JOHN 5 (Live)

at The Vogue, Indianapolis, IN, USA, March 5, 2016

John 5
Photo: Dan Skiba

The Historic Vogue Theater in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA hosted a true treat for Instrumental enthusiasts on this March 5, 2016 evening.  John 5 and his band (affectionately called) The Creatures made their mark on an appreciative crowd of 300 … few, of which, were totally sure what they were in for when they first walked in the door.  What awaited them was an all-out Metal assault of controlled chaos for 70 minutes as John 5 squeezed every possible note, chord, and playing style out of his vast array of submissively tortured axes.  Coming out in Zombie-like garb amid blasts of smoke and blinding colored spotlights, John nearly set his fretboards on fire with blistering speed, power, and multiple finger-plucking playing techniques — many never before witnessed by the vast majority in the crowd … or ever even performed by John’s peers.

He played illuminated guitars, lava-lamp guitars, and even a banjo for a brief stint … mastering them all and leaving the audience with their collective mouths open.  There was a continuous whirlwind of crowd astonishment as John shifted gears between Industrial Metal, Traditional Metal, Shredding, Serial-Killer-Country, and even a brief stint in Flamenco.  Most amazing was John’s ability to make the incredibly complex seem easy and to stay “on time” with The Creatures even when it appeared at certain junctures that John’s playing was on the verge of derailing from their rhythms … but, as fans came to learn before the set was over, that “on the verge of derailment” is all part of the the John 5 controlled chaos schtick.  And, it was indeed an awesome event to watch.

In the big picture, John 5 as a solo instrumental artist is still largely “unknown” in the Metal community … but few (if any) who left The Vogue could argue that they just saw a musician at the absolute pinnacle of “his game” … and arguably the best ever at his particular trade.  One fan on the floor bellowed out “Holy F**kin’ Shit!” on queue and for all to clearly hear during a brief (and very sudden) halt in the band’s playing before they kicked it back in. Those three words drew an immediate laugh from the whole crowd … only because they all were thinking exactly the same thing.  Guitar fans of all ages and from all disciplines should make a point of seeing John 5 on this current tour.  You won’t be disappointed … and musically, once you see this Mid-western bred axemaster live, the experience may indeed change your “greatness” perspectives permanently.  Well done, John 5 !!!


  • Dan Skiba

    Dan is a former partner at Metal Express Radio, and also served as a reviewer, photographer and interviewer on occasions. Based out of Indianapolis, USA he was first turned on to Hard Rock music in the mid-1970s when he purchased Deep Purple's Machine Head as his first album. He was immediately enthralled with the powerful guitar sound and pronounced drumbeat, and had to get more! His collection quickly expanded to include as many of Heavy Rock bands of the time that he could get his hands on, such as Ted Nugent, Judas Priest, and Black Sabbath, to name just a few.

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