Wednesday, December 14, 2016

John 5 @ State Theater 3/15/2016

Guitar godling John 5

I went to see guitarist John 5 and the Creatures ($26) at the State Theater in Falls Church, VA.  I wasn't up to anything in particular and a chance to see a guitar very night was not a bad option at all. It did seem a bit pricey for just him, no openers. If you're wondering who the hell John 5 is, you may remember him from stints with David Lee Roth, Marilyn Manson, and of course Rob Zombie. I did see Kris, Ariel, Di, and Lacy there.

John 5 had a little bit of merchandise- some shirts ($25), and some solo CDs. Of note was one shirt with the Count from Sesame Street. I'm not sure why he was featured. I didn't get anything this evening.

some rad clothes

guitar lit up
Skeleton dude
Tiny guitar

I was not really familiar with any of John 5's solo material, having heard maybe only one album ages ago, so pretty much everything except the covers were new to me. For me, it has always a bit of a challenge to listen to music that you've never heard before live and be completely into it.  John 5 has a very good stage presence, maybe augmented by his corpse like makeup (not quite corpse paint) and wild stage outfits. He also had a few guitars that were pretty eye catching,  from a light-up LED guitar to a Banjo and a tiny guitar (sitar?). He also had one song that "featured" a little person in a skull outfit, who roamed the stage briefly. John 5's mystique was furthered by his mostly silent presence on vocals (that is to say, none). He was pretty much all play, little if any talking. That, unfortunately let the songs kind of bleed together a little bit.

John 5 and the Creatures

His band, which consisted of lanky bassist Ian Ross in a leather jacket and a drummer (Rodger Carter,  I think), was pretty tight. Their mostly no nonsense attitude kept moving the 100% instrumental performance ahead, which is very important when one only has the music and no words. The small crowd of about maybe 100 was pretty into it, but I think that having an opener or a co-headliner would have been a better choice to bolster attendence.

Teeth + Guitar
Lit up Mouth

For the most part, sonically, John 5 and his band kept my attention throughout the rather brief (1 hour) performance. My notes indicated that one song sounded like Mr Big, but I'm not sure which songs that those were. John 5 also did his (and Yngwie J. Mlamsteen's) signature playing guitar with his teeth at one point, which set the crowd into a bit of a cheerfest. Everything sounded pretty good, but as with all instrumental only performances, it was begining to get a little much by the end. There was nothing technically wrong with the performance, but it would have helped if I knew more of the songs.

To finish things off from songs that I didn't know, John 5 played a pretty great covers medly from his related bands (DLR, Zombie, Manson) and some classics (Van Halen, Kiss, AC/DC, etc.) . The songs included riffs or snippets of: "Beat it" (most of the song), "You Really Got Me," "Heaven and Hell," ?, "Breaking the Law," "Run to the Hills," "The Trooper," "Thunderkiss '65," "Love Gun," "The Ocean," "Crazy Train," "Sweet Dreams (Manson version)," "Highway to Hell," ?, some Rush song (I think).

Partial Crowd shot
Artsy shot

Overall, it was a good show- perhaps a bit pricey for the time, tho. I did enjoy the intimate atmosphere and the talent involved, but I was left wanting more live music that evening for the price paid (about $2.50/ minute, including time between songs). The State Theater has always had a bit of a problem pricing shows, tho- things seemed to be about 25% more than IMO that I would think they should be.

Next show: The Who

  • Flight of the Vulcan Kelly
  • Villisca
  • This Is My Rifle
  • Interlude
  • Sin
  • El Cucuy Interlude
  • El Cucuy
  • Jiffy Jam(Jerry Reed cover)
  • Interlude
  • Portrait of Sidney Sloan
  • Guitar Solo
  • Six Hundred and Sixty Six Pickers in Hell Ca
  • Behind the Nut Love
  • Interlude
  • Mad Monster Party
  • Black Grass Plague
  • Beat It (Michael Jackson cover)
  • Covers Medley

Updated 12/30/2016- updated format for setlist
12/14/2016- added fotos, grammar

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