Flint, Michigan (November 3, 2018) – Sure, Halloween has passed, but metro-Detroit native John 5 kept things creepy with a sold out show at Flint’s Machine Shop, with special guests Wednesday 13 and the Hellzapoppin Circus Sideshow. We were treated to witches, ghouls and clowns, as well as a human corkscrew, sword swallowing and a mini-Houdini. But most importantly, the night included plenty of heavy riffs and screaming guitars!
The evening’s festivities began on an odd-note, rather than an opening band, we were regaled with the Hellzapoppin Circus Sideshow presenting their variety acts of bizarre, (and sometimes stomach-churning), feats of danger. An authentic circus stunt-show, featuring death-defying stunts of mind over matter, Hellzapoppin impresses the crowd as the MC, Bryce “the Govna” Graves, risks both his lush beard as he eats fire and his grey matter while driving a 5-inch drill bit into his sinuses. Audible gasping is heard in the audience as the entirely tattooed Lizard Man pierces his face with a giant corkscrew and “half-man” Short E Dangerously, walks on his bare hands over flaming, broken shards of glass. Nik Sin, at only 3 feet tall, was mesmerizing as he performed an Inverted Straitjacket Escape as well as devouring several razor blades! Check out some of these amazing oddities and curiosities in the gallery below:
Things soon got spooky as Wednesday 13 took the stage with a one-two punch of Too Fast For Blood and Scream Baby Scream. Looking every part a demon, Wednesday 13 slinked around the stage weilding a bloody axe, growling out the lyrics with a menacing glare. If that wasn’t enough to convince you this was no kiddie Halloween party, the band followed up with the raunchy Your Mother Sucks Cocks in Hell, guitars screaming and drums pounding. The set continued with bangers like Gimmie Gimme Bloodshed, From Here To The Hearse and Die My Bride. With no lack of theatrics, the crowd was treated to several costume and prop changes, including an eerie two-faced mask that made it hard to tell if Wednesday 13 was coming or going, some overside shears used to prompt the fans to clap along to the beat and a middle-finger emblazoned umbrella for the closing number, I Love To Say Fuck.
Between bands, the stage was reset with an inflatable Spookhouse entrance, a witch and a jack-o-lantern. As the lights began flashing orange and purple, a ghoulish character lurked onto the stage and The Creatures, comprised of Logan Nix on drums and Ian Ross on bass, started to pound out a beat. From offstage, we hear the opening riffs to Making Monsters and after a few bars, John 5 emerged from the Spookhouse clad all in white but for his knee-high black platform boots adorned with pentagrams. John 5 ripped out several insane solos, yet with his trademark easy going grin, he somehow makes it look easy. The set continued with the blisteringly fast Flight of the Vulcan Kelly, from 2014’s Careful With That Axe, fingers nothing more than a blur for most of the tune. After a couple more from the same album, Six Hundred and Sixty Six Pickers in Hell, CA and the machine gun staccato of This Is My Rifle, the crowd was clearly in awe of Michigan’s own Master of the Telecaster.
Swapping out guitars every couple of tracks, John 5 treated us to several of his custom axes, including a magnificent lava-lamp inspired Fender, filled with free flowing UV glowing goo. Throughout the night, J5 proved if it has strings, he can make it submit to his will, playing not only the aforementioned Fenders, but also pulling out a banjo, mandolin and a few tiny child-sized guitars. Not limiting himself to shredding metal riffs, tunes like Hell Haw I.G.R. and The Black Grass Plague clearly have a bluegrass influence, (the aforementioned banjo and all) and Behind the Nut Love evokes a dreamy, bluesy ballad.
“I guess by now you’ve noticed we don’t have a singer,” John 5 laughs as he addressed the crowd late into the set. “…but this next one’s a sing-a-long.” he continued. The band launches into Metallica’s Enter Sandman, with the audience enthusiastically providing the vocals to complete the sound. Next came a medley featuring classic guitar riffs, including a couple from fellow Michiganders, Alice Cooper and Ted Nugent; White Zombie, a beautiful romp through Zeppelin’s Kashmir as well as a nice bit of The Beautiful People, harkening back to John 5’s time with Marilyn Manson.
As the show wrapped up, it was clear the fans weren’t ready to leave, their raucous cheering luring John 5 and The Creatures back on stage for an encore of Guitars, Tits and Monsters. John 5 gave them something to remember by venturing off stage into the crowd and handing out guitar picks to many eager fans as he played. J5 ended the show in his usual manner, single-handedly hoisting his guitar straight up above his head, while thanking the fans for their support.