Review by Greg Maki
Instrumental rock music can be a tough sell, even for someone who loves music as much as me. Too often, it comes across as self-indulgent, with endless noodling and shredding. It’s as if the musicians forget the song is what matters most.
Over his eight solo albums, John 5 has avoided that common pitfall, and when John 5 and the Creatures came to the area earlier this month, I jumped at the chance to see them live for the second time in two years.
Best known as the longtime guitarist for Rob Zombie, and for an earlier stint with Marilyn Manson, John brings a similarly spooky vibe to his solo material while, of course, allowing a lot of extra room for his guitar heroics. And he was on fire this Sunday night, much to the approval of the moderately sized crowd at the State Theatre.
Songs from his latest release, Season of the Witch, dominated the set list, and John punched things up by employing a variety of guitars (and a banjo!), along with masks and props. He also kept things fresh by deviating from his hard rock/metal comfort zone into a touch of bluegrass and country, and then into pop for a cover of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It.” As is their custom John and the Creatures ended the show with a medley of well-known riffs from the likes of Van Halen, Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson, Rage Against the Machine and others.
Seventy-minutes didn’t seem long enough considering the amount of stellar material John 5 has released over the years, but he promised to return in 2018.
SET LIST: “Guitars, Tits and Monsters,” “Flight of the Vulcan Kelly,” “Six Hundred and Sixty Six Pickers in Hell,” “Here’s to the Crazy Ones,” “This is My Rifle,” “Jiffy Jam,” “Hell Haw IGR,” “Season of the Witch,” “Portrait of Sydney Sloan,” “First Victim,” Guitar solo, “Black Grass Plague,” “Behind the Nut Love,” “Making Monsters,” “Beat It,” Medley