As I headed to one of my favorite haunts, The Plaza Live in Orlando, I realized how happy I was that the previously postponed Rise Of The Machine Tour featuring Static-X, Fear Factory, Mushroomhead, Dope and Society 1 was finally going to happen. With 5 bands slated to appear, the show had an early 6:30pm start. Due to the recent time change, the sun was still high in the sky when I arrived, and the iconic Plaza tower stood watch over the long and winding line of fans.
I was able to get down to the pit area early so I could check out the stage set-up for L.A.’s salacious, Society 1. Female mannequins served as bookends on the stage and the drum kit was located in the center. Society 1 is the creation of vocalist Lord Zane, and the band has been slithering its way through the world of rock n’ roll since the mid to late 90s. These guys pride themselves on loving it down and dirty, and to give you an idea how outrageous they can be, Lord Zane once performed an entire set while suspended in the air with meat hooks through his back. Society 1 exploded onstage, and their set was excitingly over the top. Whether Zane was waving a flag or simulating masturbation with his microphone, the fans were definitely entertained. He even took time to jump down into the pit to bond with the front row fans. I’ve seen photographers having to dodge things in the pit before, but mannequins were a first. That quickly changed when Zane kicked both of them into the pit. The band performed their new single “God To You,” the video of which dropped last month. Society 1 proved to be a difficult shoot from a photographer’s perspective, but what a blast they were.
Matt “The Lord” Zane : Vocals
Jimmy Minj: Bass
Erik Kluiber: Guitar
Dagon Destroyer: Drums
Dope took the stage right around 7:15pm and they did so with a vengeance. The heavy-hitting onslaught included songs like “Violence,” and “Bring It On,” and fans never got a chance to recover. Guitarist Acey Slade flew through the air while bassist Daniel Fox, who drew a striking similarity to Kiefer Sutherland’s Lost Boys persona, nefariously stalked the crowd. Singer Edsel Dope reminded the crowd that he was from Melbourne Florida, and was planning on coming back due to all the “wokeness” in California. He also announced that Mushroomhead would not be performing because their bus had broken down. This news was met with loud moans of disappointment. Dope got things rocking again with the ultra-heavy “Die Mother Fucker Die,” and a cover of Dead or Alive‘s “You Spin Me Round (Like A Record). Chrissy Warner tore it up on drums and I really wish the set was longer. The band’s latest album, Blood Money Part Zer0, dropped last month so be sure to check it out.
Edsel Dope: Lead Vocals
Chrissy Warner: Drums
Acey Slade: Bass, Rhythm Guitar
Daniel Fox: Bass
3.Bring It On
6.Die MF Die
10.You Spin Me Round (Like A Record) Dead or Alive Cover
Mushroomhead’s unfortunate cancellation resulted in the remaining sets being moved up. The legendary Fear Factory was up next, and I knew this performance was going to be heavy. Mainstays in the realm of metal, Fear Factory has been pulverizing the masses for more than 30 years. Just last month, original member and guitarist Dino Cazares revealed that the band had chosen its new singer. Italian vocalist Milo Silvestro came out on top after an arduous search that involved more than 300 applicants. Check out the video below to see what the process entailed. Fear Factory is currently signed with Nuclear Blast Records and their latest album, Recoded, dropped last fall.
The sold-out crowd was buzzing with anticipation. As the stage glowed in a deep blue light, the spoken intro from Messiah‘s “Beyond Good And Evil” played throughout the venue. The band then went into “Shock,” from the 1998 album Obsolete. Silvestro seemed right at home and captured the audience’s attention from the get-go. The mic stands used by Cazares and bassist Tony Campos were adorned with a bright orange brain and spinal cord. Silvestro yelled ” welcome to the new era of Fear Factory,” and then the band blasted out “Edgecrusher,” and “Disruptor.” Although moshing was prohibited, I did catch some bodies slamming, out of the corner of my eye.
