Live Photos and Gig Review Credit: Dave Burke (Photographer/Live Gig reporter)
On June 10th Rob Zombie brought his “Super Monster Sex Action” tour to Milwaukee’s Eagles Ballroom. With his previous Wisconsin appearance in July of 2014 lasting a mere 10 minutes due to vocal problems, anticipation had been running high since tickets first went on sale several months ago. As is the norm he and his band didn’t disappoint.
Never one to shy away from his influences the stage was dressed with images of classic Hollywood horror icons, The Wolf Man, Frankenstein’s Monster, King Kong, The Phantom Of The Opera and Dr Jekyll’s alter ego Mr Hyde. The lighting, a photographers nightmare, set the atmosphere, alternating between washes of red, blue and green with occasional blasts of overpowering white back lighting and strobes.
Preceding Zombie on stage were bandmates Ginger Fish (Drums), John 5 (guitar) and Piggy D (bass) who as they walked on, had already began pounding out the grinding groove of “Teenage Nosferatu Pussy” from Zombie’s 2013 release “Venomous Rat Regeneration Vender”.
Taking the center of three platforms at stage front with John to his left and Piggy to his right, Zombie strode to his microphone stand, molded in the visage of Count Orlok from the 1922 horror classic Nosferatu and demanded that the near sold out crowd clap along with him to the pounding beat.
Delivering the opening lyrics “I am a shadow, I am tomorrow” in his gravely howl the three feet of fringe hanging from the arms of his star emblazoned leather jacket seemingly came to life as he clapped along with the rapt audience.
As Zombie whirled, twirled and stomped at center stage, Piggy D, eyes blackened, face painted white with drawn on fangs, stalked the stage pounding his Frankenstein shaped bass, complete with glowing eyes, urging the fans to higher levels of intensity, while John 5, draped in a flowing black cloak, studded gas mask covering his face, squeezed notes from his Creature from The Black Lagoon painted Fender Telecaster. As the triple assault at the front of the stage competed for the fans attention Ginger Fish, face painted white with a black inverted cross held it all together from high atop his drum riser.
Zombie’s roughly one hour set flew by as he and his band tore through his best selling solo work (“Living Dead Girl”, “Dragula”), hits from is his ground breaking groove metal band, White Zombie (“More Human Than Human”, “Thunderkiss ’65”) and several covers including James Brown’s “Get Up ( I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine”, Alice Cooper’s “School’s Out”, The Ramones’ “Blitzkrieg Bop” and Grand Funk Railroad’s FM radio classic “ We’re An American Band.”
As I’m a sucker for a chant a long, “big dumb rock” chorus two highlights of any Zombie show are always “Dead City Radio” also from 2013’s “Venomous Rat Regeneration Vender” and “Sick Bubblegum” from 2010’s “Hillbilly Deluxe 2” with it’s tailor made arena rock chorus of “ ROCK motherfucker, ROCK motherfucker, ROCK mother fucker YEAH.” Just to make sure everyone has it down before the 1st note is played, Zombie leads the eager crowd in the chorus. Not afraid to stop and chastise them until they reach a volume of his liking. For all the dark imagery and horror themes Zombie’s band is a party band, all about letting go and having fun. The kind of concert where you’re not only encouraged, but expected to throw your fist in the air and shout along, a heavy metal, monster, dance party.
As well as being an established multi platinum musician, Rob Zombie is also a successful film maker, writer, designer and occasional voice actor. With all of his other pursuits, when it’s time for him to put on his “Rock Star hat” he hasn’t forgotten how to deliver the goods!
There are only a few more US dates left, before Rob and band make their way to Europe for the summer festivals. Head over to www.robzombie.com for tour dates, movie news and all things Zombie.