Long-awaited and long-delayed; Static-X – Fear Factory – Mushroomhead, and Dope finally got to play their show at Irving Plaza on Sunday night as part of The Rise Of The Machines tour. Planned a couple of years ago, the packed bill encountered the now all too familiar COVID delays, and coordinating that big of a bill takes monumental effort. Eventually, everyone was in place and the tour was a go. Any one of these bands would be worth the price of admission. Put them all together, and you have an epic evening in store.
Recently completely renovated, Irving Plaza is one of many old ballroom venues scattered throughout New York. Located a block from Union Square, it is well maintained and, interestingly enough, owned by The Polish Army Veterans Association of America and run by Live Nation. You enter downstairs to a bar, restrooms, and a merch area and then head upstairs to an open floor with another well-stocked bar. Only snacks are offered so eat a good meal before the show. A balcony with a few seats surrounds the floor and provides a great view of the stage. It should be noted that the staff was extremely professional and maintained good control while working to keep everyone safe. They likely get far less credit than they deserve.
After a two-year delay, one might not be concerned about a couple of more minutes, but Dope hit the stage promptly at seven; to the strains of the Soprano’s theme song, and kicked off the show in the unfamiliar position of being the opening act. A personnel shift meant that drummer Dan Fox had moved to bass and bass player Acey Slade was on guitar, except that former member Virus took over on guitar for this show, as well as the Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Boston, shows. Edsel Dope did his best to work the crowd, issuing commands to jump, make noise, and generally get into the music. An abbreviated half-hour set included fan favorites ‘Debonaire’, ‘Die Motherfucker Die’, and culminated in “the stupidest song ever written” – ‘You Spin Me ‘Round’.
A super-efficient stage crew had everything switched over in ten minutes to bring up Mushroomhead precisely on time. With a penchant for theatrics, the entire band is wearing masks, and the stage is flanked on either side by drummers beating in unison on floor toms. The drums have a liquid (hopefully water) on the drumheads so each beat sends a spray in the air making for a dramatic effect and a huge booming sound. The band ripped through an eight-song set that kicked off with ‘Requiem for Tomorrow’ and proceeded at a blistering pace through, among others, ‘Sun Doesn’t Rise’, a cover of the Pink Floyd tune ‘Empty Spaces’, and culminated in a thundering version of ‘Born of Desire’. So frenetic was the pace that Mushroomhead played their half-hour set in 25 minutes, making for an easy changeover.
With the evening well underway and the crowd wanting for more, Fear Factory hit the stage and turned things up to eleven. Earplugs are highly recommended for what was to be the loudest performance of the evening. There is huge talent and massive energy behind those soaring decibel levels. Guitarist Dino Cazares was grinning ear to ear as the crowd erupted in cheers when they hit the stage and started with ‘Shock’. The booming bass lines of Tony Campos were highlighted by the drumming of Pete Webber from Havok filling in for Mike Heller, and combined to shake the old building that was built with the aspirations of Glenn Miller. Irving Plaza didn’t know what hit it. Singer Milo Silvestro encouraged the crowd into an old-school mosh pit and got the place shaking. A few of the offerings included ‘Disruptor’, ‘Powershifter’, and a hammering version of ‘Replica’ to close out the set to the screamed approval of the fans.
The evening’s headliners Static-X were up and their set started out with a large X on a metal-looking circle shining a spotlight on the audience. Starting with ‘Permanence’ they took the volume down to more manageable levels to allow for use of some sound effects and samples. A huge screen flashed images behind the stage and screens flanking either side did the same as the band played through a seventeen-song set. ‘Wisconsin Death Trip’, ‘Bled for Days’, and a new cover of the Nine Inch Nails song ‘Terrible Lie’, were all included. Ending the set, lead singer Xero thanked Wayne Static for being his friend and bringing this band together. ‘Cold’ was played as a touching tribute to Wayne while his image was displayed on the screen and the crowd sang every word with Xero. A two-song encore of ‘I’m With Stupid’ and ‘Push It’ ended the evening on a high note.
The lights came up and the sold-out house emptied out onto the New York streets to make its way home having been part of an evening several years in the making that was well worth the wait.
Static-X set list:
This Is Not
Black And White
Wisconsin Death Trip
Bled For Days
Sweat Of The Bud
Just In Case
Get To The Gone
I’m With Stupid
Pre-order Project Rengeratio: 2 from Static-X here:
WRITTEN BY MATTHEW KOCHEK
PHOTOS BY KIM HANSEN / PHARMADIVER