The second night of the annual three-day Siesta Fest could have had "disaster" written all over it. Even before it began. First, the scheduled headliner backed out 24 hours earlier. Then power sources threatened to snuff out the eventual featured act's set by severely testing the patience and perseverance of Wayne Static (shown at left).
But by the power vested in Rock N' Roll and a testament to the adage "the show must go on," nothing could prevent Siesta Fest from carrying on Thursday night at the GJ Sutton Parking Lot -- the fancy term for the space between Sunset Station and Backstage Live that hosted Siesta Fest for the second consecutive year. In other words, the evening wasn't much different from Static's visit to San Antonio five months earlier (SAMME coverage here).
Thanks to the sudden absence of original headliners Puddle of Mudd, the spotlights that shined on Day 1 rappers Cypress Hill and would shine on Day 3 classic rock veterans Blue Oyster Cult fell squarely on Static, who was celebrating 15 years of Static-X's debut album Wisconsin Death Trip by playing it in its entirety.
While no direct reason was given for Puddle of Mudd's cancellation, YouTube clips from other Texas concerts within the week show vocalist Wes Scantlin lip-synching, flipping off the crowd, spewing gibberish while introducing his bandmates and defiantly throwing down mic stands.
Puddle of Mudd's loss was Siesta Fest's gain, and no one benefited more than the fans (who were now seeing a free show) and Static, who saw his set time double from 45 to 90 minutes. That enabled his band to play six more songs after Wisconsin Death Trip's completion.
But even that became a question mark from the moment Static strummed the first notes on his guitar. The generators that had frustrated previous act The Hunger during roughly half of their 12 songs were threatening to wipe out all of Static's show.
With each collective groan from the crowd, Static and Co. desperately went to work trying to get the problem fixed as the clock ticked on his set time. On the third try, Static ended up cutting out the last half of opening song "Push It" -- Static-X's most popular tune. It eventually took five tries, but Static's persistence, along with his and the crowd's patience, paid off.
The rest of the evil disco evening went off without a hitch.
Static had every right to dedicate second tune "I'm With Stupid" and its catchy verse "He's a loser" to Scantlin if he wanted. Instead, The Hunger was the only one of the five acts to reference Scantlin's failure to "make it to the stage." It was just as well that the bands, for the most part, chose to focus on what was within their control for the benefit of those who did show up -- the fans.
With his wife Tera Wray, a former porn star, dancing on stage topless adorned with Xs of tape masking her breasts, Static rocked the fest in as classy a manner as he could. He didn't let his frustration over the lack of power ruin his show. He didn't take potshots at a band that didn't show up -- even if it would've been deserved. Instead, he referenced playing San Antonio several years ago at Sunken Garden Theater, eliciting loud applause.
Static mentioned how Wisconsin Death Trip's finale "December" had never been played live under the Static-X incarnation. And he was intent on finishing off the night properly after a stage official appeared to signal the band's set was about to be cut off prior to closer "Get to the Gone."
Los Angeles industrial metallers We Are The Riot have been opening for Static for the past month, but The Hunger were placed between them and the headliners in part to allow bassist Andy 'The Kid' Cole time to rest between pulling double duty for WATR and Static. The Hunger deserved credit for keeping it together despite being the first band of the five to experience generator troubles. The Houston natives kept things upbeat as much as possible, declaring "we don't make it to San Antonio as much as we would like."
We Are The Riot made its share of new fans on the night. Although their music was being heard for the first time by many in attendance, a couple members have been playing musically a long time. Guitarist Meegs Rascon and drummer Mikal Cox are members of mid-'90s industrial metallers Coal Chamber, which is fronted by DevilDriver singer Dez Fafara and reunited for a tour of Australia in 2012. WATR formed in 2010, but barefoot vocalist Jimmy Trigger joined last year and showed San Antonio he was more than comfortable playing in the Alamo City despite the humidity.
Local acts Bad Obsession (bottom photo, above left) and Last We Fall kicked things off while the sun was still shining.
Bad Obsession played original tunes such as "Theater of Pain," "Curse of the Damned" and a self-titled song. Vocalist Mauricio "Malls" Contreras, who is in a Manowar tribute band that played Fitzgerald's in March 2013 with Manowar co-founder and former guitarist Ross "The Boss" Friedman (SAMME coverage here), again displayed his high-ranging chops. Lead guitarist Shawn McGovern, rhythm guitarist Daniel McCumba, bassist Brandon Alexander and drummer J.J. "Spades" Contreras also made the most of their 20- to 30-minute set, turning on their hometown to their brand of metal. They'll do so again Friday, May 16, at the 502 Bar.
Last We Fall played originals and a Rage Against the Machine cover while having the unenviable task of being the band that starts things off hoping a sizable amount of early-birds show up. And a respectable amount did (see slideshow, top left). Vocalist Ben Foster, guitarist Danny Davila and drummer Steven Rodriguez have grown and seen their musical aspirations evolve the past couple of years, when their cover band was known as The Next Day and opened for Dokken during the 2011 Fiestas Fantasias at HemisFair Park (SAMME coverage here).
Shortly after changing their name to Last We Fall in 2012, they took part in a brief performance put on by Adrenaline Mob and Disturbed bassist John Moyer's Natural Ear School of Music for teens trying to hone their musicianship, prior to a San Antonio Rampage hockey game. Look for Last We Fall to continue to play around the city's clubs and occasionally support national acts.
It pays to subscribe for free to the San Antonio Metal Music Examiner, no matter where you live. Do so at the top of this article for exclusive interviews, concert announcements, reviews, and all things metal. You can also get your fix via the SAMME Facebook page, follow along on Twitter or StumbleUpon, and check out his YouTube channel.