February 23, 2015 John 5 & The Creatures rock hearts on Valentine’s Day Scottsdale, AZ 2-14-15
Accomplished guitarist John 5 hits the road in 2015 for a full tour for the first time of his solo career in the wake of his latest album, Careful With That Axe, released November 28, 2014. Boasting an extensive career performing with powerhouse musicians like David Lee Roth, Marilyn Manson, Lita Ford, and currently with the master of Horror, Rob Zombie, John 5 has over one-hundred musical credits to his name, spread out over his three decade long career. Deriving his stage name from his time with Manson, the Grosse Pointe, Michigan native has recorded a total of eight solo guitar albums, and his songs tend to be named after grotesqueries, such as “Gein With Envy” off of 2005’s Songs for Sanity, named after serial killer Ed Gein, “Werewolf of Wisteria” off of 2007’s The Devil Knows My Name, named after the press nickname for Albert Fish, or any song from 2008’s Requiem, which are all named after torture devices. With a unique design to his music, John 5 is perhaps one of the most intriguing figures in modern Rock. With several dates already in the books on the tour, fans in the city of Scottsdale, Arizona had the chance to spend their Valentine’s Day evening on Saturday February 14th with the guitar virtuoso John 5 and his outrageous Creatures at Pub Rock. The line to this sold-out show wrapped around the outside of the building well over an hour before the doors even opened. Pub Rock was packed to capacity for what was no doubt one of the best shows of the year at this venue.
This small bar has a stage that is settled in the far back corner of the venue, but is well-built for a house sound that is impeccable. The evening started out with Phoenix Hard Rock band Downhill Trend. Made up of Ken Rodarte (vocals, guitar), Austin Rapp (guitar), Brandon Owens (bass), and Roland Ledesma (drums), the band formed in 2004 and delivered a consistent, heavy sound reminiscent of an early Mötley Crüe. A strong, solid performance was delivered with the band playing all originals and had the crowd warmed and ready for more.
Next up was With Our Arms to the Sun, another Rock band formed in the dusty desert of Arizona. They had a unique and emotional sound like a Punk Rock/Grunge crossbreed. Brothers Josh (guitar/vocals) and Joseph Breckenridge (bass), along with Joseph Leary (guitar/programming), performed music that was expressive with elements of older Rock and modern electronic sounds. With Our Arms to the Sun will be on the road with John 5 for the duration. They delivered a fresh, original sound, on the verge of Progressive Rock. Concertgoers should get to the venue early enough to catch this act. With Our Arms to the Sun are currently working on a follow-up to their third studio release, 2014’s A Far Away Wonder.
The time had come for what everyone had been waiting for and that was for John 5 to continue the romantic evening with his dazzling guitar work. While Careful With That Axe features bassist Matt Bissonette and drummer Rodger Carter, the touring lineup switches out Bissonette for Ian Ross. With a steady clamor of noise coming from the crowd in anticipation, moments later John 5 and his Creatures hit the stage to the roars of a Pub Rock crowd going ballistic. He launched into “This Is My Rifle” off of his new album, which held the crowd completely mesmerized, watching his fingers as they slide their way across the fret board almost as if they had a mind of their own. After performing for about twenty minutes, John 5 interacted with the crowd, jokingly saying, “Now for our second song.” The band blended tracks as if it was one full on garage band jam session. John 5 had humbly mentioned that he had thought about doing a solo tour but was always afraid nobody would show up, getting more laughs from the crowd.
John 5 continued to power through his setlist, switching up guitars from an LED covered Fender to his signature Telecasters. Through song after song, John 5’s diversity continued to plow through the venue as if this were his last performance. The part of the night that stood out the most was the band’s rendition of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It,” a song they dedicated to the late King of Pop, and that sounded amazing for only being played on three instruments. The tribute was so extremely tight and well-performed that one would swear they could hear the echoes of Jackson singing along.
The set came to an epic close with a medley of some of John 5’s favorite tracks growing up as a child. If anyone knows John, they will know he spent most of his early days listening to Classic Rock and Metal, studying the records and dreaming of one day being able to jam on a record himself. Certainly accomplishing that and more in his life, the finale featured parts of songs from some of his favorite bands, including AC/DC, KISS, Ronnie James Dio, Black Sabbath, Metallica, Judas Priest, Rob Zombie, Queen, Ozzy Osbourne, Iron Maiden, and more. This was one unforgettable and incredible display of guitar work not seen in quite some time.
Throughout the night, John 5 proved that he could play as well as some of the best guitarists out there. Playing several songs from his newest album, tracks that had never before been heard live in concert, but also included some older favorites from Vertigo (2004), Songs For Sanity (2005), and The Devil Knows My Name (2007), was a pure hit. Simply put, a set with John 5 & the Creatures is a night one will not soon forget. Proving the tour has gone so well, three new dates were recently added to the itinerary. Do not wait to buy tickets, as these shows sell out fast.