John 5 and The Creatures
Sellersville Theater, Sellersville, PA
March 13, 2016
Review by InfamousButcher, Photos by SheWolf
What makes a great guitarist? Musicianship? Versatility? Speed? Virtuosity? The ability to write memorable songs? Well, John 5 checks all of these boxes! The prolific musician of Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson fame is currently touring with his band The Creatures, bringing their irreverent brand of metal / rock across the country. Luckily for us, tonight John 5 is at the Sellersville Theater, about 10 minutes from my home in Hilltown. Who’s ready for some crazy shredding in suburbia?
The Sellersville Theater is this historic 122 year old 300 seat intimate theater in Bucks County. We’ve been here a few times (believe it or not Anvil and Jake E. Lee have played here!) and it’s a cool venue. Not a bad seat in the place. Nicely restored and well kept, the theater has seats in rows like a movie theater and there are some cabaret tables in the front very close to the stage. There is no barrier or photo pit, needless to say bands like Napalm Death (SMASH A SINGLE DIGIT!) don’t get booked here. Sound quality is good and surprisingly loud, acoustics in the building are good. Tonight is close to a sell-out and metalheads have come out to see one of their guitar heroes up close.
The lights dimmed at about 8:45 and the band took the stage, with John 5 wearing his traditional white and black makeup and sporting a transparent green guitar to kick off “Flight of the Vulcan Kelly”. Sound was immersive and spooky as John’s fingers moved around the fretboard. Band members Rodger Carter (drums) and Ian Ross (bass) were like a well oiled machine providing a sonic backdrop for John; all 3 musicians were tight and together. After a brief pause for cheers and a guitar switch, the band moved on to “Villisca” with John continuing to shred and showcase his skills, often playing high up on the neck of the guitar. It was pretty cool and the vibe was awesome. Things were off to a great start.
There’s a lot more to John 5 than his work in Rob Zombie and Marilyn Manson. Using an array of Fenders, John played many different styles including Spanish (“El Cucuy”, hey I heard a little nod to the Doors “Spanish Caravan” in there!), steel pedal (“Behind the Nut Love”), folk, rockabilly, and even some banjo and mandolin (“Black Grass Plague”) in addition to rock and metal. He is a very physical guitar player with his picking and fingering style, but in contrast the crowd was a “sit down and take it all in” type of group. John appreciated the difference from the usual metal crowd and encouraged us to chill and enjoy. At one point he asked us to stand up so he could take a picture of the crowd for RZ (Rob Zombie) to show him how the tour was going. Everyone got up and made some noise, saluting John!
The all instrumental 75 min set was immensely entertaining and never boring. The 2014 album CAREFUL WITH THAT AXE was featured the most with 7 songs (see set list below), all of which sounded brilliant. I really dug “This is My Rifle” and “Six Hundred and Sixty Six Pickers in Hell”. In between songs roadies dressed as skeletons and fishmen threw pics and changed the stage artwork, it added to the fun atmosphere! To wrap up the show, John performed a version of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” (you’d think this would be really cheesy but it was actually very cool) and then did a montage of beloved covers, rock and metal songs that everyone knows like “Heaven and Hell, “Crazy Train”, “Run to the Hills”, “Living After Midnight”, “The Trooper” , and “Enter Sandman”. A few Zombie and Manson hits were woven in as well. It was a great night and everyone left happy. John and his band were very appreciative of the crowd and seemed to enjoy themselves as much as we did. John 5 is a sensational guitarist; check him and the Creatures out when they come to town!
- Flight of the Vulcan Kelly
- This Is My Rifle
- El Cucuy Interlude
- El Cucuy
- Jiffy Jam (Jerry Reed cover)
- Portrait of Sidney Sloan
- Guitar Solo
- Six Hundred and Sixty Six Pickers in Hell
- Behind the Nut Love
- Mad Monster Party
- Black Grass Plague
- Beat It (Michael Jackson cover)
- Covers Medley