Standing on the corner near the entrance of the Mad Magician, I can’t help but notice how the surrounding, industrial area is the perfect backdrop for tonight’s show. A line has formed, a scan of this line reveals a group about as diverse as they come. Goth chicks, youngsters in their favorite brand of guitar t-shirts, and old guys like me are waiting to catch a glimpse of guitar mastery in the form of John 5. Mr. 5, aka John Lowery, took a liking to the guitar after watching episodes of the 70’s TV series, Hee Haw. At 43, John 5 has packed a little bit of everything into his stage career, playing with everyone from the likes of K.D. Lang to Marilyn Manson. John is currently the guitarist for Rob Zombie when he is not promoting his latest solo album, which is entitled, Careful With That Axe. This self-promotional tour will last a mere 21 days before John resumes his duties with Zombie.
After the opening act concludes, there are some technical interruptions that delay John 5 and the Creatures much anticipated set in St. Louis. A barrage of axe-murderer related news clips crackle through the house PA bringing the band on stage with a roar and a cheer. John 5 appears as a crazed axe-murderer himself with white theatrical makeup on his face and a leather outfit that would look at home on a celluloid serial killer. Fortunately, the only axes that will be murdered tonight will be the Fender Telecasters that John plays exclusively. The guitars are as unique as the man that plays them. Guitars that light up, guitars that look like a welding shop class project, and guitars that resemble a lava lamp, can all be found in 5’s arsenal. As much as John is a heavy metal riff master, he puts an exclamation point on his shows by paying tribute to those that have inspired him. Following a band introduction and the passing out of his highly sought after signature guitar picks, John pays the aforementioned tribute by flawlessly performing a Chet Adkins piece entitled, "Young Thing". A nice mix of selections from John’s previous 7 solo albums and a jazzed up cover of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” moved this night forward in rapid succession.
Sadly it seems this night is ending way too early but the closing is a guitar demonstration that the 200+ in attendance will remember for years to come. 5 puts this show to bed by culminating 40 years of rock riffs into a five-minute space. In the finale, Van Halen, AC/DC, KISS, Black Sabbath and many others are given just due by John 5, Rodger Carter and Ian Ross. Whether it’s John 5 and the Creatures or John 5 displaying his talents with Rob Zombie, he is a must see inspiration for a music aficionado! Thanks to the good folks at The Mad Magician and Rodger Carter for making this happen! Photos of the show are below:
John 5 & the Creatures @ The Mad Magician, St. Louis, MO Reviewed by Scott Rowe, Editor on 12:30:00 PM Rating: