9/19 Static-X/The Farthest Edge/End Ever at Manny’s
“Hey, we’re opening for Static-X tomorrow night,” Mario said. “Just got the call this afternoon. You should check it out.” Mario plays guitar for End Ever, and happened to be tending bar down at the Rainbow when I stopped in to kick off my vacation the right way.
I took a swig of my beer and shifted my barstool a couple inches closer to the bar. Apparently, the show was supposed to be downtown at the Babcock, but was moved to Manny’s at the last minute, and the lineup had changed, as one opening act had dropped out for some reason. Still, I like Static-X’s music well enough, and I’d never seen them live. “Really? Yeah, I’ll totally check that out,” I said.
That was Tuesday night. I had no plan, no ticket, and no idea if I could actually make the show, but I knew I had to go. As everybody knows, a promise made in a bar cannot be broken.
On Wednesday, after a day of nursing my hangover and playing video games, I hopped in my car and made my way out to the furthest edge of the West End. As I pulled into Manny’s parking lot, I saw a small crowd massing around the front door. I had no idea whether or not tickets were on sale, but I figured I’d try it anyway.
As the ever-growing line inched closer toward the door, I started talking to the people in front of me. It turned out they had an extra ticket, so I forked over twenty-five bucks and secured it for myself. My trip to the concert was off to an auspicious start.
Manny’s is a rather small venue, and it was packed wall-to-wall with metal fans of all ages. Most of the floor was given over to a blocked-off beer garden area for the twenty-one-and-up set, but there was a large slice of open floor for the younger folks.
End Ever took the stage at seven PM. They played a tight half-hour set and wound up the crowd for a night of shredding guitar and machine-gun drumming. End Ever is a musical mainstay for the Billings metal scene, and the crowd loved it. The band members are performing veterans, so if the short notice bothered them at all, they never showed it. Their performance was well-executed, as it always seems to be.
The Farthest Edge, another local hard-rock band, started playing right around eight. It was the first time I’d ever seen or even heard of The Farthest Edge, but my first experience was overall a positive one. The crowd enjoyed the melody-driven alt-metal, and the band played a clean, well-rehearsed set that speaks of talent and professionalism. I would not be surprised to see these guys on more lineups in the future. They wrapped at 8:30.At nine, headliners Static-X walked onstage to the cheers of an appreciative audience. Lead signer Wayne Static, black hair moussed into his trademark “shocked” look, strapped on his black-lacquered flying-V guitar while standing in front of the band’s expansive chrome drum kit. The rest of the band, looking much the part of metal musicians in their rough-looking black clothes, armfuls of tattoos, and wild black hair, were joined by a young woman Wayne called “Mrs. Static,” kitted out with sequins and face paint to look something like a sexy bride of Frankenstein.
The band pushed Manny’s famously loud sound system to its limit; the speakers, each the size of a child’s coffin, hammered out Static-X’s electronica-infused grinding metal (what Wayne calls “evil disco”), at bone-rattling, organ-pureeing volume. Even through my earplugs, it was plenty loud. They played songs from across the band’s eighteen-year history, from the classic “Push It” off the album Wisconsin Death Trip, up through “Stingwray” off Cult of Static. The crowd screamed, moshed, and pumped their fists through every song with boundless energy and enthusiasm. Mrs. Static provided backup dancing for several songs, as well as an array of props, like a skimpy police outfit for the song “Assassins of Youth,” and a shovel wound with neon-colored piping for “I’m With Stupid.” The band played one encore and finished right at ten PM.
My trip to the metal show was completely impromptu, but it was totally worthwhile. It was a night of new experiences, such as seeing a couple acts I’d never seen before and getting my lip piercing knocked out in the mosh pit. If Static-X comes back again, I’ll make every effort to get out to that show.
NOT just because of Mrs. Static’s stripper-style electrical-tape pasties.
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