Last week John 5 and The Creatures stopped at 210 Kapones for the latest date of their February/March shows. Our friends at axs.com were there and noted that “For a guy who didn’t sing a single word during his hour-long set, John 5’s hands performed all the verbalization necessary Tuesday night at 210 Kapone’s.”
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Rob Zombie guitarist John 5 riffs and mesmerizes in solo act at 210 Kapone’s By: Jay Nanda
The renowned instrumentalist, known for his guitar work with Rob Zombie plus his past collaborations with Marilyn Manson and — to a somewhat lesser extent but no less impressive team-ups with Rob Halford and David Lee Roth — made downtown San Antonio a stop on his inaugural solo trek under the moniker John 5 and The Creatures. Touring in support of his seventh studio album Careful With That Axe, which was released last Aug. 12, John 5 devoted much of his concert to the newer tunes, showcasing a little of everything.
Were there heavy metal electrifiers? Of course. But John 5 also displayed his uncanny ability to effortlessly switch styles by playing rockabilly tune “Jiffy Jam” and the flamenco-inspired “El Cucuy.”
The concert took place on the same day Zombie released another avenue in which you can hear John 5 — a live CD entitled Spookshow International Live. John 5 never mentioned it, however. In fact, he waited until a little more than halfway through the set before bidding the roughly 150 on hand “Good evening, San Antonio” before adding, “I know, that was probably the longest first song ever.”
Backed by bassist Ian Ross and drummer Rodger Carter, John 5 expressed his appreciation for the turnout on multiple occasions, acknowledging how “cool” and “awesome” it was to see various ages in the crowd. He gave a nod to the kids in a way few others can — by playing a smidgen of the theme from “The Simpsons” before introducing another tune (see setlist in slideshow above). His Creatures were given a chance to shine briefly as well when John 5 left the stage. At one point, Carter got ticked off about something and flung one of his tom drums off to the side. Another time, he hit his snare drum so hard that his stick broke. Not exactly a rarity at a rock or metal show except that in this instance, it happened on the first note of the song.
The obstacles to a larger turnout were abundant for the guitarist: playing on a Tuesday night, frigid temperatures in the high 30s that made it easy for folks to choose to stay home, and going head-to-head with a metalcore concert next door at Alamo City Music Hall headlined by August Burns Red. John 5 was too busy having fun to be concerned with any of that, turning fans on to the skills that have made him attractive to many musicians who have chosen him to play on and/or write songs for them. He spoke about some of those experiences with AXS.com last month (listen here).
Although his cover of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” was on the setlist, John 5 skipped it. Instead, he introduced a metal medley by telling the crowd, “If you know these songs, cheer. If you don’t, cheer anyway.” He then launched into a bevy of riffs including but not limited to Iron Maiden’s “The Trooper,” Metallica’s “Enter Sandman,” Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train,” Black Sabbath’s “Heaven and Hell,” Judas Priest’s “Living After Midnight,” and ending it with Dio’s “Stand Up and Shout.” The biggest cheers were saved for a taste of Zombie’s “Thunder Kiss ’65.”