Smoke pours from a fog machine, obscuring almost the entire stage. An ambient tune is playing, and the audience falls silent.
A strange swamp-like creature appears and prances around the stage for a few seconds, causing the crowd to scream at the first sight of John 5 and the Creatures. A few seconds later, John 5 appears on the stage in full makeup, lights in his mouth, and of course, his guitar in hand.
John 5 is the guitarist for Rob Zombie and has played for other legends in the music industry such as Marilyn Manson and David Lee Roth. Since 2004, John 5 has recorded eight solo albums, which he seems to trickle out song by song via YouTube or live shows.
He is currently on his “Invasion” tour, which included a stop at Jake’s Backroom in Lubbock on March 1.
The show was opened by “Jared James Nichols” and “Dead Girls Academy” who put on a good, but cramped performance for a fan base that did not have the same appreciation for them that they had for John 5. The stage was very small for the opening bands, which forced them to tone down any stage presence that they might have wanted.
After intermission, the crowd refilled their drinks and waited impatiently for the guitar god to reveal himself and bestow upon them his generous gift of instrumental guitar. Meanwhile, the stagehands set up Halloween yard ornaments around the stage.
John 5 and the Creatures bring energy to the stage that I have not seen before. Some people might think an instrumental guitar concert might be a bit dull. But John 5 had the entire venue erupting, jumping, screaming, and begging for more. He lets his guitar do the talking and singing for him.
Only a few sentences were spoken in between songs, a few of note were, “I love Lubbock” and “Who says metal-heads can’t enjoy country?”
John 5 and the Creatures’ setlist was mostly composed of songs off of their album “Season of the Witch” and a few recently-released songs from his “Invasion” album, including “ZOINKS!” and “Here’s to the Crazy Ones.” Every song was beautifully executed. Watching John 5 display his creativity and technical skills with machine-like precision was
One of the best parts of the concert was that, even for instrumental guitar, all of his songs stand out to be genuinely unique. I was able to recognize and name every song from the very beginning.
John 5 had an arsenal of different stringed instruments that he quickly rotated throughout the show, including a banjo, a few different guitars, and a smaller lute-looking thing that I could not quite identify. The effects of rotating his instrumentation made the show dynamic and exciting.
It was a pleasure watching John 5 and the Creatures perform, especially after getting to know him a bit more during a telephone interview just a few weeks before the show. John 5 has nothing short of fantastic guitar skills, and I cannot wait to see what he does next.