Cazares thanked Static-X for taking them out on this tour. Campos, also the bassist for Static-X, told the crowd that he owed Cazares since Fear Factory took Static-X out on their 1st tour back in 1999. Cazares had the classic response when he said, “23 years later and he returns the favor.” The next song played was “Archetype,” a song that Cazares had previously said they would never play live. Drummer Pete Webber was ripping it up throughout the set, and as it neared its end, the band knocked out “Zero Signal” from the 1995 Mortal Kombat movie. The final song played was 1995’s “Replica,” and in the aftermath, a sea of hot and sweaty fans were left struggling to recover.
Dino Cazares: Guitar, Backing Vocals
Pete Webber: Drums
Tony Campos: Bass, Backing Vocals
Milo Silvestro: Lead Vocals
6.What Will Become?
By the time 9:30pm rolled around, the fans were more than ready for the evening’s finale. I was lucky enough to have covered Static-X when they were part of last year’s Freaks On Parade Tour, but I was really looking forward to see what they could do on their own headlining tour. Another product of Los Angeles, Static-X thundered onto the music scene in 1999 with their 1st record, Wisconsin Death Trip. The band would endure a roller coaster ride over the years, but none of the lows could compare to the untimely passing of founding member and vocalist, Wayne Static, in 2014. In 2018 the band reunited and with a new singer, the masked Xer0, Static-X hit the road in 2019 and has never looked back.
With the house lights dimmed, a large, elevated platform was positioned front and center onstage. The platform had giant metallic hands on either side and a giant “X” in the middle. The “Time Warp,” from The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” began playing while a figure in a white suit came out and shined a spotlight on the crowd. Oh yeah, I almost forgot, the figure didn’t have a head, only a giant metal looking “X” which sat upon its shoulders. Xer0 appeared and ascended the platform’s stairs. Xero’s new mask is perfect for the “Rise Of The Machine Tour” as it has glowing red eyes and wires for hair. The 1st song of the set was 2001’s “Permanence.”
After having the platform removed, Xer0 and company got things jumping with “This Is Not,” and “Structural Defect.” Guitarist Koichi “The Osaka Assassin” Fukuda and bassist Tony Campos frequently swapped positions in order to give the fans a better view of their blazing talent. Prior to “Love Dump” Xer0 paused to point out a belligerent fan that was fighting, and after his ejection the party stormed on. Drummer Ken Jay was in full-on beast mode as usual and I’m pretty sure that’s the only mode he knows. Campos told the fans to get their lighters and phones out and, “light this bitch up,” as the band began playing “Just In Case.” Xer0 got the crowd bouncing with a rousing cover of Nine Inch Nails‘ “Terrible Lie,” and the band followed it up with “Cold,” which included snow that fell from the ceiling. In the middle of the song, Wayne Static’s photo flashed upon the big screen along with the words, “forever with us.”
“I’m With Stupid” saw the return of the large x-headed dude in the white suit and this time he traded his spotlight for a shovel. At the conclusion, Campos took time to introduce the band. The encore of the set was a bone-rattling performance of the mega-hit “Push It.” This night was phenomenal, and the fact that the bands chose Orlando for their only Florida date was a blessing. Mushroomhead has continued to elude me, but I will get them sooner or later. Be sure to catch this tour if you have the chance and please follow all the bands online (links at bottom).
Ken Jay: Drums
Koichi Fukuda: Guitars
Xer0: Vocals, Guitars
Tony Campos: Bass
2.This Is Not
4.Black and White
6.Wisconsin Death Trip
8.Bled For Days
9.Sweat Of The Bud
11.Just In Case
14.Get To The Gone
16.Terrible Lie (Nine Inch Nails Cover)
18.I’m With Stupid
Follow Society 1 Online:
Follow Dope Online:
Follow Fear Factory Online:
Follow Static-X Online:
I’ve had a love for photography since I was young. Whether it was a Polaroid or a Kodak 110, I was always the kid with the camera. My love of music goes back even further. Nothing beats being at a show when those lights go down and the crowd goes nuts.