Live Gig Review and Article Photos by: Robert Cavuoto
John 5 and The Creatures are about mid-way through their Behind the Nut Love Tour of the East Coast. One thing is certain about a John 5 solo concert is that you will be entertained and astonished! If you’ve never seen one of his shows, be warned, he lets his guitar do the talking – audibly and visually. There is no time wasting with canned stage raps or rants about the political state of the country – it’s purely a guitar driven show. When I asked him about this approach, John 5 told me, “I want to give my fans as much music as possible during a show. When I do speak to the audience, it’s usually a heartfelt thank you! I love entertaining people with the guitar.”
Playing from the heart is what fans got at the Highline Ballroom in NYC got on March 16th. John and his band explored every sonic highways tonight; from flamenco to country to bluegrass to metal – and sometimes all in the same song! Given the lack of lyrics, the music stands on its own and it wasn’t long before the audience was cheering him on. Through-out the night John 5 kept up his ghoulish persona snarling and wagging his tongue in delight to the audience’s response. Clad in his undertaker trench coat and Joker-Esque white make-up he looked spooktacular; particularly when bathe in the green and blue light! His arsenal of Fender Telecasters were as impressive as his playing, my two favorite guitars were the lights up Tele and the green lava lamp Tele.
Whether the crowd of guitar enthusiasts knew John’s legacy from Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson, or his extensive body of solo work, they were all there to see this influential guitarist in action. Fans may know many of his songs from the videos he has released in the past or the new videos he has been releasing each month that will appear on a new studio CD this summer called; Guitars, Tits and Monsters. John performed several songs tonight from the new CD like; “Mad Monster Party,” Behind the Nut,” and Black Grass Plague.”
As expected, he and his band were at the top of their game. The Creatures are Roger Carter on drums and Ian Ross on bass together with John 5; they are a flawless trio. Skill and technical finesse was the order of the night. Ian held down a solid foundation and Roger kept time, allowing John 5 to soar.
John 5’s playing was the nexus of the night! He clearly knows how to create diverse moments that take you from a tranquil and serine moment like on the flamenco stylings of “El Cucuy” to jumping on a bullet train with shredding tracks like “Flight of the Vulcan Kelly” and “Sin”. These sharp contrasts are what make John 5’s playing style unique.
He truly is a gifted player who can make instrumental guitar playing savagely entertaining, while bending sound and minds alike. It was awe-inspiring to witness his complex guitar techniques coupled with pure emotion for 90 minutes.