JAM Magazine Concert Reviews

November 19, 2015
Dallas, TX USA
Review by Mike DiQuinzio
Photos by Michael Insuaste

John 5 and the Creatures

Creature Feature Instrumentalist

Only the most unique shredders are able to transcend the label and become a guitar god. John 5 falls somewhere in the middle - too inimitable to be merely a shredder, not legendary enough to be a god - but his show at Trees in Dallas, TX on Thursday night proved that it won't be long before he enters that realm.

John 5 took the stage just after 10:30 p.m. draped in a fur cape and makeup that blacked out the lower half of his face. He wasted no time in giving the crowd exactly what they came for as he and his backup band, The Creatures, delivered the equivalent of a musical circus where every song was an inhuman feat, each one more amazing than the last.

John 5 is that rare musician that, despite his "day job," cannot be defined by just one genre or style. 70s TV show Hee-Haw is responsible for introducing him to the lap steel and inspired "Behind the Nut," a song in which he made his guitar sound exactly like a lap steel by bending the strings- you guessed it - behind the nut. Although I am not familiar enough with his solo recordings to know his song titles, I will never forget this song because it may have been the most impressive of the entire show (if I had to name only one).

His awesome cover of Michael Jackson's "Beat It” signaled that the end was near as he played the vocal melody instrumentally before nailing the infamous Eddie Van Halen guitar solo. He then led the band through a familiar medley of rock and metal standards, which only further confirmed his amazing versatility. The Creatures, comprised of drummer Rodger Carter and bassist Ian Ross, also deserve special mention for their own impressive skills, which were given the spotlight several times throughout the night.

Although instrumentalists sometimes have a tough time keeping an audience's interest without a frontman to interact with them, the crowd at Trees was mesmerized by every second of this show. It was simply not to be missed.