The Coach House is fairly good sized club located in the historic city of San Juan Capistrano, situated midway between Los Angeles and San Diego, California. The floor is lined with rows and rows of dinner tables, not the type of set-up you would expect for a rock show, much less a John 5 concert. Speaking with the man himself just hours before the show, J5 expressed concerns over the set-up, worried that it might not be conducive to a concert—a feeling most “rock” bands experience when arriving at the club for their first time. Having been to several shows there over the years, it is certainly hit or miss when it comes to engaging the audience and for J5 it wasn’t a “hit” it was a homerun!
John 5 & The Creatures, featuring Rodger Carter (drums) and Ian Ross (bass) are a three-piece instrumental outfit from L.A. that waste no time at all getting things started. Emerging onstage with the bottom half of his face painted black and an LED strobe light in his mouth J5 ripped into Flight of the Vulcan Kelly to the crowd’s delight. In Los Angeles, great guitar players are a dime a dozen, but describing him as great, would be a true disservice to the man. Being great is one thing, but being great, versatile and truly UNIQUE is what sets him apart from the rest of the pack. Whether it be metal, industrial, bluegrass, country or flamenco he attacks every song like a dog on a bone. The crowd’s eyes were fixated on his hands most of the night, trying to figure out exactly how he does what he does, but I don’t think anyone came away with the answer. Playing close to a 90 minute set, J5 & The Creatures gave the very enthusiastic crowd a show to remember. Whether it was their rendition of Michael Jackson’s Beat It, their closing medley, featuring AC/DC, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and more or J5’s Chet Atkins pickin’ these guys put their personal stamp on every single track.
The one song that was notably missing from the set was their version of Guns N’ Roses’ Welcome To The Jungle, one of my personal favorites, but certainly nothing that took away from the show. Other than a couple wardrobe changes and a cool LED guitar, John 5 & The Creatures put on a pretty no frills show. No extravagant lighting, no pyrotechnics, no special effects—just good ol’ fashion kickass music. And if you’re thinking who wants to go “see” an instrumental band live? It’s not what you think, J5 can make that guitar talk, walk and sit up and beg. Go check ‘em out, you won’t be disappointed!
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