but modernized for the mechanical future. Other songs the audience couldn’t get enough of was “Replica,” “Archetype,” and “Shock.” During the Demanufacture tunes, a man sang out of key at the top of his lungs while holding his toddler son in one arm. That child will either grow up loving Industrial or have PTSD whenever he hears it. Regardless, it’s great to see bands carry on despite setbacks, including key members departing for one reason or another.
After the theater shook with electric energy from Fear Factory’s set, it was time for an exceptional performance of Static-X shortly after ten in the evening. As most Static-X fans know, back in 2014, lead vocalist Wayne Static passed away. In 2018, most original members returned, along with a good friend to the band, Edsel Dope, aka Xero, who took on the high-pressure role of lead vocalist with ease. He has a big heart for the band and for Wayne Static which comes across in the physical interpretation of him that manifests as a robotic God-like hero with glowing red eyes and red hair that reaches the heavens.
The set list here was nostalgic. The pre-intro featured Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline, and Pantera’s “Walk” for that powerful time warp back to the nineties setting when heavy metal was in another great transformation. They played many favorites of the Wisconsin Death Trip album, including “I’m With Stupid” and “Push It” at the end. They also picked out some gems from other albums, including “Cannibal” and even the after Wayne Static era with the song “Terminator Oscillator.” It’s really a much better show than anyone who is super loyal to the Wayne Static live days would imagine. In a similar way to how GWAR carried on but still celebrated the life of the late David Brockie, Static-X is paying tribute to Wayne Static. This became a dominant expression towards the end of the set when the multi-screen backdrop flashed photos of him from the olden days. They also brought some tinsel/snow and large beach ball/balloons to entertain the audience in a party-life fashion. The backdrops with the video and lighting, plus the lead vocalist’s superhuman persona, really hit the nail on the head for what kind of industrial mechanical future they are heading towards.
This brotherly combination of bands who shared this tour experience set the bar high. Both Fear Factory and Static-X originated in Los Angeles. However, now they have moved forward into a new beginning that will hopefully continue on for years, still honoring those that have sailed away from the future of the past.
Tags: Cultus Black, Dope, Fear Factory, Static X, Twiztid
Categorised in: Reviews