At the Pomona stop of the 2014 Civil Unrest Tour, three bands were keeping disco evil and rocking The Glass House. Two of the bands, Dope and Wayne Static, were an obvious pair-up with their nu-metal credentials and party sensibilities. Smile Empty Soul, with a more subdued and melodic approach to music, was not such an obvious choice.
In support of their new album Chemicals, Smile Empty Soul performed to a small and somewhat sluggish audience. The trio powered on, and attempted to resuscitate the inattentive listeners. Yet, several Smile Empty Soul fans sang along as singer/guitarist Sean Danielsen belted out "Carve" a la Kurt Cobain, complete with crunchy power chords. Bassist Ryan Martin and drummer Jake Kilmer provided a solid foundation.
Musically, Dope brought something a little closer to the expectations one might have of the overall lineup. When the band broke into its first song, "Violence," it seemed the whole room had been jolted by a nu-metal cattle prod. Front man Edsel Dope told the crowd that he and Wayne Static (Static-X) hadn't shared the stage at the Glasshouse since 1999. Guitarist Nikk Dibs and bassist Jeremy "Jerms" Genske worked tirelessly during the set, including frequently jumping off their stage pedestals. Dan "Dubs" Fox, a relatively-unknown drummer, hit the skins hard, dexterously keeping Dope in time, spinning his sticks between swings. Edsel Dope cracked jokes between songs and expressed appreciation to the fans. A fan handed Dope a hand-rolled, non-tobacco cigarette which the singer lit and drew on a few times, before going into the next song. Now, that's dope. The set list included covers of N.W.A.'s "Fuck tha Police" and Billy Idol's "Rebel Yell," and closed with "Bitch."
Commemorating the 15th anniversary of the debut release Wisconsin Death Trip from Static-X, Wayne Static and his band played the album in its entirety, followed by a few other tracks from the Static-X catalog. Surrounded by talented musicians with great sound and a colorfully-lit stage, Static seemed to be in his element, offering his fans an impressive performance. Stylishly-attired in electrical tape, actress Tera Wray (Mrs. Static) served up mystery shots, keeping the longstanding Static party tradition alive.