Whether he's crunching riffs, busting out a banjo or creating hellacious versions of a heehaw, John 5 can do on a guitar what many can only dream of. And each time he brings his freakish-in-more-ways-than-one act to the Alamo City, it gets better and better.
The latest showing was last Thursday's return to The Rock Box, as John 5 and The Creatures put on a ghoulish 75-minute instrumental display accompanied, strangely enough, by Halloween props. But, of course, Frankenstein can be a fixture year-round.
As can John 5's usage of the instrument.
Likely the only musician on the planet who has utilized his skills with Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson, Rob Halford and David Lee Roth, John 5 showcased songs from his most recent studio albums including the new Season of the Witch (setlist in slideshow below) while touring in support of live effort It's Alive.
Backed by bassist Ian Ross and San Antonio-born drummer Logan Nix, John 5 shocked and awed on "Flight of the Vulcan Kelly" and "This is My Rifle." He showed he can be a fiddler of sorts as well on "Jiffy Jam" and "Hell Haw" before ripping into the title track of the new album (Alamo True Metal footage of all three below).
Communicating with the audience via his various guitars, and occasionally with glaring eyes behind white facepaint, John 5 finally said "Welcome to the show" two-thirds of the way through following "Guitars, Tits and Monsters" (ATM Facebook Live footage here). To break up the monotony of his verbal silence, John 5 covered Metallica's "Enter Sandman," enabling the crowd to help with the lyrics.
A simple description of "Medley" on the printed setlist, however, turned out to be the show-stealer.
John 5 further demonstrated his diversity, unveiling riffs of tunes that don't need an introduction by artist: "Hot For Teacher," "2 Minutes 2 Midnight," "Cat Scratch Fever," "Seek and Destroy," "Man in the Box," "Thunderkiss '65," "South of Heaven," "Detroit Rock City," "Burn," "Roxanne," "Limelight," "Cashmere," "The Beautiful People" and "Killing in the Name" made their influential presence known before The Creatures ended, appropriately enough in Texas, with Pantera's "Walk."
John 5, who spoke to ATM before his 2015 visit (listen here) then bellowed, "Good night!" His declaration was so convincing -- largely because he had let his guitar do most of the talking -- that when he followed with, "We'll see you this summer with Zombie and Manson" and exited through a curtain, a stream of people began to leave. That forced John 5 to reappear quickly.
"We'll play one more song," he summed up. "Might as well. We don't have anywhere else to go except back to the hotel to masturbate and go to sleep."
And with that, John 5 and The Creatures ended with their cover of Michael Jackson's "Beat It." Earning the band, in return, a freakish seal of approval from those who appreciate mesmerizing talent on electric, and country-styled, axes.